Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Revelation 14:7,8–11
What do you say when a friend challenges the biblical worldview by claiming that a loving God would not send people to hell? This can be one of the toughest questions to deal with—an emotionally charged one that may leave us feeling like we have to walk on eggshells.
It truly is a worldview issue, and our natural and learned short-sightedness leads us to the wrong conclusions, making the topic incredibly hard to deal with.
We are short-sighted because we forget who God is. We can easily start to think of him as a wise old friend, or even a gentle Santa Claus figure, like an invisible version of the kind and mysterious man in Miracle on 34th Street.
With such a person, as wise and powerful as he is made out to be in the movie, we still have a right to question his ethics. We can sit back and critique his words and actions. But we have no right, whatsoever, to question God. He created the vast universe with the power of his words; he breathed life into our nostrils; every breath we take is a gift from Him. He created the rules and is the standard for morality.
For our part: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
As harsh and offensive as those words may seem, they are true. Read Job 38-41 occasionally—God’s words to put Job in his place serve perfectly for us too.
We also fail to see that bringing everyone through heaven’s gates is not true love. Some people reject God. I believe that rejecting God is pride at its core, but for whatever reason, the fact remains that some people just flat out do not want to have anything to do with God. A rejected suitor is not showing true love by kidnapping his desired bride and bringing her into his home to spend a lifetime with him, much less an eternity, no matter how fancy his abode.
Some say that God should not have created us with the opportunity to sin. A creator who makes his creation with built-in obedience, with no free will, has created robots not beings capable of a truly loving relationship with him.
We are also short-sighted in often forgetting the need for justice
Have you ever watched a movie where the villain dies an easy death before getting caught or even seeing his demise coming? Do you feel cheated in some way? If there were no punishment after death, many people would get away with unimaginable crimes against other people, and ultimately millions would get away with thumbing their noses at their Creator, choosing to live according to their own rules.
This article is not meant to be comprehensive by any means, but it hopefully provides some tidbits to help you be ready to answer those who ask. But the truth that has the power to save them is the good news, and the question about hell is a perfect way to segue into the gospel message.
Because God is so loving, no person is sent to hell without any choice. Even though we all have sinned, because of Jesus taking the punishment on the cross, we can accept His free gift of grace and avoid hell. God wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
The real question should be: why would an all-powerful Creator want to have a loving, intimate relationship with someone like me?