The Heart of God for Hell
In the previous post I touched on the idea that the universalist position (that no one or almost no one goes to Hell and if they do, they will not stay long) argues that if Hell exists or that if anyone experiences it eternally, then the love and character of God are diminished. I argued that if Hell does not exist and if no one goes there, then it does far more damage to the character and love of God because the Bible is essentially a fraud and God is a liar. Biblically, the existence of Hell does not tarnish the character of God, but rather affirms His love, mercy, and justice.
If one argues that the existence of Hell makes God seem too vindictive and harsh he must ignore the spirit of Scripture. The Scripture argues that even though Hell exists, it is not the heart of God for anyone to go there. Here are several texts that affirm that though Hell exists, the heart of God remains loving:
Psalm 86:15 (ESV)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Ezekiel 33:11 (ESV)
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
John 3:16–17 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Romans 2:4 (ESV)
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
1 Timothy 2:3–4 (ESV)
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
All of these verses, and their surrounding contexts demonstrate:
1. Even though Hell exists, God remains loving.
2. Even though Hell exists, God remains just.
3. Even though Hell exists, God is extending grace toward mankind not desiring anyone to go there.
So then the pertinent question remains, why do people go to Hell? With the ground work laid over the last several posts, I think now we can sufficiently answer the question at hand.