For the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the answers for common objections to Christianity. This week I want to look at the objection that a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell.
When people say that God shouldn’t send people to hell, it reflects a presupposition that humans are too good for God to send them to a place of eternal punishment. But if we’re honest, we know humans are bad people. The evil acts of last century from men like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot clearly demonstrate the sinfulness of mankind. And each of us struggles with our own evil tendency of wanting to selfishly take advantage of others.
Also, our sin is serious because it is not just against our fellow humans, but against the loving all powerful God himself. We all recognise that some offences are much more serious than others. If you punch the prime minister you will be in much deeper trouble than if you punch your neighbour. So it is not hard to understand that if you try to kill God by taking him out of your life it means deep trouble – eternal pain to be exact.
Thus, when someone asks why a loving God would send humans to hell, we need to understand that they want an unjust God who allows them to sin without punishment. They don’t want justice, they want anarchy. They want God’s love without God’s justice. But if God is not just, then how can he show love to people when he is powerless to deal with injustice?
So why doesn’t the just God send everyone to hell because every human is a sinner? The only way God can be just and allow sinners into heaven is if someone takes the punishment of hell for them. And thankfully that is what Jesus Christ did at the cross: ‘God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus’ (Romans 3:25-26). If you believe that Jesus died for you, God’s justice is met and you go free. God is both just in seeing sin punished, and loving in taking the punishment for you.
Do you recognise how evil your sin is and how much you deserve to be punished? And then have you trusted in Jesus death for your sin?