How can a loving God send someone to hell?
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
I can just hear the evil one as he whispers:
“God welcomes ALL into his body; He doesn’t mind if you are living the gay lifestyle or if you are a transgender – He welcomes ALL because God is LOVE.” <hissssssss>
Almost every heretical ministry can be traced back to an unbalanced and unbiblical view of the attributes of God.
Isn’t God Love?
Of course He is Love. But He is also Just, Righteous and Holy. These attributes of our Lord are not as popular with the apostate churches.
God is God and we are NOT. GOD IS GOD AND WE ARE NOT! When we forget this, and feel empowered to change God’s Holy Word, then the Bible becomes a smorgasbord from which to pick and choose what we like, and discard the rest.
Let’s look at some apostate movements.
The Emergent church
When Brian McClaren wrote his testimony of how he came to a new understanding of the Word of God, He said that his daughter had returned from college and was very emotionally upset. She told her father that she just couldn’t believe that her wonderful friends at the college were destined to hell because of lifestyle or just not believing in the Gospel.
McLaren said that this was life-changing for him. He began to view God in a different way. He began to question the inerrancy of the Word. I have written before how the love of family can negatively impact a person about God’s Word. We must never allow our emotions to question the inerrancy of the Word of God. If we do, then we are saying that we know more than the Creator of the Universe.
Jesus was very clear when He warned us of losing or being at odds with family members because of Him.
“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53).
I have shed many a tear because of my family and how I have been alienated because of my belief and devotion to Jesus Christ. Sometimes I even hear the whispers of the evil one saying, “If you would just come back to Judaism, your life would be much less complicated.” I rebuke that thought immediately – knowing from where it came, and also knowing that my belief and love for the Lord Jesus Christ is True and Right and that I could never turn my back on Him.
The inevitable slippery slope has brought Brian McLaren into all sorts of heresy, even suggesting that the Old Testament was an “immature” view of God. He states that the New Testament brings a sharper and clearer look at God through the lens of Jesus Christ. He is picking and choosing which Scripture fit his new-found belief system about the Bible, Jesus and Salvation.
This clearly shows that leaders such as McLaren have never understood that the entire Word of God was written by men BUT these men were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, in other words, God wrote the entire Bible. When one does not understand that this belief is foundational to the Christian faith – everything else becomes corrupted.
Rob Bell “Love Wins”
In a website which promotes the sale of “Love Wins” – this is the blurb under the book title:
“In Love Wins, bestselling author, international teacher, and speaker Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, Drops Like Stars) addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever? … And ultimately, Love Wins.”
Sounds good, right? Evidently millions of people think it sounds good, having bought the book and Bell’s beliefs – lock stock and barrel!
Answer: In order to address the question of a loving God sending someone to hell, we need to define a few terms and correct a few wrong assumptions. Our definitions must be biblical, and our assumptions must be correct.
We must first define the term loving God. This phrase assumes some things about God, and answering the question at hand according to flawed assumptions leads to wrong conclusions. Our culture defines a “loving God” as a completely non-confrontational being who tolerates anything we want to do. But that is not a biblical definition. First John 4:16 says that God is love. That means that He does not possess love as we do; He is the very definition of love and therefore cannot do anything that is unloving. The law of non-contradiction states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time. So, if God IS love, then He cannot be at the same time unloving.
So the first fallacy present in the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” is the idea that allowing people to go to hell is an unloving act on God’s part. If we humans decide that God is somehow wrong to allow unrepentant sinners to pay their deserved penalty, then we have declared that we are more loving than God is. We have set ourselves up as God’s judge and jury, and in doing so have closed the door to deeper understanding. Therefore, the first step in answering this question is to agree with Scripture that God IS love; therefore, everything He does is an expression of that perfect love.
The second fallacy presented by the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” concerns the word send, which denotes an action only on the part of the sender. If a man sends a letter, sends a request, or sends a gift, all action was done by that man. No action was taken on the part of the letter, request, or gift. However, this understanding of the word send cannot be applied to the question at hand because God has given human beings freedom to participate in their life choices and eternal destinations (John 3:16–18). The way this question is worded implies that, if anyone goes to hell, it is the result of God’s unilateral action, and the person being sent to hell is a passive victim. Such an idea completely disregards the personal responsibility God has entrusted to each of us.
