by Matt Slick
This question raises many issues. If God is all-loving, why would He send people to hell? What is hell? Is it a place of eternal torment? Why create creatures knowing they will end up in an eternity of damnation? Is God helpless to save them all?
Often times, skeptics try to present an idea so that fairness and compassion necessitate that the Christian God cannot be real. For example, they sometimes say that a truly loving God would not create people He knew would go to eternal punishment. Of course, this is only an opinion, but it is sometimes raised nonetheless. As one skeptic put it, "If God truly loves us (this sacrificial love you talk about) then He would simply say, 'I do not want the child to be born.' He is in control and has that ability, doesn't He? I would not wish any of my children, whom I love, to go through a life of agonizing pain." The main problem with such an approach is that it is overly simplistic and based on emotionalism, not scripture. So, let's look at what the Word of God says.
First of all, when God made Adam, He made him good. Adam had the freedom to choose to obey or disobey God. Adam is the one who rebelled. God did not make him rebel, and God is not responsible for Adam's rebellion. It would be like a parent having a child knowing that the child would eventually disobey the parent. Does this mean that the parent is responsible for the child's rebellion when it occurs because the parent knew it would happen? Of course not. Furthermore, if the parent has more children, does he/she not know that some children may very well turn out good and others bad? Should the parents then not have children because some of them might turn out bad? The skeptic, if he is consistent, would urge parents not to have any children at all lest some of them turn out bad.
The skeptic might say, "But God knows for a fact who will be bad and good. Why allow the people going to hell to be born in the first place?" But, if this is the case and if God arranged it that no "bad" people were born, then we would all go to hell. You see, Jesus is the only way to be forgiven of our sins. His sacrifice on the cross was necessary in order to make it possible for us to be saved because everyone, "good" and "bad" has sinned. If there were no "bad" people born, then there wouldn't be any "bad" people around who would have sent Jesus to the cross. If that never happened, then we wouldn't be saved from our sins because Jesus would never have been unjustly condemned and His sacrifice would never have happened.
Second, if someone says that it is wrong for God to allow someone to be born and who will go to hell, then would he rather have God remove our freedom to rebel against Him so that no one can be blamed for sin? If the critic says that he only wants those people born who go to heaven, then how are they truly free and how would that fulfill the ultimate plan of God to sacrifice His Son for the redemption of mankind?
Third, God could have reasons for sending people to hell that we cannot understand.
Fourth, God is just and always does what is right. Therefore, sending people to hell is the right thing to do, especially when we understand that God is eternally holy and those who sin against God incur an infinite offense because the infinite God is the one who is offended.
Finally, the Bible simply tells us that people will go to hell. They go there because they are not covered by the sacrifice of Christ. Whether they are created or not does not affect the fact that sinners must be punished. Otherwise, the holiness and righteousness of God mean nothing.