Is Hell Fair?

Is Hell Fair?

Is Hell fair? That’s an interesting question and one that is hard to answer. To do so, I need to make sure we are using the same language. Let me ask you some questions.

What do you mean by Hell? If by Hell, you mean the suffering that happens on earth, then no. Hell is not fair. It is not fair that I complain when the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is out of the cherry flavoring I wanted to add to my Dr. Pepper though over 10% of the world does not have access to clean water.[1] It is not fair that God privileged me to kiss my daughter goodnight every evening, walk her down the aisle at her wedding, and rejoice in the birth of my two grandchildren when other fathers have their daughters stolen by human traffickers. But if by Hell, you mean a place set aside by God for Satan, his demons, and those who reject God’s offer of mercy through Jesus Christ, then yes. Hell is fair.

What do you mean by fair? Do you mean equal? Then no, Hell is not fair. Equal treatment has never characterized human existence. It is not fair that the United States has 4.4% of the world’s population[2], covers 6.6%[3] of the world’s land mass, possesses 41.6% of the world’s wealth[4], and refuses to use a larger portion of that wealth to solve world problems. It is not fair that there are 900 partial or complete English translations of the Bible[5], but 160 million people have no portion of the Bible in their heart language.[6] But if by fair, you mean that in Hell, the penalty people serve fits the crime they committed (the definition of justice), then yes. Hell is fair.

The underlying question to the stated one is this: Is God justified in sending people to Hell? Let’s evaluate that. Governments have designed courtrooms as the place to implement justice. In a courtroom, lawyers and judges question witnesses and defendants to determine both guilt and consequence. So let’s have God take the witness stand. Let’s ask Him some questions.

“God, why did You make Hell?”

“I made Hell for Satan and his demons. It was not part of My original Creation.

“When I formed the universe, I evaluated it each step of the way. And it was good, so good. I focused most of My attention on one small, blue planet. I caused the dry ground to rise up out of the sea. I filled the water and land with ravishing creatures. My ultimate creation was humanity – two individuals I made to be like Me so that we could enjoy an eternal relationship. They wanted something different than what I had to offer, and the Enemy was all too ready to supply what they wanted.

“So now, whenever people choose to follow Satan instead of following Me, they complete their journey in the same place where Satan will complete his.”

“God, do you want people to go to Hell?”

“No, I do not want people to go to Hell! Satan is the one who wants that! If I wanted that for people, the moment they committed their first sin, I would immediately take their breath away and send them there. But I don’t. I have the right to judge you, but I desire to give you mercy. I give people countless chances throughout their lives to get things right between them and Me.

“I know people paint Me as harsh and ready to condemn. They base their judgment of Me on examples of justice I carried out in history. A worldwide flood, the plagues of Egypt, the destruction of the Canaanites. They make their judgment without having all the facts. They don’t know the evil these people committed or what they would have done if I allowed them to continue.

“Those who judge Me conveniently skip over examples of My reticence to judge. I sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them of impending judgment and was thrilled when they repented. My followers wanted to call down fire from Heaven on some Samaritan citizens, but I rebuked them for their zeal to destroy. I’m not like that.

“And you; the reason you are alive to question Me is only that I have delayed your deserved judgment.”

“God, what qualifies You to be the Judge?”

“Well, let’s see. Where do I begin? As I’ve already mentioned, I created the universe. I designed it, and I spoke it into being. Everything you see I made from elements I created. Being the Designer, Creator, and Source of life gives Me certain rights. I get to determine whether something is functioning as it should, and I get to determine what to do about it if it’s not.

“Frankly, it surprises Me that so many people refuse My offer to evaluate and fix their lives. If something was wrong with your iPhone and Steve Jobs was available to take a look at it, would you refuse his offer? I made you. I know why your life is going nuts, and I can fix it. Your car, your finances, your teeth, even your hair, you trust to people you barely know because they claim to be an expert. Can I say it again? I made you.

“I also know you. I knew you while you were still in your mother’s womb. I watched you mature. I’ve seen the hurts others have inflicted, and I’ve seen the blows you gave. Most judges only have a very small portion of the truth when they are called upon to make their judgment. They don’t know who’s lying and who’s not. I Am truth. I make my judgments based on all the facts – those that condemn you and those that vindicate you.

“I’m a fair Judge. No one can bribe Me. Who has anything I would want or couldn’t create with a simple word? I never allow My moods to control Me, so you don’t have to worry about catching Me on a bad day. And I’m not biased unless it’s in your favor. The fact is you want Me to be your Judge. I love you.”

“God, does the punishment fit the crime?”

“I know where you’re going with this question. From your perspective, an eternity of gruesome suffering does seem a high price to pay for one lifetime of sin. Such a penalty is especially hard to understand for those who lived a highly moral life. The penalty rarely seems just from the perspective of the perpetrator. But when you consider the offense from the view of the offended, it looks different.

