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Does God Send People to Hell?

Hell can be a tricky thought to reconcile so before getting started the book, "Two Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological Dialogue" by Edward Fudge and Robert Peterson may be useful. These two discuss the view they believe is proper on Hell and it may shed some light on the subject. Continuing, while there is some truth to humans choosing to send themselves to Hell, it is not entirely true. Our sin is not an isolated thing which only deals with us but like a sickness or a plague which spreads out into creation. Consequently, the creation, which is bound and under the sovereignty of God and his righteousness, belongs and responds to the Lord's command and the universe testifies against our sin as it groans for its freedom from the bondage of sin (Romans 8:22) as we do also. Our sin is a choice but not simply a choice on our end as if God has an option to respond to it. The nature of the Lord requires that he is the one who acts and removes the wickedness from world in judgement. With these thoughts in mind this post will discuss the following: How creation is the Lords and our sin effects the world thus requiring God to act, how our sin is an offense to God and he, being the supreme and sovereign authority, is required to act in the removal of sin from his holy presence, and finally how our decisions, though our own, are against the king and he has the final say paired with the Gospel call to repent and believe the Gospel.

Creation is God's and Our Sin Affects the World

The belief that creation belongs to the Lord is deeply rooted in the biblical understanding of God as the creator of the universe (Genesis 1:1). This belief is foundational to Christian theology and shapes the way believers view the world and their place in it. Additionally, the concept of sin and its impact on the world is a central theme in Christian thought, shaping the Christian understanding of human nature, the natural world, and the need for redemption. Creation to the Lord stems from the opening chapters of the Bible, specifically the Book of Genesis. In Genesis 1:1, it is stated, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." This simple yet profound declaration sets the stage for the entire biblical narrative, establishing God as the sole originator and sustainer of the cosmos. Throughout the creation account in Genesis, God speaks the world into existence, bringing order out of chaos and filling the earth with diverse forms of life. This narrative serves as the basis for understanding that the world and everything in it ultimately belong to God. The psalmist captures this sentiment in Psalm 24:1, declaring, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." This acknowledgment underscores the fundamental belief that the entirety of creation, from the grandeur of the cosmos to the intricacy of living organisms, is the handiwork of God and therefore belongs to Him. Furthermore, the belonging of creation to the Lord is not merely a theological abstraction but carries profound ethical implications. If the world is God's creation, then it follows that humans are called to steward and care for the earth and its inhabitants as a reflection of their relationship with the Creator. This concept is often referred to as "creation care" and is rooted in the understanding that the natural world is a sacred trust given by God to humanity, who are called to responsibly manage and protect it. In a sense humanity is middle management as God has called us to care for and tend to the world, he has given us with the specific task of using it for good and to glorify him. While we can directly take actions to destroy the earth, we can also indirectly do it through sin as sin has a negative effect on the whole world as seen from the fall of the whole creation from Adam and Eve’s sin. Creation, which is the Lord’s, in a sense, has been troubled by our sin. God’s moral law is interwoven into the fabrics of the universe and when we sin, we don’t just sin against the Lord apart from nature and his world. As one could say, the moral foundations of the cosmos are built up and held by the Lord himself, so we offend the Lord and his creation which results in an outpouring of himself and intentions for creation. For more information on this subject check out, "Against God and Nature: The Doctrine of Sin" by Thomas McCall and John Feinberg.

The Impact of Sin on the World

The Christian understanding of sin and its impact on the world is deeply intertwined with the narrative of the Fall in the Book of Genesis. According to the biblical account, Adam and Eve, the first human beings, disobeyed God's command and ate from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. This act of rebellion resulted in a rupture in the harmony of the created order, leading to the introduction of suffering, death, and moral corruption into the world. The Apostle Paul articulates the far-reaching consequences of sin in his letter to the Romans, stating, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12, ESV). This proves the effects of sin extend beyond individual moral failings and have cosmic implications. It introduces moral corruption, suffering, and brokenness into human relationships and the natural world. This disruption manifests in various forms, including conflict, injustice, environmental degradation, and the exploitation of resources. Sin distorts human nature, leading to selfishness, greed, and the mistreatment of others. It also impacts the physical world, contributing to disease, natural disasters, and the degradation of ecosystems. Sin is also a pervasive force that distorts the created order and separates humanity from God. The sense of community that once existed among the early communities of the biblical authors fails to be recognized today. Every is so familiar with the individual reality when the truth is our sin does more than affect us. The sin of two people in the garden set the whole world into a downward spiral. This cosmic impact of sin is often referred to as the "fallenness" of creation, signifying that the world, while still bearing the marks of God's original goodness, is now marred by moral and natural brokenness. With all these things happening from Sin God is required to act for man has not only done against his will but has taken part in effort of destroying his good creation. The Lord cannot let these things go as man makes the choice of his consequence for sin. God is a righteous judge and punishment is required for these actions.

