I was recently asked, “How can a loving God send anyone to such a horrible place as hell?” God doesn’t send anyone to hell. Man sends himself by rejecting God’s offer of salvation. We are all sinners, and the penalty for sin is eternal separation from a holy God. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that those who do not know God or obey the gospel “will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord…”
But some struggle with the justice of hell. As a result, they have adopted different views about hell to help them deal with this issue.
(1) The view that hell doesn’t exist
They believe hell is only metaphorical, not a literal place. People die, and their lives are over. There is no afterlife. However, Scripture supports the reality of a literal hell.
(2) Hell is only for those who are really bad
Some believe that hell exists but God will not send anyone there except those who are really bad. How do you define really bad? In light of God’s standard of perfection, we all fall short. We are all sinners.
(3) The view of universalism
Universalism is the belief that God will not send anyone to hell but will send everyone to heaven. One problem with universalism is that it violates man’s free choice. There are some who don’t want to spend eternity with God. Another problem with universalism is that if everyone will end up in heaven, then there’s no consequence to sin. So what would be the motivation to obey?
(4) The view of annihilationism
This is the view that God will send people to hell, but it will only be temporary, not eternal. He will annihilate them out of mercy so they won’t have to suffer eternally. However, there is no biblical support for this view. The Bible consistently speaks of eternal torment.
The Bible makes it clear that hell does exist. One day God will confine all evil and suffering to hell. As believers, we don’t have to fear hell, but we should do all that we can to lead others to Christ so they won’t have to experience it.
What are your thoughts about hell? For more information and to look at what the Bible has to say about hell, download How Can a Loving God Send Anyone to Hell? from my Free Resources page.
In the next few posts, I want to address some other difficult questions I’ve been asked as I have discipled others. If you have a question you’d like addressed, just comment below or contact me through email or my contact page.