A Loving God - How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell? (Part 2)

Sermons & Study MaterialHow Can a Loving God Send People to Hell? (Part 2)
A loving God

How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell? (Part 2)

A God Of Judgment Can’t Be A God Of Love

Christianity teaches both love and justice are attributes of God. Many western people struggle with this concept since, thinking about it quickly, they don’t necessarily see how someone can be both loving and judging.

[Discussion: What potential weaknesses are hidden in the statement that someone can’t be both loving and judging? Can you think of examples where someone can be both loving and judging?]

This viewpoint is unable to withstand scrutiny.

A Loving Judge

For example, every day throughout the country, judges working in the court system are judging criminals for various crimes, ranging from unpaid parking tickets to murder. Does anyone doubt that some of these judges are people who love? Of course not, so why would it be impossible for God to be both loving and judging?

Someone might object saying, “Well, judging in our earthly justice system is one thing, but nobody, except for maybe Hitler and Bin Laden, would deserve to be sentenced to everlasting torment: Hell.”

A Loving God Would Not Allow Eternal Hell

Many in western culture are okay with bad things being punished. They are not okay with the seeming severity of God’s punishments.

[Discussion: What underlying beliefs and assumptions does a person hold when they feel God’s punishments are unjust?]

One major underlying belief of this statement the person is making is his implying he can determine better than God the severity of the punishment for moral offenses. If you feel eternal Hell is not a fitting punishment, the question is: What qualifies you to make that determination? Are you free from all personal and cultural bias when it comes to weighing the gravity of moral offenses? What makes you better qualified than your neighbor or me?

How Seriously Do You Take Moral Offenses And Sin?

Most would agree that, whenever someone is punished, the punishment must fit the crime. Therefore, in most cultures, one will get a more severe punishment for murdering someone than for running a red light. Likewise, if you view crimes against God, sin, as not a big deal, then you will feel that Hell, as a punishment, is overkill. However, if you view sin as an extremely big deal, then Hell could be viewed as just punishment.

Someone could object by saying they have not committed any crimes against God. That is a mistaken conception. Undoubtedly, nobody has kept the 10 commandments.[3]

For example, if you have ever lied, you have broken God’s law. If you have ever been jealous of someone, you have sinned. If you have had impure thoughts about someone other than your spouse, you violated God’s law.

You, me, and everyone has sinned, and our view on the punishment for that depends on how seriously we take sin and as how offensive we categorize it. Are you qualified to make this determination? Are you free from all personal and cultural bias when it comes to weighing the gravity of sin? What makes you better qualified than your neighbor?

Punishment Depends Against Whom An Offense Was Committed

Here is something else to consider: Even in our system of earthly courts, the level of punishment usually goes higher, depending on against whom the crime was committed. If you punch your neighbor, you will likely get a lesser punishment than if you punch the president. Now, imagine punching an infinite god. What kind of judgment do you think that will warrant?

Punishment Depends On The Difference Between The Transgressor And The Transgressed

Likewise, our sense of justice usually changes based on the difference between the offender and the one being offended against. For example, hardly anyone will care if you kill a mosquito that was biting you. That’s because the mosquito, a lower lifeform, was committing a crime against a higher lifeform, but if you kill a dog who bites you that will raise more eyebrows since a dog is a higher lifeform than a mosquito.

If you kill a human who bites you, you will most likely get arrested and go to jail as there is no doubt your punishment was unfit for the crime. Do you see how our sense of justice changes based on how big a difference there is between lifeforms?

The Human Bias

Most people don’t have a problem with a mosquito getting killed when it bites a human, because the difference between mosquitoes and humans is enormous. Now, think about the difference between humans and an infinite God, whose mind created matter, the very universe, and you from nothing. As big as the difference between you and a mosquito is, the difference between you and this god is infinitely greater. Do you suppose you can talk to God about what punishment is fitting for crimes against him, and do you think your concept of justice is rightwhile God’s concept of justice is wrong?

Job 38 is a fitting chapter for this situation. Job has been complaining that he has been treated unfairly by God. God responds to him, basically asking him to pull up his pants like a man so God can ask him a few questions, and God proceeds to ask Job where he was when God created the universe. In other words: Who does Job think he is in questioning God?

  • Job 38:3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
  • Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

Stay tuned for the 3rd part.


[3] http://www.reformedpreacher.com/are-you-a-good-person/

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1 year ago

Isn’t it the same case of us parents with our children? We love them but sometimes we have to be strict with them and reprimand them when necessary. Great post BTW

1 year ago
  • HER: You are so judgemental
  • HIM: Who am I not to follow God’s actions


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