How Could A Loving God Condemn People To Hell?

(Part of the "Predestination vs. Free-Will" series)

If God is all-loving, why does He then condemn people to hell?

When encountering the idea of “predestination,” this dilemma often comes up:  How could a loving God deliberately condemn people to hell?  How could He predestine people for hell, and then still be called “loving”?  It doesn’t make sense.

And I think the reason it doesn’t make sense is because ... it assumes that predestination is true, that God does indeed predetermine that most people will go to hell, with no chance of being saved. 

And so the problem with this question is the question itself.  “Why does God condemn people to hell?”  When we ask it this way, it sounds like God deliberately removes some people from the bus to heaven and puts them on the bus to hell (He predestines them for hell), for one reason or other, such as for punishment or to show off His sense of justice or to highlight His grace and love to those being saved.

My pastor's adult son (a creepy guy who stares over his glasses and slowly points at the congregation as he preaches that "no one should question God's sovereignty," meaning that "no one should question my Calvinist daddy's view of God's sovereignty") wrote a post on this once, essentially saying that God shows off His justice by predestining the non-elect to hell and that He shows off His love by choosing to save some people, the "elect."

But I say ... WRONG!   

God does not “send people to hell” to show off His justness or demonstrate His love by only choosing to save a few people.  

We end up in hell not because He sends us there but because He allows us to make our own decision about if we want a relationship with Him or not.  He allows us to choose heaven (life/eternity with Him) or hell (life/eternity without Him).  

In the pastor's son's post, he started from the premise that when the Bible says God hardens hearts and blinds eyes, it means that God arbitrarily does it.  That He does it all on His own, for some reason or other.

But biblically, according the Bible and concordance, when God hardens hearts and blinds eyes, it's because the people first did it themselves.  God just makes their decision permanent at some point, as punishment for their constant rejection of Him, and He uses it for His plans.  But it was their choice first.

But anyway, this guy started with his Calvinist view that God chooses whom to harden all on His own, through no fault of the people.  And then he wonders how God could do this.  How could God prevent people from understanding the truth when He wants them to be saved?  

(You can't get to the right answer if you start with a wrong assumption.)

And then, after "two weeks of processing it," alone and with others, this is the result of his "ponderings": God hardens people because His main goal is self-worship and self-love.  This guy says that people's salvation is not of primary importance to God, because His focus is on being worshipped.  And predestining people to hell is the way for God to worship Himself for how just He is, and electing some people to heaven is the way for Him to worship Himself for how loving He is.  And we should be singing God's praises even more for doing this, since it's all about God getting more worship.

(What kind of garbage is this!?!  And notice that it's his "ponderings."  He's basing the Bible on his own musings.)

But biblically, God doesn’t exactly “condemn people to hell,” for any particular reason, whether to show off His justice or show off His love or to worship Himself more.  

But He does reluctantly allow us to go there ourselves. 

"But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath against yourself..." (Romans 2:5)

"But they were broken off because of unbelief ... And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in ..." (Romans 11:20,23

The thing is, we are all born on the path to hell, already separated from God.  ("Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already..." John 3:18)  So He does not put any of us on the bus to hell.  We are already on it.  But He has been desperately calling to all of us – to any who will listen and believe - trying to get as many of us off of that path as He can.  

It's like being caught in a rushing stream headed for hell - all of us - and God is reaching down and offering to pull anyone out who wants to get out of that stream.  

But we have to grab onto His hand!  

And if we don't, we inevitably end up riding that stream to where it's headed.  Hell!  

So He does not condemn people to hell in order to punish or to celebrate His love or justness; He simply allows us to stay on the path to hell if we choose to, if we do not accept His help off of that path.  But His desire is to have all people come to Him.  He reaches His hand out to all, but He does not force us to take it.  He knocks on the doors of hearts, but we have to open the door and let Him in.

And actually, God did do something to demonstrate His justness (according to the Bible), but it isn’t “sending people to hell.”  And He did do something to demonstrate His love, but it isn’t “saving only some people while condemning the rest to hell.”  

