As a Christian you may have had someone ask you, or you may have been asked yourself, how a loving God could possibly ever send someone to hell. It’s a valid question to want to have answered. If the Bible says God is so loving, then surely he would never condemn someone to such a place.
However there are a lot of problems with the question itself, and with some logic and Biblical explanation the question clearly can be answered.
Firstly, we have to define what a loving God is. The phrase assumes that a “loving God” as a non-confrontational being who will tolerate anything someone does. However that is not the Biblical definition of what God’s love is. God does not tolerate sin, and in fact hates sins of murder.
According to 1 John 4:16 says that “God is love.” That means that God is the definition of love, and therefore cannot do anything that is unloving. This means that there is a fallacy in the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” This idea implies that people going to hell is due to an unloving act on God’s part. If a person decides that God is somehow wrong in to allow sinners to end up in hell, then they are saying that they are somehow more loving than God is. They imply that they are allowed to be the judge of God and His actions.
The second issue presents itself in the part of God sending that person to hell. It believes that God is the sole party responsible for the action of sending a person to hell. It removes all responsibility from the person themselves, and that they are simply a passive victim. It completely disregards the personal responsibility God has given to each of us. God has given humans the ability to be free and participate in their life and eternal destinations (John 3:16-18). God does not choose to send people to hell for no reason. The person chooses to live their life on earth in a certain way, and those actions will determine their outcome.
A better question overall would be, “If God is love, then why do some people go to hell?” It’s because they lack to accept Him.
The truth is that God doesn’t want any of us to go to hell. In our justice system, prison is commonly referred to as a last resort due to the hugely negative impact that it can have on all aspects of a person’s life. Like our justice system, God believes hell as a last resort. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God gives us countless chances to repent and ask for forgiveness of our sins, no matter what we have done.
If you find God’s punishment of hell to be too harsh, you might not be understanding how evil sin is. God is loving, which includes being perfectly just. God cannot let sin into His eternal kingdom, because sin is separation from all things good, holy and perfect. To let sin into heaven would be less than perfectly just.
When one consciously chooses to live contrary to God’s laws, rejecting His promptings to repentance, they themselves are choosing what the outcome of their life will be. God has taken the initiative to make His truth known to everyone, and history has proven that. Romans 1:20 says that “people are without excuse” when they do not choose to listen to God.
Jesus warned us more than anyone else of the terrible eternity we would spend there if we chose not to follow Him. God is so loving that He gave us a way to escape such a terrible fate and instead end up with Him in heaven. God wants each of His children to find Him so that He can forgive us of our sins.
God’s love was so strong that He gave us a pathway, through our Savior Jesus Christ, to Him. We just have to choose to accept that grace. Love can only be love if it is voluntary. God cannot force us to love Him back, or else we would purely be robots. We have to choose to accept His love too.