How Could A Loving God Send People To Hell?

Confronting Christianity – Part 12

How Could a Loving God Send People to Hell? 

Crosspoint – Dave Spooner – Nov. 20th, 2022



  • This morning is our last installment of our series, and I hope it has been helpful to you as we have covered some significant ground and important subjects over the last twelve weeks. I am grateful for the work of Dr. Rebecca Mclaughlin, who has helped guide us in forming a biblical and Christian response to the “12 hard questions for the world’s largest religion” through her book, Confronting Christianity. I am glad that so many of you have invested in this resource for yourself and others.
  • The question of “how could a loving God send people to hell?” is an important question, and I would venture to say that it is the most important question we have covered so far because it deals with the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and the nature of eternity. These things together drive us into the heart of the Gospel, leading to a choice of placing our trust in Christ. So let’s look at these three points together. The first being the divine nature of God.

The divine nature of God

  • This question is based upon a faulty and incomplete understanding of love and the nature of God.
  • This question assumes that it is unloving of God to hold people accountable for their intentions and actions. I think the exact opposite is true; it is because God loves that He holds people accountable for their intentions and actions. For example, scripture says that “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son(Heb 12:6 NIV). Because God loves us, He disciplines and punishes us because of our actions and behaviors so that we learn to become and do what is right and good and loving. We see God doing this with His people all throughout scripture, and we see Jesus doing this with His disciples and the church. This is true in our own families. It is because I love my children that I disciplined them to help them shape their minds and character to become what is good and right.
  • The next thing to consider when it comes to love is, how loving would it be for God to allow those who have chosen to abuse others to go free? Would this be a loving act to those who have been victimized? Because of love for both the victim and the victimizer, one must be held accountable for their actions. And if someone persists in doing what is wrong and evil, greater and greater punishment will be given. Scripture makes it clear:

Rom 2:6-11 ESV

He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

  • This is done out of and because of love, so those who think love means that you don’t deal with sin and misbehavior misunderstand the nature of love.
  • Stating that “God is love” or “God is loving” is a true statement, and it is important to understand what this means. But when it is given as what God is, it is incomplete and, therefore, inaccurate. The nature of God is many things, and He is not one thing more than another. On the last page of your notes, there is a list of the many things that are true about God according to scripture. For example, God is a consuming fire, and God is a righteous judge, God is mighty, God is a rock of refuge, God is holy, God is righteous, God is truthful, God is for us, God is faithful, and God is just. He is not one thing more than other things. He is all these things. God is powerful and right and true all at once. He is divine, and He is perfect. To say that God is love in exclusion of all His other attributes is wrong and a misrepresentation of who He is.
  • Next, we need to have a biblical understanding of people.

The fallen nature of humanity

  • When God created humanity, He called it “very good.” We were innocent and free of sin. Because love is not love if it is not chosen, God gave the crown of His creation the choice to love Him by knowing Him, honoring Him, and trusting Him as good and right and worthy of our love.
  • We, collectively in Adam and Eve, choose to exchange the truth of God for a lie, and have been put under a curse because of this choice. Then we personally, in turn, make the same choice because of our fallen nature. Paul states it this way:

Rom 1:21-23 ESV

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

  • The basis of our sin is that in our futile thinking and with foolish hearts, we exchange the glory of God for something else. We would rather have something else other than God. We value other things more than God and “exchange” Him for something else. This is why Jesus exclaimed that if you love anything more than Him, you are not worthy of Him (Matt. 10:37-38). We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and no one is righteous, not even one (Rom. 3:10-18). Jesus said that “no one is good, except God alone” (Luke 10:18).
  • Those who ask the question, “how could a loving God send people to hell” have an overinflated opinion of humanity’s righteousness and goodness. The better question is, “how could a holy God admit anyone into heaven?” And to this question, Jesus responds, “I am the way” (John 14:6).

2 Cor 5:21 NIV

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Rom 5:8 HCSB

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

  • God displayed His great love for us by taking the punishment of our sins on Himself so that we would become the righteousness of God. Those who put their faith in Him will receive eternal life. If we are in Him, we have life, and outside of Him, there is no life, only the pending judgment to come.

The assured nature of eternity

  • Here is what scriptures reveal about what happens after you die.

Heb 9:27-28 ESV

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

2 Cor 5:10 ESV

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 

  • This is the reality of what is going to happen. There is no getting around it, and there is no misrepresentation of the truth or corruption in the judge. That day matters more than every day, and every day matters on that day. Martin Luther, the great church reformer, lived his life in light of this reality. He said, “There are only two days on my calendar: Today and that Day” (Woodrow Kroll, Facing your final job review 61).
  • Jesus talked more about both heaven and hell than any other person in the Bible. He described both heaven and hell as a place. Jesus said that He came from heaven (John 3:13), and to heaven He ascended. He will return from heaven to save those eagerly waiting for him (Acts 1:11, Heb. 9:28, John 14:3). Whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). And for those who exchange the glory of God for something else, those who refuse to repent of their sins and deliberately keep on sinning, all that is left is a “fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” of God (Heb 10:27 ESV).

John 3:36 ESV

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.


  • Take time to consider right now, in light of what has been presented today, to evaluate your life and your heart. If you are in Christ, rejoice in what He has done for you and give Him praise and glory as you continue to live in Him and for Him as your highest treasure.
  • If you have not given your life to Christ, you are still in your sin. Give your heart to Christ today and receive the newness of life and life eternal.