Why Would A Loving God Create A Place Like Hell?

When Rob Bell released his book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, he capitalized on the historic controversy surrounding the existence and nature of hell. Critics of Christianity have cited the hell’s existence as evidence against the loving nature of God, and Christians have sometimes struggled to respond to the objection. Why would a loving God create a place like Hell? Wouldn’t a God who would send people to a place of eternal punishment and torment be considered unloving by definition?

The God of the Bible is described as loving, gracious and merciful (this can be seen in many places, including 1 John 4:8-9, Exodus 33:19, 1 Peter 2:1-3, Exodus 34:6 and James 5:11). The Bible also describes God as holy and just, hating sin and punishing sinners (as seen in Psalm 77:13, Nehemiah 9:33, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, Psalms 5:5-6, and Matthew 25:45-46). It’s this apparent paradox reveals something about the nature of love and the necessity of Hell:

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Are Evil Forces at Work In The World?

The Conjuring Possesses the Mind With Deep Theologial Questions

When I was 12 years old, my parents bought a house that was constructed around 1900. It was an old two-story house with creaky floors and squeaky pipes; the kind of house one might assume to be haunted. Shortly after moving in, while sitting alone in one of the upstairs bedrooms, I threw a quick glance towards the door just in time to catch a figure moving out of view down the hallway. Wondering who it was, I got up and followed, only to find the corridor and subsequent rooms that branched off it to be empty.

Certain I had just had an encounter with the paranormal, I shared my experience with my family and friends. From that day on, every settling of the house, howling of the wind, or flickering of a light bulb took on a new significance. It wasn’t an old foundation, a shoddy window or faulty wiring; it was confirmation of the belief that we weren’t living in the house alone. It was a fun belief that added excitement to moments that would have otherwise been fairly mundane.
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Something Like Old Yeller

Okay, I admit it, I was pretty happy that the centerpiece of the current reign of terror was ushered into the netherworld. That it was at the hands of a Navy Seal, a well-placed missile or by falling down the stairs would not have made a whole lot of difference to me. I am just relieved to know that there is one less misguided mind plotting horrific acts of murder.

That he was eliminated does not trouble me a whole lot. Like C.S. Lewis, I subscribe to the principle of “just desserts”.

And I know that this confession will have a lot of my tenderhearted friends in the blogesphere howling in disbelief and digging around for scriptures to quote. “How can you possibly match Christ’s demand that we “love our enemies” with the action of unloading lead into their skull?” they shall ask.

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The Problem of Evil is Everyone's Problem

The Japan tsunami inevitably raises profound questions about God and evil.  But in this discussion, it is important to realize every worldview, not just Christianity, must explain evil.  Christians are often on the defense with regards to this objection, yet the tables can be turned on the atheist, with his naturalistic worldview in tow.  Given naturalism, what is evil and how does the atheist make sense of it?

Famous British philosopher and atheist Bertrand Russell once commented, "No one can believe in a good God if they've sat at the bedside of a dying child."  Now, I agree that sitting at the bedside of a dying child is a heart-wrenching situation not to be treated simplistically or in a cavalier manner.  Providing pat answers and quoting Romans 8:28 over and over will not suffice.  But what of Russell'sresponse?  What can the atheist say to the dying child?  Or to the Japanese parents whose child disappeared in the flood waters?

  •  "In the grand scheme of the universe your suffering is utterly meaningless--life and all that comes with it has no transcendent meaning or value."
  •  "Your suffering is completely pointless since there is no purpose to any of this anyway."
  •  "Fortunately, you will soon die and return to dust."
  • "Take heart, you will soon pop out of existence forever and your suffering will be over."
  • "Stuff like tsunamis just happen."
  • "Bummer."
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Amish Grace

“Did you see the movie on Lifetime about that woman?” – Zach Galifinakis

“Amish Grace” is a by the numbers made for TV movie based on the true story of a small Amish town that goes through an incomprehensibly painful experience.  The film centers on one couple within the Amish community who lose a family member and how they process their loss.  They spend the majority of the film asking themselves questions about God, forgiveness, and love through a conservative faith lens.

The film does not concern itself with the psychology of the killer or the actual act of violence he commits (nothing is actually shown, just talked about after it happens).  Instead, it is interested in how the people respond to the tragedy.  There are several methods of grieving that come into play – grief within the community, family, and the individual.  In each case, the film mainly focuses on an Amish wife (played well by Kimberly Williams Paisley – aka Steve Martin’s daughter in “Father of the Bride”) who loses her daughter, while also giving attention to the killer’s grieving wife.

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Live Debate With Sean McDowell and James Corbett

Here is Part 1 of the debate between Sean McDowell and James Corbett on the question, "Is God the Best Explanation for Moral Values?" To view Part 2, click on "continue reading."

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Does God have a purpose for evil and suffering?

We will be the first to admit that we don't have some kind of special insight into the mind of God and know why he allows evil and suffering. We just believe that as a holy, loving, all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing God, he does have his reasons for allowing evil--both human and natural evil--to exist in our world and inflict the suffering it does. Here are some possible purposes God may have for allowing evil and the suffering it produces. See if you identify with one of more of these.

Suffering Can Make Us Stronger

You've no doubt heard the expression, "No pain, no gain." We're not trying to trivialize the nature of pain and suffering, but there's truth in that slogan. Something about hardship, difficulty and pain can sometimes strengthen us. Suffering and setbacks can also bring us closer as families, friend and communities. Dare we say, in the wake of the earthquake in Haite and its horrible aftermath, the global community has come together in extraordianary ways to provide relief on a massive scale. There's an incredible amount of work yet to do, but there is hope that Haiti and its people will one day be stronger.

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