How Could a Good God Send People to Hell?

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How Bad is it Really?

I know sometimes we joke about hell.  We might say, “Oh I’d rather go to hell than end up in heaven next to THAT guy who calls himself a Christian!”  But seriously, the thought of hell is very depressing.  I can’t stand seeing people in pain, let alone on fire!!  I think of the war movies I’ve seen.  It always gets me the most when a soldier is lying there screaming as he burns to death.  But to imagine that hell is an eternity of that…it is too much for me to wrap my mind around.  I have to ask God how He can let people go to hell.

I’d like to think that God’s response would be, “Oh its not really that bad there.”  But NO, He is pretty clear that it is every bit as bad as it sounds.  “As they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me. For their worm will never die, and their fire will never be quenched; but they will be abhorrent to all humanity.” (Isaiah 66:24, CJB) That seems pretty harsh to me.

 

If God is Good, how can He send people to Hell?

I know a lot of good people who don’t want anything to do with God.  They see a religion full of phonies, and they don’t want to pretend to be something they’re not.  So where does that leave them?  They’ve never killed anyone or even kicked their dog. And in fact, they have contributed to society as hard workers and public servants.  If God is good, it doesn’t make sense for Him to send my friends to hell.  These are people that truly care about helping others.  They have devoted much of their lives and work to make the world a better place.  What kind of God would say, to them, “go to hell.”

And what about people that follow other religions.  Muslims. Hindus. Buddhists, etc.  They are worshipping God in their own way. Doesn’t that count?  If not, then most of the earth is heading to an eternity of extreme torture!

If there are all these people trying to live decent lives and not cause harm to anyone, how can a good God damn them?  Such a God does not seem fair.  In fact, He sounds even WORSE than Hitler.  While Hitler was starving, enslaving, and killing good people, he was not torturing them on and on for eternity.  It would be more merciful of God to just let us vanish when we die.  Just snuff out the candle and call it the end, rather than allowing human spirits to experience agonizing pain forever and ever.

 

And God interrupts…

But, Cora, don’t you realize, this is the way it must be?  If I am GOOD?  Then there must be no evil in me.  Not even you, as good as you think you are, would be prepared to stand before Me.  Not without an Advocate.  

God, I feel like You would look at the good that we tried to do, and say, “Well, OK, I see that your heart was in the right place.”

Well, Cora, how do you know what is in the heart?  How can it be good without Me?

 

Good vs. Evil

We don’t always realize we are in the shadows because there is so much light around us.  We are so used to life where the lines between good and evil are blurred.  We can stand in a corner and look at the light, while actually we are living in darkness.  But once this life is over, light and darkness will be clearly separated again.

When God created the Earth, he separated the light and the dark.  He called the light day and the dark night.  One day He will stop the clock and split the two again.  But this time He will call the light Heaven and the dark Hell.

Earth is just a temporary place where good and evil war with each other.  Light and dark intermingle in the shadows.

Heaven will be a place where evil is banished, and everything is Light.

However, if God is truly good, He cannot just delete evil.  He cannot erase violence, hatred, greed, and pretend they never existed.  If He is who He says He is then He would have to punish evil—for the sake of justice.  God will sit and judge everybody, and He will call evil out.  He will show mercy to the helpless by avenging them and condemning their oppressors.

Holocaust victims will see God judging Hitler and all his forces.

Rape victims will see God judging their molester.

The abused will see God judge their abusers.

The enslaved will see God judge their captors.

The murdered will see God judging their killers.

The starving will see God judge those who had more than enough.

Hell will be a place completely vacant of good. Fire burning in the darkness. It will be a place for those who God judges as unfit for Heaven. And no, according to His standards I would not qualify to step foot in Heaven.

What about you?  Do you feel fit for Heaven?  Comment below and check back soon for more!

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3 thoughts on “How Could a Good God Send People to Hell?

  1. A very very tough question! I wrestle with the tendency to say “Well we don’t REALLY know what the Bible means by hell, it is described in so many different ways . . . is it even a physical place!? We should focus on what we DO know.” On the other hand, “How can we avoid or ignore such an important topic as one’s eternal destination?”

    Part of me wants to explain away the uncomfortable “Oh, we don’t really know who will go to hell. Maybe God will pardon many many more.” But is that part of me that isn’t comfortable with God. Am I making God into my own image?

    I wonder how much of our current vision of what hell is and how it is determined who goes there is based on the Bible versus man-made speculation?

    This is such a difficult topic but very important.

    1. Yes, Luke. I am still wrestling with this topic, and hope to post more in the future. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! Sometimes when things are difficult we would rather not face them.

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