This summer, I was really grappling with the fact that God could actually damn eternal souls to Hell. I considered it a harsh thing, a cruel thing, almost unfair. Those words are a little bit of an understatement, however… mainly, what really bugged me was the thought of anyone, really, even my worst enemy, being tortured with intolerable pain forever.
So, I went to a Jr. High summer camp and I had a couple discussions with my pastor and counselor and stuff, and these were some of the verses that popped up, and really helped me:
By now, I’ve come to amends with this issue of eternal damnation, and I will share with you what I have learned.
Proverbs 16:4 says, “The Lord has made all for Himself. Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.” What this means to me is that all of God’s creation has a purpose, and this includes those who will go to Hell when they die.
God doesn’t create people wanting them to go to Hell. Yes, God knows they will, but we are the ones who choose. We are the ones responsible for our sins, and if we don’t repent, we will go to Hell when we die. God doesn’t want us to go to Hell. He wants to save us. But when we don’t, God still has a plan. Remember, God turns all things evil into things good. (Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”)
By allowing people to go to Hell, God is giving us a choice. If nobody were to go to Hell when they died, we wouldn’t have a choice in our eternal destiny. Free will is related to Hell. God can’t give heaven to everybody. If He did, there’d be no point in trusting Him. There’d be no point in having created us.
In damnation, God’s justice is glorified. That’s a harsh statement. Justice is a harsh word. Justice is a harsh thing. But in God’s justice, God’s mercy is also glorified. If there were no justice, there would be no mercy. Or, mercy would be very much undermined and so would justice.
If nobody went to Hell, human life would be like fighting a battle at the end of which everybody wins.
There’d be no point in the battle.
For there to be victory, there also has to be loss.
This is unfortunate for those who choose not to be saved. Eternal damnation is and always will be a very scary thing to think about. A harsh thing to think of. But Hell is something that must be. We should live in a healthy fear of Hell; not too much, but enough so that we don’t go there when we die, and that we do our very best to prevent loved ones from going there as well.
It is also good to mention the other verses, Romans 9:17-24. This didn’t help me as much as the verse from Proverbs, but it is helpful.
It addresses the fact that just as a potter can make his vessel to be whatever suits his will, God can make us to suit His will. He is God, we must remember. He can, and will, do as He wants. We are His creations, and as His creations, we should uplift Him.
His will is always for the good, no matter what we might think. Or do. Or say.
He is God. And He is beautiful, the Creator of all things beautiful.
How could we settle for anything less?