No!  He doesn’t predestine people to hell to demonstrate His justness or His love.  (Find me the verses in the Bible that say this!  But guess what?  You can't!  Because Calvinists made it up!  It's their own nonsensical reasoning that comes up with this kind of insane garbage!  They also say that the reason God predestines people to hell is because it beings Him glory somehow.  GARBAGE and HOGWASH!) 

To demonstrate His justness and His love, He sent Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty that mankind owes for our sins.  

(At least, that's what my Bible says!)  

“God presented [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished- he did it [sent Jesus to the cross for our sins] to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”  (Romans 3:25-26, emphasis added)

“God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8, emphasis added)

I see nothing in here about God demonstrating His love or justness by predestining people to hell or electing only some people for heaven (or about doing it to worship Himself more).


God shows His justice by sending Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty that we owe.  

And God shows His love by sending Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty that we owe.  

And by this demonstration of His justice and love, we are now free to be justified, to have our sins wiped away in God’s eyes.  If we let Jesus’ sacrificial death pay the penalty we owe.  If we place our faith in Him. 

And if not, then we choose to put our faith in ourselves and we will pay the penalty we owe, a penalty that is spiritual death.  An eternity separated from God.  Hell! 

But always remember that it is because of our own resistant, unbelieving hearts that we end up in hell, not because of God’s justice.  It is because of His justice and His love that we actually have the chance to be saved from hell.  The penalty has already been paid.  

Will we accept it on our behalf?

To stress the point a little more …

As I said, predestination-believers (Calvinists) say that God loves everyone but that He shows His love differently to different people.  He shows His love for the “elect” by pre-destining them for heaven and by showing them how favored they are, compared to those who are damned.  And He shows His love for those pre-destined for hell by caring for them while they are on earth. 

But what did we just read in Romans 5:8?

That God demonstrates His love for us by sending Christ to die for us. 

And according to John 3:16, who does He love?

Just the elect?  A few prechosen people?  

No ... the world!  All the people of the world!  Everyone.  This must mean that if God loves everyone then Jesus died for everyone because that's how God demonstrates His love.

But Calvinists will change "the world" and "all" and "whosoever" into "only the elect" or "all kinds of men, but not all men."  They claim that they base everything on the Word, that they are being true to the Word, and then they go and change meanings of words to fit their theology - a theology that destroys God's character, His love, His justice, His grace, forgiveness, Jesus's sacrifice, our hope, joy, faith, trust in God, etc.

Way to go, Calvinism!  The atheist world has you to thank for many of the atheists out there!  Because who would ever want to believe in or trust a God like yours!?!

Thankfully, though, Calvi-God is not the God of the Bible.  (And don't let any Calvinist convince you it is!)

The God of the Bible loves the world and sent Jesus to die for all sins, so that anyone who is willing can believe in Him and find eternal life!

I simply don’t see how Calvinists can justify changing God’s love from one kind to another when it comes to different people: one kind of love for the elect and a different kind for the unelect.  

God Himself told us what it means when He says He “loves” people.  It means that Jesus died for them.  For everyone!  

“God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)  (If Calvi-God sent Jesus to die only for the elect, and this verse says that Jesus died for sinners, does that mean that only the elect are sinners?  So what would you call the unelect then?  And if it simply means that the elect are sinners too, just like the unelect, then where is the clarification in this verse that says "Jesus died for the elected sinners or only some sinners"?  Oh, I guess maybe you could read the "for us" to be "only the elect," if Paul is talking only to believers.  But then ... maybe he just meant "for those I am writing to, and no one else."  I mean, wouldn't that make the most sense?  After all, he addresses his letter "To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints."  So, I guess Jesus only died for the elected sinners in Rome, the ones Paul is writing to.  And the rest of us are out of luck.  I mean, why can't we read the Bible that way?  If Calvinists insist on altering the Bible however they want, to fit their theology, then why can't I alter it this way?  At least this would be more biblically-accurate because the letter does say "To all in Rome ..."  And what about Romans 5:6, which says that "while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly"?  Does this mean only the elect are powerless and ungodly, because Christ died only for the elect, according to Calvinism?  Wow, those "elect" are a messed-up group of people: sinners, powerless, ungodly!  Thank God that Jesus prechosen them to be saved.  Well, at least the ones in Rome that Paul is writing to.  Wait a second ... Romans 5:12 says that "all men" sinned?  And we just saw that Romans 5:8 says that Jesus died for sinners.  Hmm, could that mean that Jesus died for all men since Jesus died for sinners and all men are sinners?  Umm, no, that's impossible ... because John Calvin says that Jesus only died for the elect.  And since John Calvin wrote a really big book about his theological views, and the book sounds very scholarly, with lots and lots of words and confusing ideas that I'm not smart enough to understand, I will just have to trust that Calvin was right!  Surely someone who writes that much knows what they are talking about!  Even if it does contradict the Bible.  Thank God that John Calvin came along 1500 years later to tell us what God really meant to say in His Word!  Or else we might still be thinking that "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" really means that "For God so loved the world that he gave his own and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  But thank God that Calvin cleared it all up for us with his giant, brilliant brains!  Or else we'd be floundering all over the place, totally unsure of what God really meant to say!) 