“Consider this example. If you threaten your neighbor, he might buy a dog, put up a fence, or at worst, have the police knock on your door and tell you to be nice. If you threaten the leader of your country – the king or the President – the consequence will be very different and much more severe. The more significant the person affected by your negative actions, the more severe your penalty. Your sin isn’t against each other. Your sin is against Me. I’m God. David, in his prayer of repentance, stressed that his sin was against Me even though it was humans who faced the practical consequences of his sin.

“To you, your actions don’t look that bad. But that’s because you’re just comparing yourself to other people. I’m the standard of good. No one has ever been able to measure up to My standard.”

“God, will the punishment in Hell be the same for everyone?”

“No. Some lived lives of reckless evil without thought of the consequences for them or those around them. Their punishment will be severe. Others had abundant access to the truth and repeatedly chose to reject it. Their punishment will be severe (Matt. 10:14-15). Though a moral life will not get people entrance into Heaven, it will lessen their penalty in Hell (Rev. 20:12). Less doesn’t mean easy. It just means less.

“Sadly, some will never hear the message of forgiveness. They don’t have access to the Bible. No one has come to tell them about Me. They can look at the stars above them and surmise that I exist, but an acknowledgment of My existence has never been enough to save. They’ve never heard the name ‘Jesus,’ so they will miss the only means of escape from Hell (Rom. 1:20; Acts 4:12).”

“So there is a way to escape Hell?”

“Oh yes; escape is possible. No human has to go there. Remember My earlier testimony. I don’t want anyone to go there. You are My beautiful creation. Why would I want you to suffer? Though you’ve rebelled against Me, I have not forgotten or rejected you. I love you.

“Human society has butchered that word ‘love,’ so you may not have a clear understanding of what true love is. It burdens Me that some of you have never seen genuine love. Let me show it to you. True love is Jesus hanging on a cross paying a debt He did not owe.

“If you really want to have a conversation about injustice, that’s injustice! He didn’t deserve execution. He never sinned. You spend so much time fighting for your rights. Jesus gave up His because there was something that to Him was more important: YOU. He gave up His life for you!

“He didn’t just die for you. He did more. He’s living for you too. He rose from the dead. He’s actively working right now to initiate a relationship with you. He’s even got plans for your future. He’s preparing a wondrous new home with pure water, luscious fruit, savory beef, and perfectly aged wine. He’s coming back to earth soon. He wants to welcome you into His presence. He’s the only entrance into Heaven, and He’s the only escape from Hell.”

“But God; why does the way of escape have to be so narrow?”

“When people are in danger, the way of escape is always narrow. One window out of the burning house. One method of treatment for the life-threatening disease. If you weren’t breathing, I don’t think you would be upset that your only choice of resuscitation was a fat, homely stranger. I think you would be thankful someone was there who knew CPR. People who are dying can’t afford to be choosy.

“You can complain that the way out of Hell is narrow, or you can be thankful there is a way out. You can judge Me all you want. You can even proclaim your innocence throughout eternity. It won’t change anything. You are not the Judge. I AM.”

 

What we have done here in farce is what people do in reality. They put God on the witness stand as if they have the right to judge Him. He gets the blame for the pain in our present world and the world to come. Let me tell you who’s really to blame. If you feel the need to judge anyone, judge me.

I know there is pain in the world, but I’ve done very little to alleviate it. I meet people every day. Some of those people are on their way to Hell. What have I done to change that? I’ve been a follower of Jesus Christ for 45 years, and I can’t remember sharing my faith with 45 individuals.

So if there is an issue of fairness here, it’s not with God. It’s with me. And it’s with all the other Christians who have chosen to close their mouths and their wallets rather than “seek first the Kingdom of God” for themselves or others. For the part I have played in your pain, I ask forgiveness from God and you. I don’t know if you will give me mercy, but God already has.

When considering the justice of Hell, there is another question people rarely ask but one that deserves equal consideration. Is Heaven fair? It is all too easy to question the justice of God when it means negative consequences for us or people we love. But when the scales of justice swing unjustly in our favor, we are not nearly so quick to complain.

So the question you really need to ask yourself is this:

Do you want justice?

Or do you want mercy?

 

[1] “Facts about water: statistics of the water crisis”; The Water Project, 8/31/2016, retrieved Feb, 2018

[2] “Does the United States really have 5 percent of the water population and one quarter’s of the world’s prisoners?”; The Washington Post; April 15, 2015; retrieved Feb, 2018  

[3] “What percentage of the world’s land area is in the United States?”; Yahoo answers; retrieved Feb, 2018 

[4] “America is the richest, and Most Unequal Country”; Fortune; by Erik Sherman, Sept. 30, 2015; retrieved Feb, 2018

[5] “Number of English Translations of the Bible”; American Bible Society; Dec. 2, 2009; retrieved Feb, 2018

[6] “Latest Bible Translation statistics”; Wycliffe Bible Translators; retrieved Feb, 2018

 

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