How can God send people to hell?
If God is so loving how can he send people to hell?
The other side of this question is: ‘If God is so just how can he accept anyone into heaven?’ God reveals to us clearly two aspects of his character: his justice and his love.
God, because he is just, cannot say that our rebellion against him doesn’t matter. All of us have offended him. We reject God’s commands, which is a personal rejection of God.
When my two year old daughter jumped violently on the back of my baby son, she offended my son but she also offended me. I have been clear with her that she is to be gentle with her little brother. In the same way, when we adults act against each other (in our sexuality misbehaviour, in our selfishness, in banging into each others cars without owning up) we offend another person, but we also offend God.
Our rejection of God’s commands is a symptom of our personal rejection of God. God has been clear how he wants me to live and how he wants me to relate to him. When I go astray I am actually saying to God, “God, I do not accept you as God of my life - I am the ruler - please go away and leave me alone.”
God cannot just say to Hitler that it doesn’t matter and sweep Hitler’s offence under the carpet. And God (because of his justice) can’t say that my offence doesn’t matter, for my offence may be of a different degree - but its antisocial nature is the same.
God in his justice gives us what we ask for. Eternity without him. ‘Hell’ is not the popularly conceived ‘goblins at the end of the garden’, but rather is eternal loneliness ... as God withdraws relationship from us.
The greatness of the Christian Gospel is that God is not only just, but loving. In the moment of the death of Jesus, the love of God and the justice of God meet. In his last moments on the cross, Jesus cries out in anguish to the Father, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” The answer is that God so loved us, that he has abandoned Jesus (sent him to hell) to pay the price of our rebellion, so that God could in his love accept us, and yet maintain his justice (and not say that our offence does not matter).
We must accept God’s justice, the question is: Will you accept God’s love ... and thank him for Jesus death on your behalf?
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au
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