How can there be a hell if God is love?

Question: I have a friend I work with who told me that she doesn’t believe in hell. She said that God is love and God is everywhere so how can there be a hell? She attends a Unity Church here in town and said they do not preach if you died today do you know where you would go. She said if this earth were all there was, she would be fine with it because she wouldn’t know anything else. What do you think about this?

Answer: I think she is not doing justice to her own internal sense of justice. When she sees someone has used a child for pornographic purposes, abusing them sexually and videoing it for financial gain, what does she think love should do? I think she is not doing justice to her own internal sense that this world is not enough and that deep down she desires something better, because we were made for perfection. I think she is not doing justice to her sense of her own sinfulness, to her own capacity to do evil. Where did this come from? Did God create us this way or did we rebel from His original intent? If we rebelled, then what is the penalty for such rebellion? Does He just say, “Ah, it’s okay. I forgive you.” Then He is not very just Himself. And consequently, He is not very loving, because He lets people who have done unspeakable evil get away with hurting people who did not deserve to be hurt.

Paul says, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God” (Romans 11:22). You are not a whole person if you do not possess both attributes. There are things worth getting mad about, and certainly things worth demonstrating kindness about. But if you are only one or the other you are neither emotionally healthy nor loving. Why would we expect God to be only one or the other?

Randall Johnson

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