I have been reading HELL by Bill Wiese for the past couple of days because it had some questions in it that are very controversial. The one that always gets me is.. "How can a LOVING God send people to hell?" Now, before I get into this, please do not use my blog for arguing that your way is right and someone elses is wrong. Please respect each other, I know this is a touchy subject, but that doesn't mean we act like non believers because we want the last word. Thank you. ANYWAYS... I have always pondered this question. God is loving, correct? He is also just. He is also perfect. He is wise. He is all knowing. He is omnipresent. He is merciful. And I could go on. When I was study A. W. Tozers book "Knowledge of the Holy" he noted that God is all this in one and not one trait is great then another because God is perfect. Everything is equal. So, God is just as just as He is loving. Why do people go to hell? Well, God has given us a choice. We either walk on the straight and narrow path, or follow our own evil devices. God shows us that we are sinners and that we need a Savior. We need to repent of our sin and live for Him. If we reject this, then we are heading to hell. If we accept then we are going to heaven. Simple enough, right? But God is all-knowing and sovereign? Doesn't that mean He is sending those people to hell? This goes along with the whole predestination bit. Now, here is where I stand. While God is sovereign we have a free will. While He knows who is going where, we are still making that choice. I believe that predestination and free will work side by side, even though I don't understand it. God says to Isaiah (Isaiah 55) that "His thoughts are NOT our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways." We are not capable of understanding God's ways. It isn't supposed to make sense to us. We just need to trust and walk in faith. But is God sending people to hell? Well, no because we make the choice if we want to reject God. As Bill Wiese puts it, we can't just walk into someones house and expect them to let us live with them. But we have to build a relationship first. But in another sense, yes, because God has total control over everything, right? He is soveriegn, right? And He is just. Is God still loving? YES! Do you look around you and see all the wonderful things God gives us? He gives each person a chance to say yes or no to Him. He loves everyone and blesses us with things we don't deserve. He showed us His love by sending His Son, so that everyone could be saved, if they choose to. But people reject because they are stubborn and think they can do it all on their own. I hope this makes sense. God Bless.
I believe that God created choices and our choices lead us to helll! I believe that he created hell because he knew that some of his creation would not choose wisely. So I dont believe he sends us to hell but that we send ourselves!
thanks for the blog
The thing that I find is this. Because of free will God does not intefere with the choice we make. So if we choose to reject his and say No to his grace and mercy, all he is doing is holding us to that choice.
So we have chosen hell, why should we expect God to allow us to live as we choose in this life, but override that choice in the next?
And unfortunalty as God created hell for the devil and his followers, those of us who reject the wonderful Saviour are, whether we like it or not, his followers.
And of course effie is so right, God does not send us to hell, we make that choice ourselves, but like true humans we try to always blame someone else. Thats when we point the finger at our God and say , a loving God wouldn't do that.
We have not come very far from the garden have we?
Very good blog and excellent comments.
Our God is very loving for He provided us a way out, we don't have to go to hell. He sent His Son to die for us, that is the most loving thing God could do. I wish that none would perish, I wish I could save everyone but I can only do what the Lord has enabled me and to make sure people know the Truth. He must work on their hearts.
And I am with you Sam, our finite minds just can never understand our infinite God, we simply must trust Him.
I can tell that Goldie has a personal relationship with God, because in her heart of hearts she knows God is a God of Love, and so He would never do anything mean. When she says, "He gives each person a chance to say yes or no to Him." She is exactly right. Deuteronomy 30:19, confirms this.
I have studied this out and I am here to tell you that the concept of a God who punishes the wicked eternally in a lake of fire is a Satanic lie.
God Himself is an all consuming fire, so those who stand in His immediate presense while clinging to their sins will be consumed/destroyed, but only after
all of the evidence has been examined, (books opened), and after every knee has bowed and every toungue has confessed. Rom 14:11
Immediately after that, the wicked will condemn themselves by attacking the Holy City. Rev 20:8,9.