Hell is Willful Separation From a Sovereign God

In Christian theology, the concept of hell is often understood as a state of eternal separation from God, where the absence of His presence results in the complete removal of all goodness and the experience of suffering and torment which naturally is left when the source of life, goodness, righteousness is absent. The doctrine of hell and God's sovereignty over it has been a subject of theological reflection and debate throughout the history of Christianity. The sovereignty of God over hell is a crucial aspect of Christian understanding, highlighting His ultimate authority and justice in determining the fate of individuals. Hell is what it is because God is present, and this is a troubling thought in the mind of most Christian it seems. God as judge, jury, executioner ensure that that worthy will be punished in accordance with their actions. While Hell is absent of all the life, joy, peace etc. God brings, it is very present with God’s judgment. God is a righteous judge and in his good judgement he ensures justice is brought fully to the wicked who refuse Christ. To understand Hell as the separation from God more thoroughly we can look to the teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament. In the Gospels, Jesus speaks of hell using imagery such as "outer darkness" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth," conveying the idea of a place of anguish and isolation from God's presence (Matthew 8:12, 22:13). Moreover, the apostle Paul writes about the fate of those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel, stating that they will suffer "destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thessalonians 1:9, ESV). The biblical portrayal of hell as separation from God emphasizes the profound spiritual and existential loss experienced by those consigned to it. In Christian thought, the presence of God is the source of all goodness, love, and life, and to be separated from Him is to be deprived of these essential qualities. As such, hell is often depicted as a place of profound spiritual emptiness, where individuals are cut off from the divine source of hope, joy, and fulfillment. Hell as separation from God serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of rejecting the offer of divine grace and salvation. It underscores the seriousness of moral choices and the eternal significance of one's relationship with God, prompting believers to reflect on the urgency of their spiritual commitments and the responsibility to share the message of hope and redemption with others.

God's Sovereignty Over Hell

God is the righteous judge who holds all creation accountable for its actions and decisions. The doctrine of God's sovereignty over hell underscores His role as the ultimate arbiter of justice and the guarantor of moral order in the universe. Without the Lord overseeing my creation and justice everything crumbles and as the saints will be sanctified to be like Christ (1 John 3:2) we will see the world and its sin as the Lord does rejoicing that it is brought to justice. The sovereignty of God over hell emphasizes the seriousness of sin and the demand for divine justice. God's righteousness and holiness require that sin be judged and that the consequences of rebellion against Him be addressed. As such, the doctrine of hell underscores the necessity of God's judgment as an expression of His perfect justice and moral rectitude. The sovereignty of God over hell is understood to be an affirmation of His absolute lordship over all aspects of creation, including the realm of the afterlife. God's sovereignty is not limited to the present world but extends to the eternal state of existence, ensuring that His divine purposes will ultimately be realized and that His will be done in all things bringing his kingdom to fullness and it realization across all of creation. God's sovereignty over hell also serves as a theological backdrop for the Christian understanding of redemption and salvation. By acknowledging God's ultimate authority over the fate of individuals, believers are prompted to trust in His wisdom and goodness, knowing that His judgments are just and in the right timing. The reader can find in Revelation the cries of saints who ask the Lord how long they must wait before they are avenged (6:10) and in proper justice and vengeance, given to the Lord, he will judge the ones who persecuted his bride with swift and fierce judgement.

Who Makes the Decision?

The question of who ultimately sends individuals to Hell is a complex theological issue that has been the subject of considerable debate and reflection within Christian communities. The discussion revolves around the tension between human responsibility and divine sovereignty, particularly regarding the destinies of individuals in the afterlife. The Christian understanding of this issue is shaped by the doctrine of God's justice, His role as the ultimate judge, and the nature of human accountability. The belief that God determines the eternal destinies of individuals is grounded in the concept of divine sovereignty. Don’t misunderstand in thinking this is Calvinistic as it is not. God determines the eternal destinies not because he predestined it but because he is the true judge who convicts and condemns in perfect righteousness the criminals, unrepentant sinners, who have violated the law which is his. In reality our sin is against God. We don’t send ourselves to Hell because we don’t sin against ourselves, despite the choices we make, but we sin against a holy God who must act. God as the ultimate authority and ruler of the universe, holding absolute power and knowledge over all things, and who has the final say over the fate of every person. The Christian doctrine of creation underscores the belief that all of existence belongs to God. The universe, including human beings, is seen as the handiwork of God, and as such, He retains absolute authority over His creation. The concept of God's lordship over creation emphasizes His right to establish the moral order and to hold all accountable for their actions, underscoring the understanding that He has the final say in matters of justice and judgment. The assertion that God sends individuals to Hell is rooted in the belief that God's justice demands accountability for human actions. The doctrine of sin and its consequences is central to this perspective. Sin represents a fundamental rebellion against God's moral order in relationships and in creation, resulting in a rupture in the relationship between humanity and God. The Bible portrays sin as a rejection of God's authority and a departure from His intended purposes for creation. The consequence of sin is the reality of judgment and eternal separation from God. Hell is the necessary consequence of rejecting God's offer of forgiveness and redemption so justice may be upheld against wrongdoing, leading to the experience of spiritual alienation and the absence of God's presence.

Despite this sin which plagues humanity there is an offer for salvation. The Gospel of Salvation centers around the belief that all people are in need of reconciliation with God due to their sin, and that this reconciliation is made possible through faith in Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, in Romans 3:23, it is stated that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This indicates that all individuals are inherently sinful and separated from God. Christ was the sacrifice through and through his death as the payment of sins which is so serious death is the answer (Hebrews 9:22) provides a substitutionary atonement for a punishment we are deserving of. Romans 6:23 proclaims that "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." This verse emphasizes that salvation is a gift from God, not something that can be earned through human effort. The means by which this gift of salvation is received is outlined in Romans 10:9, which declares, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This verse highlights the importance of confessing faith in Jesus and believing in his resurrection as the basis for salvation. Therefore, according to the Gospel, people can be saved by acknowledging their need for a savior, placing their trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for their sins, and committing their lives to following him. This results in a restored relationship with God and the promise of eternal life, as articulated in John 3:16, which states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Lastly, if you enjoy what you see and are interested in supporting the ministry then be sure to check out our store!

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