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I've been having some questions running through my head, mostly about, if God loves us why would He send us to hell.

I know, I know, we sent ourselves. But why doesn't He save us?

Which brought me to the completely rhetorical, "what if?" situation.

Say me and my sister were at a pool. She was drowning. I love my sister. I would jump in and save or at least try to save her.

Replace me with God, my sister with me, and the pool as satans path / hell. Why would God just leave me there?

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Maybe if we think of hell as less of a place, and more of a relationship it will make more sense.

I don't know about non-Catholic positions, but Ven. Pope John Paul II said that heaven and hell may not be physical regions, so much as they are "states of the soul." Sin, obviously, separates a person from God, and that's why we aren't in Heaven right now; if a person dies outside of a state of Grace, the person is in hell because he or she is forever separated from God. The reverse is true for Heaven.

As to why God doesn't save us automatically, I would say because it is ultimately an issue of free will; one my accept or reject God's Grace. Everyone, because of the Jesus' dying and rising, now has the Grace available through the ministery of the Church, but, unfortunately, not everyone accepts it. That's why prayer for others is important; it makes a person more open to Grace, and therefore to God.

I'm sorry if that doesn't help much.

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Good question.

How can an all-loving, all-merciful God allow people's souls to suffer eternally in hell?

The best answer is that we as human beings have free will and there is an evil being out there who can lure us to hell.

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Not all Christian denominations believe that hell is an eternal punishING. I believe it's an eternal punishMENT (its results last forever), but not an eternal punishING. If you really think about it, Jesus paid for ALL of our sins, and He only suffered a few hours. Why would we, should we not choose Him, have to suffer longer? A loving God would NOT watch His creations suffer miserably for eternity. The wages of sin is DEATH.

I've onloy skimmed over this link, but it seems to share my point of view:

http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/immortality_resurrection/6.htm

and it's better at explaining than I am.

Edited by opalecent

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"Why doesn't He save us?"

He did. He sent Jesus, His son, to die for us. He sent Jesus so that our sins may be forgiven, and that we could walk with Him.

Like any good teacher, He won't do everything for us. We have to work at our relationship with Him. Being a Christian certainly isn't easy, but if we work at it and truly repent, we can avoid the eternal consequences of our sins - Hell.

1 Timothy 1:15 says, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst."

Matthew 1:21 says, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

"Why would God just leave me there?"

God doesn't just leave us there. He is always with us, sometimes we just don't see it.

Have you ever been looking for something, and just when you think you'll never find it, you do? It was right in front of you the whole time. That's the way God is, too. He's always with us, no matter what is happening.

When Jesus and Peter are walking on the water, Peter begins to sink. He called out for Jesus to save Him, and Jesus does, because Peter has faith. When we start to stray or have problems, God doesn't just let us keep walking on that bad path. He calls out to us, reaches for us, tries to save us. But like I said earlier, He won't do everything for us. We need to reach for Him, too.

Matthew 18:12 says, "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?"

Matthew 28:20 says, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze"

In conclusion, God does love us. He does not leave us to stray and live unfaithful lives. But at the same time, some people just don't heed His warnings and accept His love and security. That's what Hell is. Separation from God. We are faithful, and it is our 'job' to spread Jesus' word and bring people to God. He doesn't want His children going to Hell, but that's the path some choose, despite his attempts to save them.

Can you tell I just read Matthew? :) Hope this helps.

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Jebrook beat me to it. :D

Like she said, Jesus jumped into the pool and took your place and died, leaving a way back to the land, you just have to grasp hold of it an be pulled back.

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I've been having some questions running through my head, mostly about, if God loves us why would He send us to hell.

I know, I know, we sent ourselves. But why doesn't He save us?

Which brought me to the completely rhetorical, "what if?" situation.

Say me and my sister were at a pool. She was drowning. I love my sister. I would jump in and save or at least try to save her.

Replace me with God, my sister with me, and the pool as satans path / hell. Why would God just leave me there?

God does all that he can to save us from Hell. He has saved us, by sending his son to save us by dying on the cross. Just like if your sister was drowning and you would do all that you could to save her, even possibly give up your own life to keep her alive, God would do the same for you. If you were on the path to Hell, God would jump in and do anything to save you. But, say your sister didn't want to be saved. She would do everything she could to get away from you, and there would be nothing more you could do to save her. It's the same with God. He can't force you to accept his salvation, and be saved. If you didn't want to be saved, you would run from God, and there wouldn't be anything more he could do but let you make your decision.

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I've been having some questions running through my head, mostly about, if God loves us why would He send us to hell.

I've done my best to try to answer your question. If you have any farther question let me know.

I know, I know, we sent ourselves.