“How can a loving God send someone to hell?” The entire question is wrong. A better wording is “If God is love, then why do some people go to hell?” Romans 1:18–20 lays the foundation for the answer: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (emphasis added).
There are several key points in this passage that give us glimpses into the heart of God. First is the fact that people actively “suppress the truth.” People have been given enough truth to know and surrender to God, but they refuse it. Self-will wants to deny God’s right to tell us what to do. So, with the truth in front of them, many people turn away and refuse to see it. Atheist Thomas Nagel has said, “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
Second, Romans 1 states that God has “made [God’s nature] plain to them.” In other words, God has taken the initiative to make His truth known to everyone. History has proved this since time began, as every people group has sought some understanding of a Creator to whom they owe allegiance. Such knowledge is an integral part of what it means to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Romans 1:20 then says that “people are without excuse.” And to whom would they give such an excuse? The very One who says He has made Himself known to them, if they would only humble themselves and accept such revelations. God judges each of us according to the truth He has given us, and Romans 1 states that we each have enough truth to turn toward rather than away from Him.
When answering the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” another facet of God’s nature comes into play. God is not only love, but He is perfect justice as well. Justice requires adequate payment for crimes committed. The only just punishment for high treason against our perfect Creator is eternal separation from Him. That separation means the absence of goodness, light, relationship, and joy, which are all facets of God’s nature. To excuse our sin would require God to be less than just, and to allow sin-tainted humans into His perfect heaven would render that place less than perfect. That’s why only the perfect Son of God could go to the cross in our place. Only His perfect blood was an acceptable payment for the debt we each owe God (Colossians 2:14). When we refuse Jesus as our substitute, we must pay the price ourselves (Romans 6:23).
God gave us the freedom to choose how we respond to Him. If He forced us to love Him, we would be robots. To give us no option but obedience would be a violation of our free will. Love is only love when it is voluntary. We cannot love God unless we have the option of not loving Him. Because God honors our autonomy, He will never force surrender or loyalty. However, there are consequences for either choice. C. S. Lewis summarizes this truth in his classic work, The Great Divorce: “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.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.” source
Rachel Held Evans
I wrote an article on Ms. Evans recently. She is wildly popular with the younger crowd. She is the proverbial “Wolf in sheep’s clothing.” She is bright and pretty and so laid back. People just want to have lunch with her or have her over for Sunday dinner. She truly is the “face” of the Social Justice gospel movement.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
“I’m Okay -You’re Okay”
There was a book which my mother gave me when I was a teen. The title was “I’m Okay – You’re Okay.” I had not thought about that book in years, but recently it dawned on me that this is exactly what the Apostasy movements are all about.
The leaders of these movements will throw in some Scripture to make the reader/listener/viewer believe that they are Bible-believing Christians. But as the layers of their beliefs are peeled back, the true child of God should discern that these so-called leaders are counterfeit. When the subject of being ‘all inclusive’ and empowering the “gay Christians” comes up, born-again believers should discern that these teachings are devilish and deceptive.
God’s LOVE was demonstrated on the Cross
The followers of the Emergent churches and other apostate churches have missed the true meaning of the Love of God.
His great Love cannot be separated from His Holiness, Righteousness, and Justice. He knew the condition of all people, that we are sinful beings. But His desire for us to be reconciled to Himself led our God to offer the greatest act of Love this world has ever known.
We could never be reconciled to Him in our state of sinfulness. Something had to happen to make us acceptable to God, so that He could offer us a place in heaven with Him when we die. Our sin had to be wiped away, for we know that the wages of sin is death (eternal).
What God did to offer us Salvation and to make us able to stand before Him as holy and righteous: in His incredible LOVE, He sacrificed His only Son Jesus Christ to come to earth wrapped in human flesh, and to shed His blood and die on that Cross on Calvary as payment for our sins. Only Jesus could accomplish this for us. And God watched as His Son took upon Himself the sins of the whole world.
THAT is the Love of God. And His Word is inerrant and infallible.
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11).
Don’t listen to the whispers of the devil!
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