“How can a loving God send anyone to Hell?” is a question that has been asked thousands of times down through the years. You yourself have probably asked it at one time or another. One Bible scholar who has left us with a good answer was Dr. Henry Morris. As a matter of fact, his answer was so good that I thought I’d just share it with you verbatim. Morris wrote:
The reason is that, as a God of love, He will not force people into Heaven against their will. Such people would not be happy in Heaven!
God is not only a God of love but also of perfect holiness and absolute righteousness. There can be no sin of any kind whatever in His presence in Heaven. He created man for fellowship with Himself, but of course man (Adam first, then every other person individually since Adam) has become a sinner, separated from God’s presence and fellowship. No one therefore has a right in himself to be in Heaven. Every person, without exception, deserves to go to Hell. As the Scripture says, it is a place where men “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:9).
Thus, in Hell there will be no love, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). There will be no light, for God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). There will be no peace or rest or joy, since these are all gifts of God (John 14:27; Heb. 4:3; John 15:11). On the contrary, there will be eternal corruption, strife, rebellion and hatred.
Now this is exactly what we all deserve. “But God…is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” (Eph. 2:4). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9).
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, lived a perfect human life. He died for our sins,…and then He arose victorious over death and Hell, “alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:18). He paid the full price for our redemption and restoration to the presence and fellowship of God for which we were created.
The only rational response a man can possibly make to this infinite manifestation of God’s love is to fall on his knees before God, confess and forsake his sin, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and commit his life and soul, for time and eternity, to the service of the One who has loved him so much and paid such an awful price for his salvation.
On the other hand, if a man either rejects or ignores the love of God in Christ, he thereby chooses to remain independent of God and to continue in his own way with his own interests and ambitions and pleasures. He is too proud to acknowledge himself as the worthless, Hell-deserving sinner that he is and thus unconsciously aligns himself with those other self-righteous, religious, intelligent, unbelieving people whom God permitted to reject and crucify His Son two thousand years ago.
Basically, Dr. Morris’ one answer can be boiled down to two answers. First, God’s love demands that He send lost sinners to Hell. As Dr. Morris pointed out, God loves people too much to force them into Heaven against their will, and those who loved sin on earth more than they loved God wouldn’t be happy in Heaven anyway. I would add in that those who defiantly resisted submitting to the Lordship of Jesus in life certainly wouldn’t want to spend eternity under that Lordship. That would be too great a violation of their willful independence.
Second, God’s holiness demands that He send lost sinners to Hell. The scriptures that speak of how holy God is are far too many to list, but you can read Isaiah 6:1-5, Habakkuk 1:13, and Revelation 4:8 to get you started. Unfortunately, God’s holiness raises an eternal problem for us humans because we are all sinners. We are conceived with and born with the nature of sin (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-3), and this nature of sin compels us to commit acts of sin (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:11-18). Each and every one of these acts must be forgiven before God’s holiness can allow Him to let us into Heaven, and that forgiveness can only be found in Jesus Christ.