Last week, I was asked a question, “Why would an all-loving God send anyone to hell?’ Then, a couple of days later, my son also asked me why God sends people to hell. I had to give an answer. How do you explain this to a 9 year old? So I started with who God is, at least in the best way I can explain it.
It really comes down to understanding a few things about God and His nature.
God is love. We know that. In the bible it says “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8. God is also just and righteous.
Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.
Psalm 71:19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
God is not just a big ball of love. He is a multi-faceted God. He is gracious, merciful, just, righteous, creative, all-knowing, all-powerful, expansive, peaceful, wrathful, and the list can go on. If you read the Bible at all, you will be able to find many descriptions of him: Prince of Peace, Alpha and Omega, Salvation, Righteousness, Father, Holy, etc.
This tells me that God is not just defined as love.
Because God is righteous, sin cannot enter or stand before Him. Many stories in the Old Testament are there to demonstrate that sin was unacceptable to a Holy God. Revelations 21:27 states “and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
The fact that sin and unrighteousness is contrary to God is the very reason He sent Jesus to be the redeemer of our souls. Jesus came so we can be cleansed of our sin and be able to know God.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Sin separates us and takes us from God. God created us to be loved and love Him in return. He created humans as pure and clean. There was no sin in the very beginning. God would come and commune and talk with Adam and Eve in the garden. Once sin entered the picture, that bond was broken. That communion was broken. Jesus gives us a way to enter back into the communion rGod intended in the first place. God intended us to be able to relate to Him, commune with Him and be with Him. He did not want sin here, but he gave humans a free will and a free choice to choose Him.
I explained to my son that God is not willing for anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). I explained that God does not want anyone to go to hell. That is not what he intended. However, because of sin we are condemned to Hell since sin cannot enter into heaven. Sin cannot stand or enter into the holy presence of God. Unrighteousness cannot stand before a Righteous God. God gave us a choice to choose because of His love for us. He wants us to choose Him. He sent His Son Jesus in the ultimate sacrifice of love to redeem us from our sins. He wants us to choose Him. I told me son that basically, we make a choice for heaven or hell. We choose for ourselves. God set forth to save us but he does not force us. He gave us a way of escape and a way to return to Him and enjoy His presence for eternity, but when we refuse Christ, we actually choose to send our souls to eternal damnation in hell. We choose hell when we reject Christ.
My son in his 9 year old wisdom said, “Oh, so people do it to themselves, that must make God sad.”
Yes, it does. I know God is going to judge every soul. Every human soul will stand before God and He will look for that one important thing, Did we accept Jesus and His sacrifice? Did we understand that His love called us back to Him and offered a way to walk in the true purpose for which we were intended? Those who did not choose Jesus have ultimately tied His hands. He must judge and condemn. There is no way of escape at that point. He isn’t going to change His rules or change the law. His Word is set and His law is eternal. We make a choice on this earth that determines our eternal destination. My 9 year old gets it. So many adults on this earth try to deny it, reason it out, explain it away and even change it. The truth is still there and there is no escaping eternity. I think that is why Joshua said “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.
Choose you today whom you will serve for it will determine your choice of eternity in heaven or hell.