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Before you read: This article is part of a larger series that builds on itself from the foundation up, with each study building on the last. If something in this article does not make sense to you or if you believe it to be incorrect please be sure you have read over the entire course before passing your final judgment. Also be sure to visit this page’s FAQ And Objections Page
The Bible says that those who deny God will be sent to a place called hell. That is very offensive to a lot of people. In fact, it is so offensive that many try to deny it. They claim that God does not send anyone to hell at all. They claim that God simply doesn’t force them into His presence, and that leaves them with no other place to go. Or they say the person vanishes and no longer exists.
Would a loving God send someone to hell? The thought of a loving God, who isn’t willing for anyone to perish, actually sending people to hell seems like slander on the character of God. “Surely He wouldn’t do such a thing?! A loving God would respect the wishes of people who don’t want to go there! In fact, why would He even submit anyone to it for any amount of time?”
BUT it isn’t slandering against God nor is it speaking wrongly about Him.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
We see in these verses that God does cast people into a literal hell. In other words, God has the power to throw someone into hell, and He will do it. You can not look at these verses and deny that unless you close your eyes to it.
Is it a surprise that a loving God would do this?
2 Peter 2:4
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
The same word “cast” is used when God sends the devil and his angels into hell and how He will also send people to hell. They will be cast (thrown) in.
God doesn’t just let them wander into hell because they are not in heaven with Him. God actually casts them into hell. He literally sends people to hell as a punishment for their sins.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Who is going to stand before God and choose hell over Him? No, people will not willingly walk into this place. An eternity of hell can not be a choice that people would make over being in the presence of God. They must be cast into it.
Obviously, this may seem contradictory to some people. If God does cast people into hell doesn’t that contradict what the Bible says about God not being willing that any should perish?
Have you ever had to do something you did not want to do, … simply because it was the RIGHT thing to do? Just because God doesn’t want to cast someone into hell doesn’t mean He will not do it, if it is the right thing to do.
Because while God is love, He is also just, true, and holy. You see, sometimes we have the wrong idea about what love is really like. For many of us, we believe love will not punish evil. We believe love will simply ignore it no matter how bad it is.
But this is not loving, and certainly not the love of God which is holy and true.
Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.
Many like to quote that God is love, … yet when we see God say that He will not justify the wicked we detach that from being love. It’s like we can’t comprehend that LOVE would condemn someone. Instead, we need to understand that God is love, and that love will not justify the wicked. Love will cast a person into hell.
Anyone who has read the Bible knows that God, who is love, will punish the wicked with death and hell. The question then should not be if this slanders the character of God, but rather, why does love punish evil?
Take a moment to think about this. Those who do evil love to do it. Think of yourself. Do you or have you ever enjoyed sin? Of course, and if you say no then you are a liar.
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Sin is something to be desired, and pleasurable. But its end is death. While we may not want the death part, we do often want the sin part.
Now, what reason is there to keep ourselves from sin? It may hurt someone else, it may hurt us, it may do all kinds of things. But those are not enough reasons to stop us, … are they? How many people do not care who they hurt or even if they hurt themselves?
If there are no consequences for sin then it will only continue.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
If you can keep someone from committing murder, should you not do it? If you can stop evil, and you do not have any intention of doing so, then are you not guilty of letting it happen?
I know that statement may seem like a good argument against the morality of God. But, look at it another way. If God did stop us from choosing sin then He would have taken away our ability to make our own choices.
He would have taken away what makes us human. Since God created us in His image we were made to think and make our own choices. If He took our ability to do that away then He would remove part of what makes us who we are.
If He didn’t take that away, and just stopped us from actually carrying out our choice to sin then all He would have done is prevent evil, not destroy it.
The heart of men would still be evil. Do you know what happens when a person wants to do something but they are constantly prevented from it? They get angry. They become bitter. They end up overcome and consumed by the desire. So they still sin because they begin to hate God.
Now, what about the victims of crime? Why doesn’t God stop that? You may not have considered this but God is being merciful. He is giving the person who commits the crime a chance to repent and be forgiven. He gives the victim a chance to be forgiven of their own sins too.
If the victim goes to God then they can be healed and made whole. So can the criminal. The suffering that people face in this life is not even worth being compared to the joy that will come. Not only that, but God can use those sufferings to bring others into this place of joy. So no, it would not be morally right for God to do that.
But, God has said that He will make an end of sins and bring in everlasting righteousness. He is going to stop evil by delivering those who refuse to repent into hell. This is the only way to stop it and the only consequence that is good enough.
But why an eternal punishment? It’s because the effects of sin are eternal. Let’s see the big picture.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Adam took a bite of the fruit that God said not to eat. What’s the big deal? Why should Adam be punished for all of eternity? That may be what someone looking at the single event may think.
But, what were the effects of that sin? Men throughout history have murdered, lied, stole, and done all kinds of things to one another. Have you ever seen those videos showing how one good act can have an effect on everyone around you? It works in reverse too.
Just as being kind to one person makes it more likely that they will be kind to someone else, it also means being cruel to one person can make them cruel to another.
Can you see the chain reaction of sin? My sin causes you to sin which causes another and so on. So when someone is burning in hell it may be because of my sin. The effect of sin is perpetual. It never ends. If I ate that fruit which caused someone else to be in hell then shouldn’t my punishment be perpetual as well?
So why does God send people to hell? Because it will end evil and it is a just and right punishment. He could not let things continue forever as it is. The innocent should not always have to put up with the evil. There must be a stop put to it.
Why then doesn’t God just stop it now? It is because God doesn’t want anyone to be in hell. He is giving a set amount of time for people to either continue in sin or to repent. But the time is set according to Daniel.
Just because He is letting it happen now doesn’t mean He will not stop it. And it also doesn’t mean He isn’t good because He isn’t punishing people this very moment. This is how God is both merciful, loving, and kind while also being full of wrath, anger, and judgment.
So you see that God is full of mercy. He gives the chance for people to turn back to Him. He is full of patience in giving us so much time, and even time after we sin. He is full of love because He does not want anyone to perish, and He will heal those who were victims if they come to Him.
But, at the same time, He is also a God of wrath. He hates sin and hates the violence of men. He will bring an end to it in due time. He is righteous because he will not remove our humanity from us. He is completely fair because even the evil done to us can be used for OUR good. He is more fair, in fact, than we could understand.
In all of this, we can see how it is not slander or blasphemy to say that God will punish those who do not repent of their evil. It is not wrong to say God will cast people into hell. It does not, in any way, remove His ability to love or His desire to save.
But, if we were to say that God would not cast someone into hell, then we would be removing His justice, wrath, and even His goodness. THAT, my friends, would be slander and blasphemy.
Continue To Unit 2:9 – The Wrath of God OR
Return To Christianity 101 Unit 2 – Sin and Eternal Judgment
September 14, 2015 at 5:10 pm | | 1 comment