How can a loving God send someone to hell?

In recent weeks I’ve been posting essays from the book, One-Minute Answers to Skeptics, in our Sunday morning ministry guide (church bulletin). This week’s essay contains some thoughts on the troubling question: “How could a loving God send someone to hell,” and I thought the sentiment expressed in it was was worth re-posting here.

“How can a loving God send someone to hell?”[1]

The last thing God wants is for anyone to end up in hell. The Bible says that God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) and that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God did more than simply proclaim His desire that none should perish. He actually proved His desire to save people when He left the glories of heaven in the person of Jesus and came to earth to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Having paid the penalty for mankind’s rebellion, God now graciously offers forgiveness and everlasting life as a gift (Romans 6:23) to all who will put their trust in Jesus.

If people reject God’s grace, turn away from the testimony of their own conscience (Romans 2:15), the testimony of creation (Psalm 19:1-6; Acts 14:16-17), and the wooing of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), and say, “I will have nothing to do with God,” God will, in the end, allow them to have their own wish (2 Thessalonians 1:9). As C.S. Lewis said, “The damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end…the doors of hell are locked on the inside.” In the end, those people who end up in hell will have only themselves to blame. Hell is the end of a path that is chosen to some degree in this life, here and now, day by day.

Thy Will Be Done:

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), professor and author.

[1] This article is taken in its entirety from Charlie H. Campbell’s book, One-Minute Answers to Skeptics (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2005/2010), pages 37 – 38.

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