Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How can a loving God send someone to hell?

God doesn't send anyone to hell. Hell is real, but it is a result of humanity rejecting God. Scripture shows us how to escape hell and spend eternity with God. God's perfect plan is that we, though conceived on earth, are eternal souls who live eternally with him.

Sin separates us from God and that is hell—to be eternally separated from God—whereas in heaven we live in the eternal presence of God. God wants to save us from hell so he sent Jesus to redeem us from sin and bring us back into His glorious Presence. In a sense, our physical bodies and earthly existence separate us from God because he is Spirit and we are flesh. We have a taste of hell when we cannot see God face to face because our earthly eyes cannot see spirit, whether the Spirit of God or the spirit of a brother or sister in Christ. In heaven we will see the glorified bodies of our brothers and sisters, as well as God and His holy angels, as easily as we see earthly bodies here.

Satan’s desires oppose God. Satan wants to separate humanity from God eternally and have them with him (not because he loves us) because he wants to destroy God’s creation. The human heart is good and beautiful and true only when totally surrendered to God. Without God we, like Satan, can be vile and capable of every kind of evil. The prophet Jeremiah warns (17:9) "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." Without God, the heart’s deceitfulness runs rampant, so Satan succeeds when he separates us from God.

When God created humanity, we were designed for God. We cannot live without him. While on earth, we can survive physically without God but only because of his loving kindness and generosity. He continues to give life and breath even when we reject him. However, when our physical bodies die (and they do because our bodies were not created for eternity) we are homeless and separated from God. Satan has accomplished his desire—to separate us eternally from our Creator and his unconditional love.

Hell is a "place" for Satan and his demons. They want no part of God and probably prefer where they are, to heaven. We, on the other hand, were not created to be separated from God and we perish without him. Because our souls are eternal, the death of the soul is not like the death of a physical body, which will eventually be complete so our earthly bodies find rest in death. Without the redeeming power of God, once sin enters our lives we are condemned to eternal death—prolonged and eternal—absent from a loving God and in the presence of Satan and his demons.

If such a thing sounds horrible to us with our limited understanding, imagine how it grieves God that those he created to live eternally as his children instead experience eternity without him and his goodness. The Bible is clear God doesn't want that to happen to anyone—"not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9NIV). “God wants everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4NIV). “God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the whole world, through him, might be saved.” (John 3:17).

You are God’s child. He loves you and wants you to experience the full blessing of His unconditional love. I urge you to open your heart to him now and invite him in. If you need help, call a pastor or Christian friend. Help is available.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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