God Doesn’t Send People to Hell

Sun by Me

Imagine a survivor of the Holocaust, living life out quietly, suffering the residual emotional, mental and spiritual pain of the atrocities she witnessed and experienced. She harmed no one and was a decent mother, grandmother wife and citizen. Someone preaches the Gospel to her on her death bed, and she rejects it. Will God send her to heaven or hell?

This question is compelling, suggesting that no God would send anyone who suffered so much to hell. But, the question really isn’t a good one. Not that the circumstance isn’t compelling. The question is loaded, and it’s intended to negate the the Christian idea that the only way to God is through faith and belief in him.

Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him.[1] Peter, who walked with Jesus, ate meals with Him and sat at His feet as he was mentored by Jesus, proclaimed that there is salvation in no one else.[2]

If Jesus is God’s Son, sent to bring the world to the Father, and there is no other name by which men must be saved, then a person who rejects rejects Jesus is not going to heaven. according to these words that Jesus spoke. So, doesn’t that mean God sends people  who don’t believe to hell, like the good citizen who suffered in Auschwitz?

God is love.[3] Right? Many people believe, based on that proposition, that God would not send people to hell, especially people who suffered in this life. I think they are right, but for different reasons. I believe that love is the reason God will not send someone to heaven!

God, who is love, won’t force someone to heaven who doesn’t want to be there. We assume that everyone wants to go to heaven, to spend eternity with God, but that isn’t the case. Some people run from Jesus their entire lives. They don’t want what God is offering.

God doesn’t send people to hell. People choose hell because they don’t want God.

When a man who loves a woman pursues her, but she doesn’t want a relationship, he will stop pursuing her at some point. When she makes it clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, he might be tempted to keep pursuing her, hoping she will change her mind. At some point, however, the right thing to do, the respectful thing to do, the loving thing to do, is to stop pursuing her and let her go.

There is some truth in the old statement: If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were. God loves us and gives us the freedom to love Him back. If we do love Him, we are His; if we don’t love Him, we aren’t. God doesn’t make us love Him.

In the example above of the man pursuing the woman, would it be love for him to continue to pursue her after she asks him to “get lost”? We might call that stalking. If he forces himself upon her, we call that rape.

If God were to force Himself upon us, it wouldn’t be love.

God made us in His image with the capacity and freedom to love Him, but because He loves, He doesn’t coerce us to love Him.

God won’t force Himself on us. If we don’t want Him, He will let us go because anything else would not be love.

God gave us His son. He gave us the Bible. He sends missionaries, preachers, radio, TV and more. If we reject Him, He gives us over to our own desires.[4] He doesn’t force us against our will to be with Him.

In the end, however, there are only two choices: relationship with God or no relationship with God. We are either with Him or against Him. Heaven will be eternity with God, the source of life and love. Hell will be eternity without relationship with God, the source of life and love.

Here on earth in this life everyone has some of the benefits of life with God. The rain falls on everyone, and the sun shines on everyone. We all experience common love and relationship in this world created for us by God.

Imagine, however, a place where there is none of that. There is no love, no relationships, no hope – “nothing but stone cold narcissistic self-absorption”.[5] That is hell.

Hell is being separated from the source of all goodness and love. Hell is being separated from God, but God doesn’t send anyone to hell. People choose hell because they don’t want God.[6]


[1] John 14:6

[2] Acts 4:12 (“[T]here is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”)

[3] 1 John 4:8

[4] Romans 12:1

[5] https://www.facebook.com/ImpactApologetics/videos/838428646288660/ Frank Turk on How to better approach the subject of Hell

[6] The Bible suggests degrees of reward in heaven and in degrees of hell. The truly wicked and depraved will not be in the same place as the person who simply rejects God, but the person who rejects God will not be forced to spend eternity with God.

God is also perfectly just. What happens in the afterlife will be the outworking of that perfect justice. It will make sense in light of God’s justice where people end up.

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