How can God be full of love and still send people to hell?
Before I became a believer this question was one of my ‘justifications’ for not believing in God. After all if a loving God could send people to hell, then was He really loving after all? Well, the answer is an astounding YES! He is a loving God. He is loving because He defines what love is. He is the creator of the universe, the Alfa and Omega, and love is the very character of God. God may act in ways that we deem as unloving by our standards, but to Him they are not unloving. Gods ways are above our ways and his thoughts are above our thoughts. We can not put love into a box and say, “this is what love looks like.” The only person who has that authority to do that is God Himself because He created love and he opted to share it with each one of us.
Now, that we have established that God is a God of love and the very creator of it, let’s go back to the question. How can a God be full of love and still send people to hell? My answer is this, God laid out everything on the table. He said if you accept me as your Lord and Savior and love me then you are set free. His plan was not to ‘send you to hell’ rather his plan was that you would share eternity with Him. God does not ‘send’ us to hell, rather, he gives us the option to choose.
Okay, you say, maybe God lets you choose. But he still allows it. Which leads me back to this question. Can God be loving and still allow people to go to hell? Well to that question I would then have to answer, yes. You see God is love and remember he acts in ways that seem unloving to us, but by his standards they are not. Remember too that God has many characteristics and He is not only known for sharing his love and mercy, but he is also known for frequently pouring out his wrath towards sin. So my final question to you then is this, are you willing to accept that? God does what is just, right and loving, can you trust Him on this?
*Recommended Reading & notes taken from: Francis Chan’s book- “Erasing Hell”
If God is perfect then why did he create a world not so perfect?
This is a great question. You see God created a world that was beautiful and perfect in every way. There was no death, no decay, no destruction, no weeds, it was perfect! He created it as an expression of Himself. But what we need to remember, however, is that sin entered the world, and when it entered, it allowed room for decay and deterioration. Bringing with it death, decay and a not so perfect world.
Genesis 3:17, “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake’ In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”
The earth was cursed the day Adam and Eve sinned and therefore with sin came corruption.
Romans 8:20, “For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope.”
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?
This one simple question can be a stumbling block to anyone who has experienced something ‘bad’ in their life. The death of a loved one, a health issue, an accident, an injury, an abusive relationship, and the list goes on. We have all experienced some sort of trauma in our lives and usually we are left asking the question, why God? Why did this bad thing happen? The truth is God does allow ‘bad’ things to happen to us but he does not cause them. In fact quite the opposite. He knows our pain, he’s experienced it, he loves us and he promises to help us through it.
Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
God does not ‘will’ that bad things to happen us, but rather they happen because we live in a fallen world that is corrupted by sin and led by the master of it, Satan himself.
So then you might ask, if God does not cause the accident, or death, or whatever ‘bad’ thing happened, then why does he not step in and prevent it? And my answer is this. God has his reasons for intervening and not intervening in people’s lives. Sometimes He will step in and other times he does not. It’s not because you have done something wrong or are being punished, no, for God does not condemn us (John 3:17). It’s because Gods ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). He see’s things from a different point of view then you or I. He knows the beginning from the end, our past and even our future. And he always has a plan in mind.
Think about this for a moment. All of the disciples in the Bible went through trials and many died gruesome deaths for their belief in Christ, including: being stoned to death, beheaded, crucified, dragged, hanged and beaten, among other things. I would call all of these things ‘bad’ things. But you see, the disciples did not cast Christ aside and give up on him. No they went to their deaths defending Christ and because of that many people came to the love and knowledge of Christ.
Or how about God sending his one and only son, Christ, to die on the cross in our place. God allowed this to happen to his own Son, and yet, if he had not allowed it, then you and I would not have had the saving grace that we so freely share today. All things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:29). So praise you Lord for the death of your Son. What a blessing it was for us all!
What we need to remember, as hard as it is for us, that Gods ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. God promises all of us trials in our lives and he has a reason for everything He does. And because he is Almighty God creator of the universe, we must put our faith, hope and trust in Him even when he chooses not to intervene in our situation. He is a loving God and does promise to hold our hand through any circumstance.
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
What about people who have never heard the Gospel?
The answer to this question lies in Romans 1:20 which says, “Ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
This verse is telling us that all people of the world, every race, nation, and people group, all of us have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. He says that the creation itself declares the glory of the Lord. That people can know that God is who he says he is simply by looking to his creation. Every rock, every mountain, every speck of dirt, the seas, the stars, all of it points to a Creator and because of this all people of the world know that He exists.
Now does this give us a reason not to tell people about God? Certainly not! Christ tells us that our very purpose here is to ‘spread the gospel message.’ It was one of the last things Jesus spoke to his disciples before ascending back to his Father in heaven. Spreading the message of Christ is the very lifeline of Christianity and God expects us, as believers, to obey Him in this. He loves to use us as tools to accomplish His will and oh what a blessing it is to be used by Almighty God!
I know I have only listed a few questions here and yet there are many more to be answered. So if you would like, please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions. As I would love to help in any way that I can. In addition all questions will remain confidential. Hope to hear from you soon!