Guest Writer: Christine Moore

Why would a loving God create hell? This is a question many atheists, agnostics, and even believers, ask. It’s a question that has caused many to doubt and also reject God and/or believe in Him.

This concept is a struggle for a variety of reasons. Throughout life, we have unbelieving loved ones that die. These people that we love dearly often cause us to reject the idea of hell. However, the fact that we care about others and don’t want them to go to hell is a sign that we are created in the image of God. Never in the Bible do we see a God who desires anyone to go to hell.  Instead, we see a God who loves His creation and warns them about hell. Still, this doesn’t answer the question for many: how can a loving God create a hell?

Some common questions and concerns are:

•    Is it even possible for an all-loving God to create a hell? Doesn’t that make him the opposite of all-loving?

•    Doesn’t it seem petty for God to threaten people with hell to convince them to follow Him?

•    Wouldn’t the threat of a hell delegitimize our choice to follow and love God?

•    Why does God have to punish those who don’t choose him? Why can’t they just cease to exist after death?

Love is Just

This article can’t fully answer these legitimate questions; however, these questions are worth continuously seeking, studying, and understanding. The short answer is: a loving God would also have to be a just God. True love requires justice.  Being a loving God doesn’t mean He loves everything.  Would we want a God who looks at murder and rape and thinks “that doesn’t really bother me”? Of course not. God’s wrath against sin is part of His overflowing love for us. He doesn’t merely allow murder, rape, or any other immorality to go unpunished. If He did, He would actually not be an all-loving God.  Therefore, it goes against the nature of God to tolerate any soul that sins against Him.

Does Every Sinner Deserve to go to hell?

To us, hell seems extreme in comparison to sin that doesn’t seem all that bad. But to God, sin is a rejection of His love and is in direct opposition with His goodness. Because His love and goodness are so vast and infinite beyond our comprehension, the tragedy of sin against Him is also beyond our comprehension. The sharp contrast of sin with God’s loving nature causes a deep sorrow and wrath that we could never understand. God sees and knows all; therefore, He fully understands the damage sin causes, regardless of what “kind of sin” it is. All sin against God is deserving of His wrath and justice.

Forgiveness and Salvation

Even though those who sin against God are deserving of Hell, God has given us the option to be forgiven of our sins by sending His own Son to die in our place. Even though we have sinned against the creator of the whole universe, He forgives. That forgiveness is powerful beyond our comprehension. We cannot understand how much love God has for us by sending His Son to take the weight our sin has.

It’s Those Who Choose God That Get to Be with Him

The purpose of creation is for us to have the free will to seek and choose God. God has given us a choice to either sin against Him, or seek, love, and obey Him. Those who want God and love Him with all their being will be the ones who get to spend eternity with Him. It wouldn’t make sense to force (or even allow) souls to spend eternity with God when they didn’t want to be with Him in the first place – even people we consider to be good people.

Is Hell a Fear Tactic?

We discussed why God created hell. God created hell for those who choose sin instead of God. Let’s discuss what God did not create hell for. To many, hell seems to exist to make us choose God out of fear. But we can see from God’s nature – and the nature of His word – that He did not create hell to make us afraid.  He tells Christians and other people hundreds of times throughout Scripture to not fear.[1] He wants us to choose Him out of love for Him, not fear of hell. He is not forcing or coercing us to love Him. He has given us complete free will.[2]

Conclusion

God has created us with free will.  Although it hurts Him, He’s given us a choice to sin against Him.  Because He is all-loving and completely good, He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Being just is part of His powerful and overwhelming love. He loves us so much that He sent His own Son, Jesus, to take the weight of our sin so that we may be forgiven. Hell is necessary, but God has given us the option to avoid it.  We have the opportunity to follow Jesus, the one who loved us enough to pay the price of our sin.

Footnotes

[1] “How Many Times Does the Bible Say ‘Fear Not’ or ‘Be Not Afraid?’” www.reference.com. Reference. ©IAC Publishing, LLC. 2019. Web. Date Accessed: 24 May, 2019. https://www.reference.com/world-view/many-times-bible-say-fear-afraid-684d8fe66e524a8b

[2]  Mark Ballenger. “Does God Force Us to Love Him?” The Sovereign Gentleman. ©2019 ApplyGodsWord.com. February 20, 2016. https://applygodsword.com/does-god-force-us-to-love-him/.