Then fire falls from heaven and consumes them. Rev 20:9
This is a complicated study, but well worth digging into, to find an even more Loving God.
Please do not simply take my word for it, study this out for yourself.
Here are a few verses to get you started: (The wicked perish) John 3:16, Psalms 37:20, Psalms 68:2, Psalms 145:20
They will be ashes under our feet, Malachi 4:1, Malachi 4:3, Psalms 92:7,
Lucifer/Satan himself is destroyed. Ezekiel 28:19
As said in the post, this is a very touchy subject which draws into it numerous theological views which clash with each other. The overwhelming truth has to be that God is Love and according to 1 Timothy His will is for all to be saved. If God's primary will is for all to receive the gift of eternal life and He is love; then logically we must assume that God is far more willing to forgive people's sins than He is to hold those sins against people and force them to hell.
Having said this, the undeniable truth remains that God sets up a standard of proper belief which when believed, allows His grace to save to the uttermost. But, if a person chooses to ignore such a standard and in fact rebel against it, there is recorded in God's Word in undeniable and graphic detail the wrath of God. Romans chapter 1 certainly exposes this as well as Revelation and of course the Old Testament.
The wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness and evil. The wrath of God will be poured out in Revelation and those who stubbornly refuse to accept God's gift of grace will indeed suffer the consequences. "Remember Lot's Wife" Jesus said, for because she refused to do what the Word of God said in that situation, she suffered the consequences of her unbelief.
Personally, I don't think for an instant that Almighty God is going to throw anyone to hell. The mental picture of this doesn't fit with my image of God. What I can picture is the wrath of God being exposed for all to see, just as it was in Moses time when the people went totally against the Word given. I think much can be gleaned in this study by looking at the records in Exodus and Numbers especially to see how God dealt with His covenant people. The promises were incredible but the consequences of rebellion were devastating.
I do not believe it is the will of God for anyone to perish in the lake of fire, yet there is ample proof such a lake exists. Satan will be cast into that fire, as will those who deliberately choose to make him their god. This is not the same as God throwing these people into hell. It is simply the inevitable consequence of absolute unbelief.
It is interesting to note that before anyone's final destiny is determined, there is the Great White Throne Judgment. Here, every person who has ever lived will have one final chance to prove by what they did in this life if mercy isn't justified for them. I look at the this time as one of the greatest examples in all of God's Word of just how loving, patient, merciful and longsuffering our God really is. God will do everything He can, without breaking His Word, to see a person escape the eternal fires of hell. That to me proves we serve the one true God of Love.
As my mentor always says, "God will honor your choices".
Most important I think you brought out is keeping God's attributes in complete harmony and balance. Yes, he is loving and compassionate, but he is also holy and cannot tolerate sin, and just and judge.
Great blog, Goldie.
A question that bears considering is, could a loving God send a person to heaven against their will?
Another thought, is what Yeshua said:
Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
What is the meaning of a resurrection to damnation? It must mean they had already died, then to what were the resurrected? Animated corpses? Regular man who will again be consumed after having already died? Isn't it appointed once for man to die and then the judgment (Heb 9:27)? I think the scripture is clear there is an eternal punishment. To address what has been said before regarding destruciton, I would ask does a destroyed castle seek to exist? No, all of it's parts exist only it's form have changed. Even if you "consume" something it goes somewhere. Consider what was said of the earth of Noah's day:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Is this not the same world that it was? Yes and no. The earth did not pass away (Yeshua even said that Heaven and Earth will not pass away). Perishing or destruction do not necessarily intail a ceasation of exist but merely a ruined state. But even if this were not the case, I too have a problem with the idea of God sending people to hell (however we'd like to say it), but as youaregolden points out there is a matter of simply trusting God. Are we just enough to judge God's judgment? If he does or does not send people to hell for their crimes, who are we to judge him? And even if we make a point of believing it is not so, what then? Do we imagine that the judgment he will pour out is some small thing? Is the end of existance which no man can know better than hellfire?
