Post Author: Bill Pratt
Hell is an important doctrine of Christianity that seems to dismay many Christians and non-Christians, alike. In a recent blog post, I recounted an example of a woman who is deeply disturbed by the existence of hell. There is no way to give an exhaustive treatment of this subject in a blog post, but I wanted to make an attempt to answer a few basic questions about hell.
Question 1: Does God send people to hell without their choice?
Answer 1: No. Those who go to hell after they die have made conscious decisions to reject the knowledge, the light, of God they’ve been given while alive.
Question 2: Do those in hell seek to escape once there?
Answer 2: No. Hell is what they want, a place where they can be away from God and follow their own desires. They may not like aspects of hell, but they would prefer to reign in hell than submit in heaven.
Question 3: Does God torture those in hell?
Answer 3: No. If we are thinking of God inflicting physical torture, like a prison camp warden, the answer is “no.” The torment that those in hell feel is the absence of a relationship with God. Since all humans were made for this relationship, than those without it will certainly suffer. This torment will be terrible, and nothing that anyone wants to experience, but those in hell desire something something that it is impossible for God to give – happiness without Him.
Question 4: Is there any chance that people in hell will repent?
Answer 4: No. The door of hell is locked on the inside. God knows each human heart through and through, and He knows that those in hell will never repent regardless of how much they are evangelized. Hell is where God confirms the choices of those people who reject Him, a rejection that they will maintain forever.
Question 5: Is it fair for those in hell to be there forever?
Answer 5: Yes. Remember, they will actively reject God forever, so their separation from God must also last forever.
Question 6: Is hell a punishment for those in it?
Answer 6: Yes. In the sense that the people in hell are there because of their sinful actions, it is a punishment. They are given what they deserve for their actions.
Question 7: Can those in hell be rehabilitated?
Answer 7: No. Because they will never repent of their rejection of God, they cannot be rehabilitated.
Question 8: Will God send anyone to hell who doesn’t deserve to be there?
Answer 8: No. God is the ultimate standard of justice, so it is impossible for God to do anything unjust. It would be the ultimate injustice for God to send someone to hell who would freely love him, so those who are in hell are justifiably there. No mistakes are made.
I know that this brief Q and A only scratches the surface, but these are some of the most common questions I’ve seen. I hope that they are helpful to you.