How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell? - page 6

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From the Summer 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

by Bill Kynes, Ph.D.
C.S. Lewis Institute Senior Fellow, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church

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  But at the same time, I refuse to believe that my own horror at the thought of God’s eternal wrath being poured out on sinners somehow means that there can be no heaven if there is a hell.8 It seems to me that the coexistence of heaven and hell is not a problem for God. Why is that? How could hell possibly fit into the grand purpose and design of God for His universe?

Why Should There Be a Hell?

  Here we come up against one of the great mysteries of our faith. Why any creature God created should ever turn away from Him is the great conundrum of the cosmos. And the Bible gives us no answer to that question, perhaps because in the good world God created evil is ultimately irrational and therefore inexplicable. I can’t say why God couldn’t have made a world in which He knew every person would live in perfect faith and obedience before Him. Therefore, I can’t say why there is a hell. But I can suggest what hell does—that is, what it tells us about God.

Hell Demonstrates God’s Holiness

  Three things come to mind: First, hell demonstrates God’s holiness. However we conceive of the love of God, we must recognize that it is always a holy love. It’s only our meager understanding of the utter purity of God’s holiness, and of His absolute abhorrence of all evil, that makes it difficult for us to conceive of the appropriateness of hell as God’s response to it. Our thoughts of God are too shallow, too tame, and domesticated. We have made God too much in our own image, rather than allowing Him to shape our thinking.
  Consequently, we don’t understand the sinfulness of sin. Instead of thinking, “Sin is not so bad; how extreme of God to punish it in hell,” we should think, “What must sin be like, if it results in sinners justly going to hell?“ Hell shows us just how holy God is—such is His revulsion of our sin.

Hell Vindicates God’s Justice

  Second, we can say that hell vindicates God’s justice. The existence of hell testifies forever that in God’s universe, righteousness rules. Let there be no mistake; evil will get its due. When God says the wages of sin is death, He means it. When God punishes sin, He will be seen to be just in all His ways. God will be glorified even in the display of His wrath.9

Hell Magnifies God’s Grace

   And finally, and perhaps paradoxically, the existence of hell magnifies God’s grace. If I came up to you and said, “I just paid your bill,” you’d be grateful, I’m sure. But the degree of your gratitude would rise dramatically if you discovered that it wasn’t your bill for lunch that I paid, but it was the entire principal of your house mortgage! In a sense, this is what hell says to us. It is the measure of God’s grace; this is the length He went to save us. Hell is the bill He has paid.

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