“If God is loving then why does he send people to Hell?” is a question that many people struggle with. It is a very important question because Heaven, Hell, and the character of God are all extremely important topics to consider and they have huge implications for how we live our lives.
I’m going to discuss the issue in two parts, firstly by talking about why people go to Hell and secondly by talking about why people go to Heaven.
Why some people go to hell and why I think it is unfair
I am convinced it is unfair that some people go to hell — but not for the reasons you might think. I think it is unfair that ONLY some people go to hell — we ALL deserve to go to hell and be separated from God’s love.
Everyone has sinned by rejecting God, rebelling against him and committing evil in a multitude of ways that stem from our initial rejection of him. As Paul says in Romans chapter 3, verses 10–11 “No one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” And in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 1, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” There is no one on earth who deserves to go to heaven for we have all sinned against God and whether we have done what we think are big sins or little sins we have all sinned and therefore are disqualified from getting into heaven.
Yet the amazing, incredible, MIND-BLOWING news of the Bible is that even though we keep sinning and rejecting God, he continues loving us! He remains faithful to us and he even goes so far as coming to Earth as a human being and dying an excruciating and humiliating death on a cross so that we can be made right with him. He makes a way for us to have a restored relationship with him and access to heaven when we die!
Why some people go to heaven and why I think that is fair
God is all powerful and he is in charge of everything so surely he could just let everyone into Heaven without Jesus dying and without people going to hell. Right? On the surface this seems like a good idea: no one suffers, no one dies, and everyone lives happily ever after… Except… If this were the case there would be no consequences for people who have done terrible evils. What about Pol Pot? He caused the death of 25% of the Cambodian people in his four year reign and died at his home aged 72 from suspected heart failure. Or Hitler? Hewas responsible for the deaths of over 19 million civilians and prisoners of war and committed suicide before his capture.
If there were no consequences, then there would be no justice for the victims of domestic violence, hit-and-runs, or sexual attacks. There would be no justice for people who have had their savings stolen, their houses burnt down, or their children abducted. When faced with such horrors we demand justice and rightly so, and sometimes people do get punished in this life, but what about when they don’t? Is it right that Pol Pot didn’t suffer any consequences? Is it right when a murderer or a rapist gets only a three-year prison sentence?
To say that those things do not matter and that there does not need to be any consequences for them is a horrifying idea. It does not make God more loving if he ignores sin — it actually makes him less loving — it means he does not care about justice and does not care about the victims. God MUST punish sin or else he is going against his character, which is loving; part of loving is requiring justice for wrongdoing.
It is not just the murderers and dictators who have sinned, but every person as we have all rejected God, our creator and LORD of all creation. Yet God loves us SO much that he sent his one and only son — Jesus — God the Son — to Earth to die for us! Jesus voluntarily gave up the glory of heaven to come to Earth as a human being (though still God) and die for us! In this way God satisfies the need for justice and shows his AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, MIND-BLOWING love for us!
Now we need only accept Jesus’ death for us, repent and follow him and we can be made right with God and have eternal life! As Paul says in Romans chapter 5, verse 8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The perfection of the Cross
In the Cross of Christ we see mercy and justice come together perfectly to represent the enormity of God’s love for us. A love so great that it cannot stand our sin against God or each other and demands justice, but also so great that he voluntarily stood in our place and took the punishment we deserve so we could inherit eternal life and be with him forever!
As we go about our daily lives, let us take comfort in the fact that God brings justice to the victimised, joy in the fact that he sent his son to die for us, and hope in the fact that God can save whomever he chooses. May this spur us on to keep praying for and evangelising loved ones who don’t yet know and trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin, and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrapbooking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.
Jessica McPherson’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jessica-mcpherson.html
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.