Be careful with such a statement. While it is true that men are condemned because they refused to give glory to God, people sometimes try to imply from such a statement that men choose to go to hell. No man wants to go to hell, no man wants to suffer for all eternity. It is God who casts men into hell.

But why doesn't He save us?

It is hard for us to grasp this issue because we do not have a good understanding of the wickedness of sin. We haven't transgressed against a mayor or some small prince, we have led a purposeful rebellion against the King of king's and the Lord of lord's. God is eternal and knows we will only be truly satisfied when we are completely focused on Him and that which is eternal. But we turn our heads, look straight at God, and often refuse. We don't truly understand what it means that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

It's clear that all men are deserving of hell. Men do not deserve heaven, they do not deserve grace. All men were on the road to hell and God graciously chooses some to be saved. ...it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy (Romans 9:16). How great is our sin? It is so great that the only thing which can save us is the death of God's own Son.

Why does He not save everyone? I think the better question is, Why does God save anyone at all? Why didn't He just wipe humanity out at the flood? Because He is...

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." (Exodus 34:6-7)

Replace me with God, my sister with me, and the pool as satans path / hell. Why would God just leave me there?

Because you are deserving of hell and God is just. He will not leave the guilty unpunished. Yet He chooses for some to be saved, those who repent and believe the gospel, and that is the good news of the gospel.

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Maybe if we think of hell as less of a place, and more of a relationship it will make more sense.

I don't know about non-Catholic positions, but Ven. Pope John Paul II said that heaven and hell may not be physical regions, so much as they are "states of the soul." Sin, obviously, separates a person from God, and that's why we aren't in Heaven right now; if a person dies outside of a state of Grace, the person is in hell because he or she is forever separated from God. The reverse is true for Heaven.

As to why God doesn't save us automatically, I would say because it is ultimately an issue of free will; one my accept or reject God's Grace. Everyone, because of the Jesus' dying and rising, now has the Grace available through the ministery of the Church, but, unfortunately, not everyone accepts it. That's why prayer for others is important; it makes a person more open to Grace, and therefore to God.

I'm sorry if that doesn't help much.

I really like what you said there, DesertKid! Such poetic words!

Yeah. . . as humans, we're not entirely sure what Heaven and Hell are. We definitely know they exist, but in what form? An abstract concept or a literal one? Either way, both concepts are really powerful and it's something to think about.

I've often thought to myself why certain things happen to good people when they don't deserve it, but I guess that's just the way things are. Personally, I don't question it. I know there's a reason for everything and I just try to do my best as a human being. As humans, we can only do so much. We have no idea what plans are in store -- so instead of questioning until the cows come home -- we should just live life. :)

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Hell is the absence of God, and as much as many Christians would suggest God made it a place of punishment, I don't think He did. If He isn't there, how could He have created it? I may be off biblically somehow, but in my opinion, hell is a place where people know they are headed if they end up there. If someone spends their life, and has no oppurtunity to know Jesus, I think God is merciful to allow them into heaven. However if someone willingly rejects Jesus, and has had every chance to see the truth, I think that is their place of judgement. Hell is essentially the confirmation of a hardened heart.

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I've been having some questions running through my head, mostly about, if God loves us why would He send us to hell.

I know, I know, we sent ourselves. But why doesn't He save us?

Which brought me to the completely rhetorical, "what if?" situation.

Say me and my sister were at a pool. She was drowning. I love my sister. I would jump in and save or at least try to save her.

Replace me with God, my sister with me, and the pool as satans path / hell. Why would God just leave me there?

Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ? They say that He is God's only Son who saves us from eternal punishment. You should check Him out.

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God is trying to save you. His hand is reaching out and because we are human and have free will, it is up to us to grab His hand and He will do the rest.

and heavan and hell are really places. everyone in this world is given the chance to accept Him. even the long ago remote tribes in places like africa had the chance to know Him. (there is a verse i just don't have it on hand at the moment)

He made it simple. except or decline. go to heven (a really and tangible place) or to hell (a real lake of burning black fire) for eternity.

He made it so easy. so easy that it is hard to believe. but, like i believe that the next breathe i draw or the chair i sit in will sustain me, i believe that His hand is right there for me to choose to touch and once i do i am out of the water and safe.

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That’s just sidestepping the question. It’s not a “better” question, it’s just a different one (and one that does have an answer, I might add).

I've actually found it to be a rather good answer for this question. Mainly because when people pose such a question, why doesn't God save everyone? They are coming at it from an angle in which they believe it is somehow unjust or unfair for God to only save some. Asking, why does God save anyone at all? Turns the question around entirely and brings the realization that God is not required to save anyone, yet He does. Why does He chose those whom He chooses? Why is one man saved and another not? The only answer which can be given to that is that it is beyond our comprehension. In Romans Paul answers this question by stating that we are the ones being molded and God is the molder, and who are we to answer back to God. That it is not the one who runs or wills but God who has mercy.

