Have your kids ever said you’re mean, selfish, and flat out wrong? This happens more than I would like in my house, especially with my five-year-old son. These comments are usually directly after I tell him something that he doesn’t like or flat out just doesn’t want to do.
When I reflect on my relationship with my Heavenly Father I have to be honest. I do the same thing to him. God you’re mean, you expect way too much, that can’t be write. I think this type of thinking is what creates questions like the one we will address today.
How can a loving God send people to Hell?
Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, nor boast, etc. So if God says this is what love is then why would he send people to hell? What can we do to even begin to understand the weight of this question? Let’s look at a video that expresses some of the many thoughts associated with this question.
I know that a question like this brings up so many other questions.
To begin to discuss this question we need to establish some fundamental truths that shape the entire conversation. Lets begin with an essential truth about God. He is Perfect.
GOD IS PERFECT
God is completely righteous and morally perfect.
30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30)
God is the standard for what is right, good, and moral. If it were not for God being the standard of moral perfection, we would have nothing to measure ourselves against. We could try and say that we are good, trustworthy, and that we do our best to take care of others, but without a perfect standard is it enough? Ultimately, comparing the created to the uncreated is the only true comparison. Man to God. When we use God (the uncreated) as the standard we realize that man (the created) falls short. When compared to God man comes up imperfect.
MAN IS IMPERFECT
For sake of the argument lets use the words perfect and sinless interchangeably. With that said, God is perfectly righteous (sinless) anything that falls short of his perfection is (less than perfect) sinful, and every human being who has ever lived, since Adam’s fall from grace, is less than perfect (sinful) (Romans 3:23).
Because Adam sinned, the entire human race is born with a sinful nature. This means that we are born with a nature that is prone to sin.
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12).
But people do not go to hell because of their sin nature; they go to hell because of the sin that they freely choose due to their sin nature.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers (James 1:13–16).
GOD’S PERFECT PLAN FOR IMPERFECT MAN
God, therefore, has deemed all who commit sin will go to hell because they have failed to meet His righteous standard; they have broken His law of moral perfection. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just.
11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day (Psalm 7:11).
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he (Deuteronomy 32:4).
However, the good news is that God is also merciful. In His rich mercy, He made a way for sinners to avoid the punishment of hell by trusting in the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16). For Christians, the penalty of sin has been removed and placed upon Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God is still just, sin is punished, and He is merciful to all who believe.
A loving God wishes that no one be eternally separated from him. He made a way that all men may know him. It’s not a question of if he would send us to hell; it’s a question of if we are willing to accept his invitation of heaven.