How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
Antagonists and sincere seekers often ask this question: How can a loving God send people to hell for eternity? If you think about it, it is an oxymoron. A loving God and hell or eternal punishment are at opposite ends of the spectrum. This question is designed to be a stumper, which if you only look at in on the surface, it is. Let us take a deeper look and explore what justice is and then see if a just God can indeed be justified sending someone to hell.
What is justice? Thefreedictionary.com defines justice as “conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.” Most people want to see justice carried out, especially on serious and heinous crimes. Very few will argue with Stalin, Hitler, and Bin Laden to name a few being sent to hell. What do the rest of us deserve?
Do you think people who break the law should be punished?
Courtroom Example – Part I
Let us look at an example of what goes on in a courtroom. A defendant is accused of a serious crime and is brought to trial. The prosecution calls witnesses and produces evidence that the defendant is guilty. The defense attorney tries to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and offer evidence of the defendant’s innocence. After all the evidence has been offered, either a judge or a jury will decide the guilt of the defendant based upon what the evidence is. If the defendant is found innocent, they are let go. If they are found guilty, they are held over for sentencing. At sentencing, the prosecution offers their recommendations for punishment, while the defense attorney does the same. Many times, witness are called, that testify that the defendant had a rough childhood or a generally a good person. Would a judge be a good judge, if he let the defendant off for a serious charge because they are generally a good person? No, because the victim would not get the justice that they deserve.
According to the Bible, God is a God of love, justice, mercy, grace, judgment, and holiness to name a few of His attributes. He is also all-powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere. God’s holiness will not allow Him to let one sin go unpunished. That does not mean that God punishes sin immediately. Many times, He allows them to fill up before His wrath is poured out. Hell is the fullness of His wrath. His mercy and grace allows humanity to continue and not wipe us out as we deserve. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven.
If the Ten Commandments are God's standard, are you innocent or guilty before God?
Before we look at the justice of God, we need to look at what God’s laws are. God’s primary laws are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20):
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
· This refers to anything or anyone who takes the place of God in your life.
2. You shall not bow down to idols.
· An idol can be anything from an image, to sports, music, computers, serving, etc. This is anything that you worship instead of God.
3. You shall not misuse the name of God.
· God’s name is misused all the time. People say “Jesus Christ”, “God Da**it”, ”Oh my God”, “Jesus”, etc as an adjective. I believe that this command is evidence of God and the Bible being true. How many people have you heard use “Buddha”, “Harry Christna”, “Muhammad” in the same manner? It is because of the hatred of God by Satan and the flesh that God’s name is misused.
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
· This is not limited to only listening to your parents, but taking care of them in their later years. If people would do this, there would be no need for social security and welfare for the most part.
6. You shall not murder.
· Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. . . But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell” Matthew 5:22.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
· Jesus added that anyone who lusts after a woman has committed adultery in his heart already.
8. You shall not steal.
· Even things that you accidently take are still stealing.
9. You shall not lie.
· The Bible does not distinguish between so-called white lies and regular lies. It calls them all lies.
10. You shall not covet.
· This is a tough one because it covers envy, greed, etc.
The Bible lists other laws that further clarify God’s law, but the Ten Commandments is sufficient for the point that I am trying to make. If you read each line and honestly go through the list, you will have broken most if not all of them. I know I have. The purpose of the law in the Old Testament was to show you that there is no human way that you could fulfill it. The law shows us our need of a savior.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.
How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
Punishment for Lawbreakers
We have a tendency to look at how we are doing compared to those around us. Many times, we fair pretty well. If we are guilty of breaking God’s law, we are punished based upon His standards, not by which we think is fair. After all, God is the one who has been offended by our sin.
“For the wages of sin is death (hell)” Romans 6:23.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” Hebrews 9:22
- Become A Christian
Become A Christian - Do you know how to make this important change in your life? Learn the facts and accept them in your heart.
- The Case For Christ
The Case For Christ - The Hearing, the Prosecutor, the Findings. The evidence for Jesus and His claim to be the Messiah. Examine the Evidence today!
- For God so Loved the World - John 3:16
John 3:16 is probably the most popular and widely known Bible verse that there is. Have you ever taken time to sit and dwell on its true meaning?
Courtroom Example – Part II
This time we are on trial before God and He has opened all of the books of everything we have ever done or said. The devil reads off each count against us with glee. When he is finally done, it is our turn to offer a defense. What defense are you going to offer?
You could offer a defense that you are a good person and that your good outweighs your bad. Most of the world religions put their hope in this defense. They are set up based on what you need to do, not what Christ did for you. Will this defense work? My question is, would this defense work in any court of law today? No. Why would it not work? Because you are guilty of breaking the law and a good judge must punish law breaking. If I steal a purse from a woman, it does not matter how charitable I am. Even if I take what was in the purse and give it to charity, I am still guilty of theft. Plus, the Bible says that our good works are as filthy rags. If that is your only defense, you sentenced to hell.
The alternative defense is to have your payment made for you. Here is how it plays out. The defense attorney stands and asks to approach the bench. He says Father; I paid the price for his sin when I died on the cross. You punished me for his sins. The Father rechecks the records, and cannot find anything but a bloodstain. The blood of Jesus has washed the record clean. The Judge slams the gavel and says, “Case dismissed! There is not any evidence of this man’s sin. It has been forgiven.”
God loves you so much, that He was unwilling to spend eternity without you. Yes, you! He would rather die than to see you face an eternal judgment of hell. He was born of a virgin. He experienced everything that we do, except that he did not sin. He was severely beaten and nailed to a cross to die for your sins and mine. He chose the nails, He chose the cross, and He chose to die for you and for me. Why would God do such a thing?
“For God so loved the World, that He have His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16.
“God demonstrated His own love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.
God paid the penalty for your sins and mine. Are you willing to turn to him and repent of your sins? Are you willing to believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again to set you free? Are you willing to accept His sacrifice for payment for your sins? God will not force anyone to accept Him or love Him. I urge you to give Him your life today. None of us knows when our time on earth is up.
If you want to know Jesus pray a prayer like this and mean it with all of your heart:
“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and turn away from them. I believe that Jesus died for me and rose again. I accept your sacrifice as payment for my sins. Please be my Savior and my Lord. Thank you for loving me. Amen.”
The prayer will not save you, but Jesus will. If you have more questions, feel free to contact me or visit NeedHim.Org.
© 2012 Eric Cramer