This study is an excerpt of the book by Don Stewart entitled What Everyone Needs To Know About God, which is part of The Basic Bible Study Series published by Dart Press, Orange, California. Used by permission of the author.
Don Stewart has written over twenty books on the subject of evidences for the Christian faith.
These include You Be the Judge, Ten Reason to Trust the Bible, The Coming Temple, The Basic Bible Study Series. In the last fifteen years he has spoken in over thirty countries proclaiming the message that the Christian faith is both reasonable and intelligent.
If it is God's sincere desire that everyone come to know Him why did He create hell in the first place? Why make a place of judgment for humanity?
The Bible teaches that God did not create hell as a judgment for humanity. God created hell for the punishment of the devil and his angels and not as a place for human beings to suffer. Jesus said:
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matthew 25:41).
Hell was created as a place of judgment for Satan and those who followed him in their rebellion against God. The Bible says that the devil and his angels will eventually be consigned to hell:
And the devil who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).
Human beings, who are created in God's image, are not meant to spend eternity away from the presence of God. The place God created for them is heaven. Jesus spoke of this place that God has prepared for those who trust Him:
Hell was not created for humanity, but it is
the destination for those who reject God's salvation in Jesus Christ.
Some people wonder how hell can be reconciled with a God of love. Why, they ask, would a God of love allow people to go to hell?
God of Justice
The answer to this question is that God is a God of holiness and justice as well as a God of love. These moral attributes are complementary, not contradictory. When the laws of God are disobeyed there must be a judgment. God's laws demand that sin must be paid for. God can still love someone but He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. This is the reason that Jesus Christ came to earth, to die for the sins of the world.
The emphasis should not be placed upon hell but by the fact that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to show His love for mankind:
God has showed His love by sending His Son to
die for our sins -- to take our punishment -- so that we could go
to heaven. The judgment of hell is for those who refuse to accept
God's love and forgiveness.
The Bible speaks about a place of final judgment for those who do not believe in the salvation provided by Jesus Christ. This place is known as hell. It is not a geographical place, but a state of existence. Jesus spoke of it as a place of eternal punishment.
In the Book of Revelation the Apostle John wrote concerning a final judgment of the wicked:
The reality of a final judgment is clearly taught in Scripture. But the Bible also indicates that the people who go to hell do so because they have rejected God's provision for salvation. The Bible says that God does not want anyone to go to hell:
Thus we conclude by saying: