How Does Hell Fit In the All-Loving God’s Plan?
If you are here for the first time, welcome!
Today, we’ll talk about hell. Oh!
Yeah, I know it’s a psychologically frightening concept, that is, if you think about your butt burning in a fiery pit forever.
But, honestly, I’ve never really understood why this subject disturbs most people so much? Are they afraid of the possibility of being boiled alive or being repeatedly smashed to tiny pieces by a mighty hammer?
A realization just hit me: no one likes to talk or even think about death and hell, but times come when you have little choice but to laugh it off. That reminds me of a recent conversation I had with a good friend of mine.
“I just don’t get you. You talk a lot about the love of God and you go on telling me how that same “loving” God could send people to hell. What kind of God is he? Sending people to a place of eternal torment? He sounds like a moral monster?”
Let’s take a look!
What Is Hell?
Before going in-depth with this potentially explosive question, let us establish and understand the concept of hell itself.
Most of us have grown up, picturing hell as a place excluded from the presence of God and good things and one where your soul would walk in the path of eternal misery and pure terror. A pretty thorny subject, isn’t it?
All of the above is indeed right and this concept of hell is present in many ancient and even modern religions.
If you take Judaism, hell takes the form of Sheol, a miserable, dark and desolated place below, where unbelievers will face their punishment.
Buddhist cosmology recognizes the existence of 31 realms, where 25 of them are known as “god” realms, in other words, and “heavens” while the remaining ones are qualified as “hell.”
However, the idea of hell consists of a realm with 16 divisions, one known as the Arbuda – realm for freezing the skin or Tapana – the realm of scorching heat while you are pierced by spears.
The doctrine of hell in Islam is referred as Jahannam, an abyss of demons that torment sinners. Again, made up of different sections and divisions, it is a valley of the “real” death that flows a stream of boiling fire to torment the wicked and also a place filled with enormous snakes to devour sinners.
The Hindu equivalent of hell is known as Naraka and that’s where all sinners are tormented after their initial death. The place blooms with valleys of terror and rivers of filth. It is also the abode of Yama, the god of death.
The Bible associates hell with the Last Judgement, where God will reward the faithful and punish the wicked.
But, the question that keeps on playing in the minds of some is: how can a loving God send people to hell?
Is God Really Loving?
I think it is the recent crisis and our constant fear that makes the idea of God’s love seem alien to us.
First things first, God is indeed very loving and his compassion for us goes even beyond human understanding.
In the context of Christianity, if God didn’t love His children, would He have sent His only son to die on the cross for us?
But, then why are Christians still talking about hell and eternal damnation?
Just because God loves you doesn’t mean He’ll love everything. You cannot picture things like murder, adultery, lies, selfishness and jealousy being part of His heavenly realm.
Now, there’s also something called justice.
Imagine a person who’s so deeply entrenched in hatred and evilness that he ends up taking the lives of several innocent people. It’s hard to admit but God loves the murderer as much as He loves the victims. But this alone is not enough for God to ignore this evil act.
Think about crime and order in our society. When we hear villainous acts such as Ted Bundy’s brutal crimes, we rush to defend and protect our women and children from such people that inspire our fury. Our anger at such cruelty is all poured out when we fight for and demand strict punishment and even capital punishment. The same goes for the doctrine of hell.
For a sense of justice to prevail, the wicked, unrighteous and cruel should not be allowed in the perfect kingdom of God and should be punished for their wrongdoings.
Now, I guess not many of us now have a problem with the concept of people going through eternal suffering. However, somewhere it leaves us again with a question and some doubts.
None of us are perfect, meaning we all run the risk of committing deeds that deserve punishment. But, if you think about it, if God is the creator of hell, but loves us, can He not flip things around so as none of us has to go to hell? In other words, can’t the all-powerful God make a miracle and do not let one of His child to experience the doctrine of eternal punishment?