In the end, we don't know. It seems absurd to me that we should try to "downplay" hell when it is so prominently displayed throughout scripture. Even if hell is not what we imagine hell to be, the continual warning against going there should say that it is far worse a fate than any of us imagine. What is he warning against if it is no more than dying in a fire? People in heaven today have gone through that. Martyrs went through that, are we putting their deaths as the equivalent of experiencing God's wrath?
But in the end as stated, it comes to trust. God is good and faithful. We could (and there's no reason not to) debate over the devices of God's justice, but it will still happen all the same. And we must then extend trust, that the same God who loves the world is the same one who will only give people what they must receive for their crimes and will make every effort to save them. It is his nature.
[quote]." We are not capable of understanding God's ways. It isn't supposed to make sense to us. We just need to trust and walk in faith.[/quote]
Well said Goldie . . . we are to come to Him as little children with childlike faith. Child like faith is believing Him in all things including the things we don't understand simply because He says it in His Word. He who is returning to rule and reign has a name written on Him and it is "The Word of God."
God created hell for the devil and his angels. Any human who goes to hell has chosen their eternal home themselves. He has given us a free pass into eternal life. Only believe and God will do the rest including making the way before us so we walk the path He has laid out for us. The devil will lie to us and tell us we are sinners and unworthy. You know what, he is right. We are sinners and we are unworthy however in those who believe lives a Savior who laid down His life for us. When God looks down on a believer all He sees is His Son.
Praise God everyone who believes are hidden in Christ Jesus. Yes, He does love us that much.
For those of you who are determined, for one reason or another, to hang on to your belief in an eternal hell, I can agree this far, as long as you only read these four verses; then the Bible does 'clearly' speak of everlasting punishment / eternal damnation / eternal judgment, and being tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Matthew 25:46 Mark 3:29 Hebrews 6:2 Revelation 20:10
If this satisfies you then very well, but good luck trying to fit this concept into the concept of a God of Love.
Oh yes, one other thing before you get too comfortable in your 'knowing,' read Jude 1:7 where it says Sodom and Gomorrha are, "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Yes, this fire was un-quenchable, but obviously this fire that the Bible calls 'eternal,' is not still burning. You might want to go to the Greek and Hebrew, on the word eternal. You might also ask yourself and God why you like this picture of God.
And now for those of you who are still studying this subject, I would like to share my definition of God's wrath.
I believe God's wrath is the most extreme example of God's Love, and that it has nothing at all to do with an angry vengeful God.
God's lower case wrath essentially means separation from God. If you persist and insist in turning your back on God and plunging into darkness, God will (honoring your freewill, out of Love) let you go, in that case it may be said that God turns His back on you, actually I doubt if He ever really does, but if you picture Him turning His back, assume that it's only so you can't see Him crying.
God's UPPER CASE WRATH (Revelation 6:16 Hebrews 12:29) is what the wicked will experience when they come face to FACE with God on judgment day. (Note that it says "the wrath of the Lamb," not the wrath of an angry Lyon of Juda.
God's Love IS the all consuming eternal fire, - - - for the righteous it is heaven, - - - but it is WRATH to anyone who hates Good.
One more verse for now; notice that Revelation 20:11 (speaking of the wicked), says, "No place was found for them."
God's plan of redemption is complete, "death and hell have been cast into the lake of fire," (to me that means these words will become antique words, no longer in use) God's universe is back to the "Very Good," full of Love and Light and Joy and Peace, - - - so how could we celebrate the great feast if we knew our friends and relatives were cooking in the basement.
As I said before; This is a complicated study, but WELL worth digging into, to discover an even more Loving God.
[quote]so how could we celebrate the great feast if we knew our friends and relatives were cooking in the basement.[/quote]
Your answer to this question can be found in (Isaiah 65.17).
In the eternal our true relatives (brothers, sisters, etc) will be with us. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus and are all sons of God.