The question is asked in many different ways, but the basics is the same. How can a loving God send people to hell. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes, God is loving. Yes, people are rebellious. Is obvious God very much punish people who hates Him. Lastly, yes God does send people who hates Him to hell.
In case anyone tried to paint a rosy picture of a loving God who does not punish people, just wait until the book of Revelation. In the end times, people who rebell will be slaughtered by Christ with a sword coming from His mouth. A river of blood will be flowing out of the battlefield 200 miles long. These are the blood of the slain enemies of Christ. An angel then calls for all the birds to come and eat the dead bodies. So not only does God punish people, the punishment is grusome.
II. This is a Question with Undertone of Anger
The question “how can a loving God send people to hell?” is not a sincere inquiry. When you hear a question like that, you have to listen to the voice. You hear anger and outrage. We all know when a spouse ask the question “how can you love me and have relationship with another person?” You hear that tone of voice, and is time to call a marriage counselor or divorce lawyer. There is no discussion, minds were already made up. The statement is phrased as a question, but is a rethorical question. No answer will be accepted at that point.
Let say the spouse answer with honey, you know we live in a polygamous commune. Everyone one else including you already have multiple partners, but I only had one outside relationship. You know very well that answer will not be accepted by the spouse no matter how rational and just your explaination is.
When a question starts out with”how can you?”, you know what is coming next. Same with this question directed towards God. When you hear the voice and see anger and hatred towards God, you know this is not a discussion, and no answer will be accepted. Once you ask “how can you”, you have already rejected God.
I know this question also traps many Christians. That anger is sin, and is very contageous. When you hear that tone of anger, it sets up an anger in you especially when you are already spiritually weak. Insidiously, before you even know it, you already hate God. Others wonder why you suddenly dropped out.
III. How Should We be Asking the Question
If you want a honest discourse on why God put people in hell, how can you ask in a tone that is filled with reverant and humility as you should when approaching the king of the universe? For sure you would not start off with “how can you?”. You would never say that to the company president not to mention king of the universe. The question should be “does God still love those people He place in hell?” With that of course, the answer is in Romans:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they obecame futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom. 1:24 Therefore sGod gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to tthe dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for ua lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, vwho is blessed forever! Amen.
God, gave up on these people, and left them to their own accord. These people are the ones who steadfastly and willfully refuse to acknowledge Him.
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but jthe blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
When someone outright rejects the teachings of the Holy Spirit, there is no forgiveness. God does love the world and sends His son to save us, but He also shuts the door on those who blatantly rejects Him. There is indeed a situation where God terminates His love. Not a very pleasant thought!
IV. Proof of God’s Existence
How do we know God exist? The answer is too obvious: by all the things that are created. Not only is it obvious God created everything around us, is obvious to the point we even know God’s character just by looking around you. Look at the sky, the tree and the birds. Just look at both your hands and your body right now. You see God’s eternal power right there. This is what Romans said:
His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,
People will always gravitate towards the argument of evolution. When I say evolution, I encompass everything from origin of universe to origin of life to humans. To make the argument stronger, there is often an added point that there is no physical proof for God. Inevitably, a taunt comes up that Christians are believing in an invisible God.
Reality is that evolution is and always has been an excuse to ignore God. If you can actually look into each person’s thoughts, you will find that no one ever truly believed in evolution. If you just think about what it takes to go from nothing to universe to cells to human, it boggles the mind.
Throughout history, the alternative explanation to God has always been changing. No doubt there were other theories in Paul’s days. Latter, there was spontaneous generation of life before Pasteur. We laugh about it now, but people truly used that excuse to deny God. No doubt future generations will laugh at us for thinking lightning strikes will create DNA, and then it got sophisticated from there.
The current excuse is that given infinite time and infinite chances, a universe will form. Age of universe currently stands at 13.772 billion years. That is not exactly infinite, and is really a very short time to do all you see around you. Nobody ever truly believed in parallel universe either. It means at any given time, if roll of dice does not turn up a win, the entire universe disappears. These are all excuses. People are very creative in making excuse when they want to get out of a situation. Policeman will tell you with a laugh how many kinds of excuse they have heard from speeders.
I think what Paul was trying to say is:
a. The universe operates as a brilliant system.
b. All of creation is incredibly beautiful.
Both point a and b points to an obvious creator.
We all intuitively know how complex the universe is. Paul was not a system engineer, but you don’t need a degree to understand the universe is a system. The cell is a system. The DNA/RNA is a system. The human body is a very complex interconnected system. A system by definition means there is planning involved. Every system engineer appreciates the work that goes into developing a system. Each part has to have specifications. Each specification has a manufacturing tolerance band. Specifications are negotiated in endless meetings to find the right balance between cost, risk and the end function. All parts work together in the system. Any single part cannot develop on its own. When you have billions of parts in a system, there is planning involved. Paul said you see the glory of God in creation.
The beauty of the universe is acknowledged by all, even atheists. When you look at the night sky in a dark night, it is amazing. Beauty does not come from nothing. There is the creator and there is a receiver. Humans do not create beauty like God can. If you look at all the paintings and photographs, the subjects are almost always either animals, nature, humans or some aspect of creation. When we create an art, we copy from nature what is beautiful and illustrate it on a piece of paper. Of course, there is modern art, which at the heart of it is it tries not to copy anything in nature. It tries to create beauty apart from nature. It is as if is trying to create beauty apart from God. We all know the result of modern art. My children were frank, they said they are horrible. How can you call those things art!