Doubtless you probably disagree with me, but perhaps that answers this question more fully.

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Because you are deserving of hell and God is just. He will not leave the guilty unpunished. Yet He chooses for some to be saved, those who repent and believe the gospel, and that is the good news of the gospel.
God is trying to save you. His hand is reaching out and because we are human and have free will, it is up to us to grab His hand and He will do the rest.

I'm also finding myself having lots of doubts lately, and the arguments in this thread aren't doing much to help me.

Most of the arguments focus on the idea of free will, and our ability to choose our own path (if God considers us one of the "chosen" of course). However, what about all the evils that happen in this world to children who are a) not mature enough to understand anything about how faith in something is supposed to save you and B) get hurt by something that has nothing to do with their own free will. For example, children who get their eyes burned out so they bring in more money by begging on the street, children who are brutally raped and murdered because they are part of a different religion or sect, or the hundreds of thousands of children (I'm talking <5-6 years old here) who die of hunger every year.

In that context, nothing about free will makes sense. The argument most people come up with is "well, that's just God's will ... we're not meant to understand it" ... but then I think about it, and you could easily use that as an explanation for anything. It's the old "because I told you so" reason used by parents. For example, I can take a piece of cured ham, put it on the table, and start praying to it about my bad circumstances in life. If things go well, all praise the piece of ham! If things were bad, well, that's the will of the piece of ham, and there's nothing we can do to change or understand it. Such is the nature of the ham. Doesn't make sense to me, and seems like a cop out of sorts.

I won't even go into the confusion in my head about why God is all powerful but set up man to fail by setting the tree right smack in the middle of the garden of Eden and allowing the snake to corrupt their minds (which God created to be curious, so he must have known that man would fall). Or why the devil was able to sin in the first place because supposedly there is no sin or jealousy in heaven. Just a lot of these thoughts are making me think that Christianity is just another religion - and religion is something man makes up to make life easier and to make controlling others in society easier.

Please don't ban me just because I'm asking some provocative questions. I really need to hear some sound reasons, because a lot is at stake in my life (very Christian family, I used to be a youth leader, etc). Can anyone reconcile these thoughts for me without heading into circular logic?

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I will do my best to answer some of your questions. I often have many similar questions, but I think Scripture provides insight into all of these questions.

Most of the arguments focus on the idea of free will, and our ability to choose our own path (if God considers us one of the "chosen" of course).

If you've ever read Romans 3:9-20, or any large portion of Scripture, there is a very clear message throughout all Scripture. Men are sinners. Ecclesiastes 7:20 states that there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and never sins. And though many would disagree with me, Scripture is very clear that we are not saved when we choose to repent, we are saved when God moves in our hearts and causes us to want to repent. It's not as though God drags people into the kingdom of heaven. No. He changes their hearts, he takes out the stony heart and replaces it with a heart of flesh; He says, I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes (Ezekiel 36:26-30).

This is the gospel. The gospel is a message of grace. There is nothing you can do to earn salvation. The phrase is repeated so much that sometimes it loses it meaning. But how are men saved? Are they saved because they choose to be saved. Are those who are in heaven those whom were smarter and more spiritual because they were wise enough to obey God? No, Romans 3:27-31 makes clear that there is no boasting in salvation. We are saved because God saves us, not because of anything we do. John 1:13 states that we are not born of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 3:8 states that, The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.

I felt some of this information was good to establish before answering your questions.

However, what about all the evils that happen in this world to children who are a) not mature enough to understand anything about how faith in something is supposed to save you and B) get hurt by something that has nothing to do with their own free will. For example, children who get their eyes burned out so they bring in more money by begging on the street, children who are brutally raped and murdered because they are part of a different religion or sect, or the hundreds of thousands of children (I'm talking <5-6 years old here) who die of hunger every year.

Babies go to heaven. When David's first son from Bathsheba dies he is sure that he will one day see his child again. There are many other passages that could be brought into this discussion, I would highly recommend the following sermons from MacArthur on this subject: link.

Those who believe that we are saved when we freely choose God, I think have a harder time coming to this conclusion. They would argue that there is no such thing as original sin, thus babies are without sin and would go to heaven. This would be a hard point to argue because how would it be just for someone without sin to die? Rather, as Paul makes clear in Ephesians 2, we are all born children of wrath.

In that context, nothing about free will makes sense. The argument most people come up with is "well, that's just God's will ... we're not meant to understand it" ... but then I think about it, and you could easily use that as an explanation for anything. It's the old "because I told you so" reason used by parents. For example, I can take a piece of cured ham, put it on the table, and start praying to it about my bad circumstances in life. If things go well, all praise the piece of ham! If things were bad, well, that's the will of the piece of ham, and there's nothing we can do to change or understand it. Such is the nature of the ham. Doesn't make sense to me, and seems like a cop out of sorts.

