Many outside of, and sadly inside, the church ask, “If there is a loving creator why does He send people to hell?”
I believe that this is a question that says more about the failure of the Christian Church in getting the Gospel message out than many others. Why? Simply because the question assumes that God sends people to hell. The truth however is very much the opposite, God does everything He can to keep us, close to Him, within His presence and safe from hell.
The failure of the Church to teach and live out sound doctrine has left us with a mission field of people who think they know all about God, because they’ve heard about Him from churchgoers and they’ve seen a poor image of Him in the lives actions and attitudes of those with a ‘Christian label’.
So what about hell?
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that Hell is an eternity that people chose for themselves. It’s not that God has sent them to hell, but rather a free choice, freely chosen.
Those in hell will recognise that they condemned themselves to it by loving darkness rather than light, choosing not to have their Creator as their Lord, favouring easy-going sin to self-disciplined blamelessness, and rejecting Jesus instead of accepting Him (check out: John 3:18-21; Romans 1: 18,24,26,28,32; Romans 2:8; 2 Thessalonians.2: 9-11 for some clarification).
God doesn’t hide the fact of what is right and what is wrong, there is a doctrine called General Revelation, which simply means that God shows all of creation what’s what, and from this angle hell can be seen as God showing respect for human choice.
It’s not complicated, we all receive what we truly chose, from the two choices before us: either to be with God forever in perfect love, worshiping Him, or without God forever, excluded from any love, worshiping ourselves.
Individuals who are in hell will be aware that as well as deserving it for their actions and attitude, they will have wholeheartedly chosen it.
The Bible has lot’s to say about hell, but it’s not to frighten us, it is to make us acknowledge, gratefully grab hold of, and logically choose the amazing grace of Christ that saves us from an eternity of hell.
The Bible speaks plainly about hell, but not just to show God’s anger, it speaks explicitly about hell to show us His mercy and the length He went to, make it possible that we can escape a hellish eternity.
Christians: we can’t now say that we’ve not been warned, and we can’t say that we don’t have a duty to speak the truth of hell to others, but we must frame that truth accurately, and that is in the frame of God’s Grace and Mercy.