How Can a Loving God Send Someone to Hell?

This question is asked a lot in our culture today. The Bible does say that God is love. How then can a loving God send someone to Hell? Obviously God’s modus operandi is to forgive repentant sinners and to show love, which is the message of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

However, the first problem is not with God, but in our culture’s understanding of true love. True love will never force anyone to do something beyond their will. We recognize this type of love in romantic relationships. It is like in middle school when you have a crush on someone for the first time and you really want that person to return your affection. When you find out that that person doesn’t return your affection, your dreams are shattered. You also realize that there is no way to force that person to like you. In fact, you wouldn’t enjoy that love if you did force that person to like you. True love doesn’t force someone to do something against their will. God, being true love, has given humanity freedom to reject His love in Jesus Christ.

The second issue is with the understanding of justice. Justice seeks to do what is right to all people and love between a parent and child has to do with justice at times. A parent sometimes is forced to discipline a child for that child’s wellbeing. It brings pain and sorrow to a parent to have to discipline the child they love, but in the end, true love seeks justice. A parent knows that by disciplining a child, that their child will be better off in the end. Not disciplining a child would actually be unloving and unjust. It was interesting to see no problem in Africa with a Christian asking a loving God to exercise justice on a corrupt and tyrannical dictator who oppressed people and committed acts of evil. By all means, if God did not punish evil men like Hitler, then God would be unloving and therefore unjust. Today, our culture doesn’t think of the inconsistency in their thought. If God doesn’t send evil people like Hitler to Hell, then God is actually the opposite of love. He has to punish sin to be loving and just. It is a little funny to think about; if God doesn’t punish sin, then we would have to imagine Mother Teresa and Hitler playing cards in heaven over tea time! I know, unimaginable.

C. S. Lewis, as always, states the idea of Hell quite eloquently, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” (from The Great Divorce) In actuality, going to Hell is a person's choice. The Bible reminds us that God doesn't want anyone to go to Hell, "God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. 2:4

God Bless,

Pastor Joel