“For God so loved the elect world that he gave his one and only Son, that the chosen ones shall not perish whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16, altered slightly)

"And he died for all ..." (2 Corinthians 5:15, emphasis is mine in all these verses)

"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass [Adam's sin] was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness [Jesus's death] was justification that brings life for all men."  (Romans 5:18)  (Oh yeah, I can totally see how Calvinists might read "only the elect" in this verse!  Easy mistake to make because "all men" and "only the elect" sound so similar!)

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."  (Titus 2:11)  (God must not have consulted with John Calvin before inspiring Paul to write this down!  Calvin would be so unhappy to see this because it totally contradicts the Gospel his theology!)

"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men..."  (1 Timothy 2:3-5)  (Funny how God would say He wants something He made impossible, that He wants all men to be saved when, according to Calvinism, He predestined most people for hell!)

"He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  (2 Peter 3:9b)  (So God wants everyone to repent, but then turns around and causes most people to be unbelievers, never giving them the chance to repent!?!  Makes perfect sense!)

Yeah, I'm still trying to find those "Jesus died only for the elect" verses!  But I can't seem to find them with all those "Jesus died for all men" verses getting in the way!  

[One of the reasons Calvinists say that "Jesus died only for the elect" is because they think it would be unglorifying to God if people could reject His offer of salvation, as though it would humiliate Him or something.  (Or like it would make Him seem less "in control" than He is.)  They teach along the lines of "it's more glorifying to God if people can't reject Him, so God made it so that people can't reject Him.  Those whom Jesus died for are predestined to be saved, and those who are going to hell are not really rejecting Him because He didn't die for them anyway.  Salvation wasn't offered to them, only to those who are destined to accept it.  Because this is most glorifying to God!"   

First of all, this is purely man-made reasoning and assumptions.  Find me a verse in the Bible that teaches this!  (Calvinism is built heavily on assumptions and human reasoning, not on the Bible.)

Personally, I don't think it's true that it's unglorifying to God if people have the chance to reject Him.  I don't think it's more glorifying if people cannot reject Him, if they have no choice but to accept Him.

I think it's more glorifying to God if we have a choice to choose or reject Him.  Because when we choose Him - despite our fears and doubts and sins and brokenness and pride, etc. - God gets to look at Satan and say, "You see!  Even though these humans can't see Me and haven't stood in My Throne Room like you have, even though they have pain and aging bodies and fearful doubts, they still choose to believe in Me!"  

I mean, isn't that what the whole "competition" over Job's life was about?  Would Job still choose to trust God even when everything in his life was shaken or destroyed?

Satan knew God face-to-face.  He was the first and best of God's creation.  He's seen everything God is capable of.  He sang His praises in the Throne Room.  

And yet he rejected God anyway.

But now, through men, God gets to prove to Satan that "lesser beings" who have it worse and who haven't seen God face-to-face would still choose to believe in Him, to cling to Him, despite the hardships of life.  God gets to say, "These people trust me and believe that I am worth worshipping!"

Isn't that amazingly glorifying to God!

After all, how glorifying would it be to God if Satan could say, "Yeah, well, of course they chose You!  You forced them to!"

That wouldn't be glorifying.  That would be pitiful!] 

Next post in series:  Sovereignty and Free-Will Working Together

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