Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Can A Loving God NOT Send People to Hell?

Fair warning, I'm going to talk about Nazis.

I say that, not because it's controversial, but because this is the Internet, and Reductio ad Hitlerum is a thing that I'd like not to be accused of.

"How can a loving God send people to Hell?" is a question that is often asked by Atheists, Agnostics, and let's face it, many Christians as well. It's not a bad question, but I do think it's the wrong question to ask.

I've been reading Eric Metaxas' excellent biography on Detrich Bonhoeffer. I've been engrossed by it for months. It's a great book and it paints the average German living in Nazi Germany in a completely new light, you should read it. One passage caught my attention tonight:

"On the positive side of things, Heydrich was dead. At the end of May, the albino stoat had been ambushed by Czech Resistance fighters while he was riding in his open-topped Mercedes. Eight days later, the architect of the Final Solution fell into the hands of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

The Heydrich he's referring to is Reinhard Heydrich, One of the cheif architects of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. This guy was about as evil as you can get. He's on par with Herr Hitler himself.

Which brings me to the question: "How can a loving God send people to Hell?" It's hard to answer that when talking about your Great Aunt Betty who may have been a lovely woman, but happened to be an Atheist, but easy to answer when talking about such overtly evil men like our friend Heydrich. On the one hand: "She lived a good life, raised good, law-abiding kids and would never hurt a fly. She's in a better place." on the other: "Um...Nazi inner circle...go to hell, go directly to hell, do not pass "Gehen" do not collect 200 "deutschmarks". I have yet to meet a reasonable person who thinks anyone involved in Nazi High command should be in Heaven because "God is love"

Why the disparity?

If God is too good and too loving to let Betty fall into Hell why does He suddenly draw a line at genocide? Is that where God draws the line? What about mass murder? A single murder? Manslaughter? Negligence causing death? Attempted murder? I could go on.

We have something in common, believe it or not. The "How can a loving God send people to Hell?" crowd and the "Hell is hot, forever is a long time, repent and turn to Jesus." crowd. We all believe, whether you admit it or not, that God has to draw a line somewhere; has to say: "You, welcome to my Kingdom!" and "YOU! OUT OF MY SIGHT!" Otherwise, when we get there, we'll see Heydrich and Golda Meir in the same room...


The difference comes in where we draw said line. Christians believe it to be anything short of prefection, that's why Jesus needed to be incarnated on Earth. To live that life, in our place, and give us the credit while He took the punishment. That's why we love Jesus.

Every sane, rational person believes that there are some people who deserve Hell. The difference between them and Christians, is we think that list includes us.

Thank God for Jesus.


  1. Good piece with good points Kev. I agree with the comment on Facebook that you should've included the fact that God obviously doesn't want to send anyone to hell, but other than that it's all good.

    You'll have to lend me that biography when you're done with it.

  2. I didn't include it because it's not a paper on soteriology. Of course I believe that as well.

  3. Happy to read something that clearly explains what I try to and don't quite manage. Btw, I am adding a link to your blog on mine for this precise reason.