I am a follower of Christ and have a passion to share the good news of the gospel with as many people as possible.
Antagonists and sincere seekers often ask this question: How can a loving God send people to hell for eternity? If you think about it, it is an oxymoron. A loving God and hell or eternal punishment are at opposite ends of the spectrum. This question is designed to be a stumper, which if you only look at in on the surface, it is. Let us take a deeper look and explore what justice is and then see if a just God can indeed be justified sending someone to hell.
What is justice? Thefreedictionary.com defines justice as “conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.” Most people want to see justice carried out, especially on serious and heinous crimes. Very few will argue with Stalin, Hitler, and Bin Laden to name a few being sent to hell. What do the rest of us deserve?
Courtroom Example – Part I
Let us look at an example of what goes on in a courtroom. A defendant is accused of a serious crime and is brought to trial. The prosecution calls witnesses and produces evidence that the defendant is guilty. The defense attorney tries to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and offer evidence of the defendant’s innocence. After all the evidence has been offered, either a judge or a jury will decide the guilt of the defendant based upon what the evidence is. If the defendant is found innocent, they are let go. If they are found guilty, they are held over for sentencing. At sentencing, the prosecution offers their recommendations for punishment, while the defense attorney does the same. Many times, witness are called, that testify that the defendant had a rough childhood or a generally a good person. Would a judge be a good judge, if he let the defendant off for a serious charge because they are generally a good person? No, because the victim would not get the justice that they deserve.
According to the Bible, God is a God of love, justice, mercy, grace, judgment, and holiness to name a few of His attributes. He is also all-powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere. God’s holiness will not allow Him to let one sin go unpunished. That does not mean that God punishes sin immediately. Many times, He allows them to fill up before His wrath is poured out. Hell is the fullness of His wrath. His mercy and grace allows humanity to continue and not wipe us out as we deserve. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven.
Before we look at the justice of God, we need to look at what God’s laws are. God’s primary laws are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20):
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
· This refers to anything or anyone who takes the place of God in your life.
2. You shall not bow down to idols.
· An idol can be anything from an image, to sports, music, computers, serving, etc. This is anything that you worship instead of God.
3. You shall not misuse the name of God.
· God’s name is misused all the time. People say “Jesus Christ”, “God Da**it”, ”Oh my God”, “Jesus”, etc as an adjective. I believe that this command is evidence of God and the Bible being true. How many people have you heard use “Buddha”, “Harry Christna”, “Muhammad” in the same manner? It is because of the hatred of God by Satan and the flesh that God’s name is misused.
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
· This is not limited to only listening to your parents, but taking care of them in their later years. If people would do this, there would be no need for social security and welfare for the most part.
6. You shall not murder.
· Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. . . But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell” Matthew 5:22.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
· Jesus added that anyone who lusts after a woman has committed adultery in his heart already.