This blog post is written from my notes of a sermon by Robert Morris , senior pastor at Gateway Church (with my added conclusion). To view the full sermon, click on the link at the end of this post.
Why would a loving God send someone to hell? Why did God even create hell? Why did God put 2 trees in the garden? Why did God even give Adam and Eve a choice? — You can’t accurately answer any difficult question about God without making sure it’s congruent with His nature and His character. We can know His nature and character through Scripture. If it doesn’t line up with “God is good” or “God is love”, then our interpretation is wrong. So, let’s start with that.
God is sovereign. This doesn’t mean He can do anything He wants to. “Sovereign” means He is the supreme ruler of the universe. He can’t act outside of His character. God is truth, therefore He can’t lie. God is love, so everything I understand about His character must line up with him being the nature of love.
God is good. God isn’t good because He does what’s good. He does what’s good because He is good. Psalm 119:68 (speaking of God) “You are good, and do good. Teach me Your statutes.” In the Hebrew Bible the order in which things are written is significant. If it says, “you are good” before it says “and do good” that means that He was first good, and therefore He does good.
Moses asked God to see His glory. Glory (or manifestation) is what you’re famous for. It’s what people can see about you; what they know you for. In modern layman’s terms Moses was saying, “Show me what you’re famous for. Show me what you do best.” In Exodus 33:19 we see God’s answer: “I’ll make My goodness pass before you …” i.e. “I’m famous for being good. That’s what I’m known for.”
Sometimes we read something in the Bible and we think it sounds like God is being harsh or hostile. E.g.: When Adam and Eve sinned, God drove them out of the garden. And He gave them a reason why He did it. If you understand that God is good, then you’ll understand why He drove them out.
Genesis 3:22-24 reads, “22 Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever — ‘ 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man and placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
In verse 22 the sentence stops midway. Why? Not because God was angry – God is good! He was saying, “Adam and Eve are now in a fallen state. They are now separated from Me. If they eat from the tree of life now they will live forever in a fallen state, separated from Me. Get them out! Get them out right now and put a flaming sword there so they don’t eat from it in a fallen state, because they’ll live forever separated from Us.” That’s God’s goodness. But you won’t pick that up if you don’t have it rooted in you that God is a good God. In fact, in the book of Revelation it tells us 3 times that the tree of life is in Heaven, and you can eat from it freely as much as you like because in Heaven you’re in a redeemed state. And he’s OK with you eating from it in a redeemed state. But He doesn’t want you to eat from it in a fallen state. He doesn’t want you to stay fallen.
God is just. Isaiah 45:21b “There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides Me.” It wouldn’t be just for God to want some of us to go to Heaven and some of us to go to hell. That’s not justice. How could a just, loving God send someone to hell? Would God send someone to hell who’s never had a chance, never heard the Gospel?
Romans 1:18-20 “18 The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
God makes Himself known. How? He manifests Himself to every person on the inside, because we all have a conscience.He manifests Himself on the outside, because we have creation. Conscience and creation. Your conscience tells you there’s a God. Creation tells you there’s a God. Why would God create a universe this big, except that He would want us to look up and say, “There’s got to be a God!” Some people say that that takes a leap of faith. But atheists say that nothing collided with nothing (a big bang just happened) and all of this came into being – That’s a leap of faith! It is called the Big Bang Theory — theory.
God put eternity in everyone’s heart. No person can ever say, “No one told me.” Here’s why: Because God can say, “I told you. I came to you when you were a child and I put it in your heart to wonder about me.”
Every person who seeks after God will find Him. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Matthew 7:7-8 “7 Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Acts 17:26-27 “26 He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”
God is love. 1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” So, why would this God who is love send anyone to hell? Why did He even create hell? God didn’t create hell for people. He created it for the devil and his demons. Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire built for the devil and his angels.’ ” He prepared Heaven for you. But men became evil. Isaiah 5:11-14 “11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them! … 12 But they do not regard the work of the Lord, not consider the operation of His hands … 14 Therefore Sheol (hell) has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure … ” Hell enlarged itself to accommodate people who are evil. God didn’t do it. Hell was enlarged (by the devil) by necessity, not by design. God designed it for the devil and his demons. The devil enlarged it to accommodate evil men who follow after him.
There are 3 major stories of the rejection of God in the Bible:
#1. Lucifer rejected God. He was the worship leader in Heaven. He led one third of the angels to rebel against God. They had it good, but they still rebelled.
Isaiah 14:12-15 “12 How you are fallen from Heaven, o Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend into Heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most high.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Also read: Ezekiel 28:12-17 & Revelation 12:7-10.
#2. Adam and Eve rejected God. They had everything perfect, yet they rebelled against God. Read Genesis 3.
#3. Jesus, God’s Son, was rejected. He did nothing but good – healed, taught, raised the dead, loved people – yet He was tortured to death.
So, why would a loving God send anyone to hell? He wouldn’t. People send themselves to hell. If you are one of those people and you want to fix that, what can you do? You can come to Him now. He will never refuse you. He wants to heal you, teach you, love on you, restore you, and give you a purpose and passion for life. The Bible teaches us in Romans 10:13 that whoever calls on His name will be saved. You don’t have to be destined for hell. Heaven can be your destination. If you have made the decision to come to Him, then just tell Him with this simple prayer: “Lord Jesus, come into my heart and forgive me of all my sins. Thank you for saving me. Lead me. Show me the way to go. Amen.” Now get in touch with Gateway Church and tell them about the decision you have just made here.
Gateway Church: https://gatewaypeople.com/
Watch the full sermon by Ps Robert via the website here: https://gatewaypeople.com/series/the-end-what-happens-next?sermon=a-tough-question
Or watch it on Youtube here: