Tough Questions Answered

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Would God Let Hitler in Heaven?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

adolf hitler portrait Would God Let Hitler in Heaven?I find that many non-believers are hopelessly confused about salvation by God’s grace.  This confusion was amply illustrated the other day on an Unbelievable? podcast when the atheist debater challenged the Christian debater with the following: “Isn’t it true that the Christian God would have allowed Hitler into heaven if he had repented and trusted in Christ on his deathbed?”

The  atheist questioner clearly believed that Hitler, based on his numerous evil deeds (I still don’t understand how atheists can say that Hitler did anything objectively evil, but that’s another issue altogether), did not deserve to be accepted by God, and the fact that the Christian God would accept Hitler under any circumstances was simply unacceptable.   He (the atheist) could never believe in a God that would let Hitler into heaven because justice would be denied if this were to occur.

One can sympathize with this point of view if we are dealing with the God of Islam, who weighs everyone’s good deeds and bad deeds on a scale to determine where they will spend the afterlife.  It is hard to imagine that Hitler could ever get into heaven under that system, but that is not how the God of Christianity works.

The Christian debater correctly pointed out that nobody deserves to be accepted by God, but that through Christ’s work on the cross, God will accept those who have placed their trust in what Christ did for them.  God will apply Christ’s atoning sacrifice to every person who desires it by dedicating themselves to their Savior.  Christ paid the penalty for all of mankind’s sins, including Hitler’s.  If Hitler had truly repented and trusted in Christ before he died, like the thief on the cross, he would have been welcomed into paradise by God.  There is no reason to believe that he ever did this, so this is a purely hypothetical exercise meant to illustrate a point.

That is why Christians are always talking about the grace of God.  God offers us eternity with him, but only because of Christ.  God knows that if a scale of justice were applied, every single one of us would be condemned for our thoughts and our deeds.  According to the Bible and to anyone who has really looked within their soul, we are a million miles away from the goodness that God expects of us.  The scale, after all, is calibrated to weigh our deeds against the standard of the righteousness of God.  Does anyone really believe they can stand before God on their own merit?

I thank God that I will never have to, and if you’ve trusted Christ, neither will you.


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Comments

  • Andrew Ryan

    “…the atheist debater challenged the Christian debater with the following: “Isn’t it true that the Christian God would have allowed Hitler into heaven if he had repented and trusted in Christ on his deathbed?””

    And your answer is:

    “If Hitler had truly repented and trusted in Christ before he died, like the thief on the cross, he would have been welcomed into paradise by God”

    So the answer to the atheist’s question was ‘Yes, he would’. In what way was he ‘hopelessly confused?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this is not a “gotcha” question. As far as the fundamentalist is concerned, Hitler *is* in Heaven, gleefully giggling while Jews burn for all eternity.

  • Just Sayin’

    This is an extreme example of God’s mercy. The correct — truthful — response is not to deny the charge but to offer it as a catechetical moment in the form of an ad hominem.

    “We are charged to ‘Repent, and believe,’ and only final impenitence is unforgivable. Not even Hitler is beyond God’s mercy unless Hitler willed it. Are your sins so bad that you are beyond God’s grace?”

    These are not perplexing questions if you douse them with truth. They are only perplexing questions if you fight that fire with fire, posing and posturing and twisting the meaning of words to win a debate like a sophist.

  • Pingback: Do not put limits on the mercy of God « Prodigal No More()

  • Todd

    (I still don’t understand how atheists can say that Hitler did anything objectively evil, but that’s another issue altogether)

  • Todd

    Sorry, new format. Let’s try again: (I still don’t understand how atheists can say that Hitler did anything objectively evil, but that’s another issue altogether) – you should put up a post looking at this question. I will make an assumption that you think there is no objective good or evil (based on other posts as well). This seems contrary to my assertion that science can objectively decide what is best for the well being of humanity (or possibly define it as morality).

  • Boz

    Would God Let Hitler in Heaven?

    Yes.

    (A saving of 440 words)

  • Anonymous

    Todd, I do believe there is objective good and evil. I think I addressed your idea that science can decide morality on another comment thread. (can’t remember right now)

  • Jeremy

    I think many people assume that the evil person (insert Hitler or Pol Pot or whomever) is just paying lip service and that God just gives him a free pass. When a person truly repents, there is a regeneration through the Spirit and the person is new in Christ. This isn’t the same person. A magical incantation of “I believe” with no intent of the heart means nothing and this is what I think a lot of people miss and that a person can do whatever atrocious things they want, predict the future and know when they die, and simply plan for that lip service to take place a minute before then. For those who still cry “Unfair”! I ask what basis do they have to make that claim if they don’t believe in objective morality.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Jeremy, if you’re happy to state that a repentant Hitler would end up in paradise while the millions he murdered may well be burning in hell, just come out and say it.

    More importantly though, the ‘you don’t believe in Objective Morality’ get out of an argument free card just doesn’t work. It has no credibility philosophically. I’ve never seen a Christian playing that card manage to explain what makes their morality any more ‘objective’ than anyone else’s. You’ve got to start with an assumption that the ‘law giver’ has the authority to give the laws, and the source of that authority seems to be Himself. Anyone can grant themselves authority!

  • Jeremy

    “It has no credibility philosophically.”– I think Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame) has successfully granted it credibility but perhaps his credentials don’t agree with your sense of a credible philosopher’s, I really can’t say. Many other Christian philosophers have solid arguments for it as well such as Richard Swinburne (Oxford) as well as Alistair McGrath (Oxford…but I’m willing to scratch him out…he is a theologian). And before you possibly toss them out for being some sort of stripe of biased Christians, don’t fall into the Genetic Fallacy trap. You still haven’t answered how you would base your morality. Utilitarianism? Hopefully, you know that this is a slippery slope. Continuing to smuggle objective moral beliefs in an atheistic system is a bit sneaky since no one in this system likes to own up to it. They seem to get upset until it is my turn to treat @ Starbucks. (At least one made the usual claim “You thinks atheists are less moral than Christians…well that is %^&*!!” which is the usual case in missing the point entirely. I will give you the last word. Thanks for listening and your reply and have a good rest of the week.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Yes, I don’t think Alvin Plantinga has much credibility, not since his woeful argument against naturalistic evolution. The philosopher who got there first was Plato. Euthryphro’s dilemma is what they all smack their heads on. You tell me what you base your morality on, without doing the smuggling you accuse the atheists of, and then we can talk.

  • Waltbowles

    I think a man answered this subject. He said, many things. Few listen only some here. Of course Hitler went to heaven, if..

    He believed in John 5 24

  • johngilbert

    Hitler committed suicide after having millions killed since he was more afraid of falling into the hands of men than into the hands of God. See: Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:4-5

  • WD-40

    I find this very concerning, Hitler who broke about all of the 10 commandments, sent people straight into the gas chamber has supposedly done no objective evil?? God absolutely hated this guy, you can read in Psalms 11:5 that God hates people who love violence. 1 John 3:15 ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. According to Jesus, the Jews should have loved Hitler (love thy enemy) and say “please Mr Hitler, throw me into the gas chamber, I love you so much”. Yeah right, that’s going to happen. The statement that God would love to sit side-by-side to Hitler in Heaven is just outrageous.

  • Atheist by Logic

    Basically, the Christian doctrine allows me to do whatever I please without the fear of punishment in the afterlife, as long as I “accept Jesus.” I find it hypocritical of you to suggest that nonbelievers have no objective morality when there is seemingly no reason to abide by the “morals” (if you can call them that) of Christianity as long as this loophole exists.

  • Atheist by Logic

    I do not wish to go to a place that would accept Hitler lovingly.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    “Accepting Jesus,” as you put it, requires that a person understand that they are sinful and separated from God, that they genuinely repent for their sins, that they ask God for forgiveness, that they believe Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead, and only his death and resurrection can possibly reunite them with God.

    In other words, it is a radical transformation of the human will. You make it sound as if a person could lead a wicked life and then one day, out of the blue, decide to “accept Jesus” in the same way they might decide to start rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers instead of the Miami Dolphins. That is a gross misunderstanding of what this transformation is like.

    To call it a loophole is to completely trivialize the kind of life-changing transformation that occurs in each person who “accepts Jesus.”

  • Alex

    Bill seems to have forgotten Saul of Tarsus’ “out of the blue” conversion. Sure, it is only one example, but what an example! Also, what is there, some kind of conversion continuum? I think that the very idea of conversion at least includes sudden change, if not hinges on it.

    Also, let’s get back to Euthyphro(ish). Do people accept Christ because they are first transformed? Or, are the transformed because they have first accepted Christ? If it is the former, then the acceptance of Christ is not necessary for transformation. If it is the latter then people can accept Christ who have not been transformed at all.

  • Benjamin Kennard

    If heaven truly was a ‘paradise’, then a good God would accept and allow all into it. Also, all would be ascended, and as such Earth would remain unpopulated. A good God would wish the best for his people, would he not? And, in a true “paradise”, there would be no pain, neither mental or physical, so ‘dangerous’ humans could not hurt others. Not only that, any reason for hurting others would be gone anyway (whether it was pleasure, duty or mental illness on Earth), so no-one would wish harm on another anyway. Of course, the Bible’s heaven is nothing like this, where all are eternally forced to worship a deity who will otherwise subject you to eternal torment.

  • Sioraf as Na Cillini

    “Does anyone really believe that they can stand before God on their own merit?” You have heard of Catholicism right?
    Psalm 15: A Psalm of David. O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. (NASB)
    Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
    Matthew 5:48 (part of the Expounding of the Law within the Sermon on the Mount): “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
    Matthew 7:21 (part of the Sermon on the Mount): “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
    Matthew 7:24-27 (part of the Sermon on the Mount): “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
    Matthew 12:36-37: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
    Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”
    Matthew 19:16-21: “And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”
    Matthew 24:10-20 : “Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
    Matthew 25:31-46 : “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
    Matthew 28:19-20a (part of the Great Commission): “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
    Luke 8:21: “But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’ ”
    Luke 10:25-28: “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.'”
    John 5:29: “And will come out, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
    Acts 26:20: “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
    Romans 2:6,7; 13: “For he will repay according to each one’s deeds. To those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; for it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified.”
    Romans 2:16: “on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.”
    Galatians 6:7b-9: “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
    1 Corinthians 7: 19: “Circumcision means nothing and uncircumicsion means nothing; what matters is keeping God’s commandments.”
    1 Corinthians 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
    1 Corinthians 13:2-3: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
    1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
    2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done is his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
    Philippians 2:12b-13: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, For God is one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.”
    1 Timothy 4:16: “Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”
    1 Timothy 6:18-19: “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
    Hebrews 10:24: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
    James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
    James 2 (excerpts): “… What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? … Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? … Ye see then how that by works a man is justified.”
    James 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
    1 Peter 1:17: “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning.”
    1 Peter 2:12: “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
    1 John 2:3-7: “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.”
    1 John 3:17-18: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
    Revelation 2:23: “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”
    Revelation 14:12-13: “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them.’”
    Revelation 20:13: “All the dead were judged according to their deeds.”
    Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds.”

  • Sioraf as Na Cillini

    If by Christian you mean Protestant. That’s certainly not Catholic teaching, free will v sola fide is the biggest debate between Catholics and Protestants.

  • Teresa Rincon

    I would submit another possibility – that God fore knew that Hitler was never going to repent, and therefore gave him over to his unrestrained evil nature.

  • Kareen Joy Oliva

    Yes I agree with God’ grace however we all know that Hitler together with his wife committed suicide and I do believe suicide is not acceptable by God.

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