by Matt Slick
There is a sense in which heaven and hell can coexist and another sense in which they cannot. They can coexist at the same time though in different locations. But, they cannot coexist at the same time and in the same location.
Heaven is the dwelling place of God and hell will be the dwelling place of those who are lost. It would appear from scripture that they are in different locations. So, both of these can exist at the same time.
On the other hand, we could say that they cannot coexist by being in the same place at the same time. Since heaven is a dwelling place of God and we Christians will be there with him, it would not make sense to say that the unbelievers who have rejected God will also be with him. Therefore, we can conclude that heaven and hell could not coexist in the sense of being in the same place or even in the same region.
When we speak of their coexistence are we talking about a physical place in the universe? Is heaven in another dimension? Asking "where is heaven" can be difficult to answer and this can affect how we respond to our initial question.
Can God create both heaven and hell?
Some people say that God is all loving and could never create such a place as hell. But such an argument is sentimental, not logical. And, it unnecessarily restricts God to the definition of "all loving" and then implies that his "all loving" nature would not allow him to punish people forever. The problem is that it ignores that God is also just and must punish the sinner. If he did not, he would not be just. We could just as easily say that God is "all just" or that he is "all holy" and then define his motive and actions based on the single attribute that we elevate above other attributes. This would be wrong to do.