In this scenario you have become an idolater, but that aside... We can only go so far in certain subjects. God certainly is sovereign. Everything is in His control. The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil (Proverbs 16:4). God has planned things in such a way as to make His name great. I think the answers to come of your questions may lie in Romans 9:22-23, possibly one of the hardest parts of Scripture to wrap the mind around and accept as truth. Also, I would encourage you to read Romans chapters 9-11, it deals a lot with some of the things you have brought up. You will also find many times where Paul realizes that God's ways are truly unfathomable. If we could fully understand God, we He any longer be God?

I won't even go into the confusion in my head about why God is all powerful but set up man to fail by setting the tree right smack in the middle of the garden of Eden and allowing the snake to corrupt their minds (which God created to be curious, so he must have known that man would fall). Or why the devil was able to sin in the first place because supposedly there is no sin or jealousy in heaven. Just a lot of these thoughts are making me think that Christianity is just another religion - and religion is something man makes up to make life easier and to make controlling others in society easier.

First, the Bible is clear in James 1:13-14 that God tempts no man. Second, you may find some things helpful in this recent thread: link

Please don't ban me just because I'm asking some provocative questions. I really need to hear some sound reasons, because a lot is at stake in my life (very Christian family, I used to be a youth leader, etc). Can anyone reconcile these thoughts for me without heading into circular logic?

Feel free to PM me if you have any more comments/questions. I definitely understand some of the thoughts you are having as I have had them before. Ultimately, it's Scripture that must be searched for answers to these difficult questions.

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I'm not really answering the question here, but I'd just like to go ahead and point out that doubts aren't ALWAYS a bad thing. Often times, through studying God's word and overcoming our doubts, it brings us closer in our relationship with Him. We serve a big and almighty God. He's big enough to handle our doubts and our questions.

Anyway, just part of your post here that I wanted to address....

Say me and my sister were at a pool. She was drowning. I love my sister. I would jump in and save or at least try to save her.

Replace me with God, my sister with me, and the pool as satans path / hell. Why would God just leave me there?

Ok, say that you throw your sister a life preserver, but she refuses to grab a hold of it, as she doesn't believe she's drowning/believes that she can save herself, and therefore drowns.

Now, replace the life preserver with Jesus Christ's death on the cross. All that we have to do is cling to it in order to be saved from hell, and yet many either refuse to acknowledge the danger of their position and refuse to cling to the "life preserver" that is Christ's sacrifice, or they believe they can save themselves through works, and think that they don't need Christ's sacrifice. These people go to hell because they refused to cling to the "life preserver" that God threw them.

Does that make any sense at all?

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I'm not really answering the question here, but I'd just like to go ahead and point out that doubts are ALWAYS a bad thing. Often times, through studying God's word and overcoming our doubts, it brings us closer in our relationship with Him. We serve a big and almighty God. He's big enough to handle our doubts and our questions.

Anyway, just part of your post here that I wanted to address....

Ok, say that you throw your sister a life preserver, but she refuses to grab a hold of it, as she doesn't believe she's drowning/believes that she can save herself, and therefore drowns.

Now, replace the life preserver with Jesus Christ's death on the cross. All that we have to do is cling to it in order to be saved from hell, and yet many either refuse to acknowledge the danger of their position and refuse to cling to the "life preserver" that is Christ's sacrifice, or they believe they can save themselves through works, and think that they don't need Christ's sacrifice. These people go to hell because they refused to cling to the "life preserver" that God threw them.

Does that make any sense at all?

It makes total sense. Now a question that me and vlad sort of share, is that if God loves us why would he let evil anywhere near us?

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Just a quick note here, but it was late last night, and up there I wrote that doubts ARE always a bad thing, and I meant to write that they're NOT always a bad thing. Sorry about that. xDDD

Now a question that me and vlad sort of share, is that if God loves us why would he let evil anywhere near us?
This is an extremely valid question. I'm going to have to abandon our fun little metaphor though. xDDD

God loves us so much, and He wants us to love Him back. But in order for our love for Him to be real love, He had to give us the choice whether or not to love him. If He forced us to love Him, our love wouldn't have been genuine. He gave man the opportunity to obey and love Him, but we chose disobedience. Due to this, sin and evil came into the world. The rest of history has been God trying to reconcile the relationship between him and us, and save us from our sin.

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God loves us so much, and He wants us to love Him back. But in order for our love for Him to be real love, He had to give us the choice whether or not to love him. If He forced us to love Him, our love wouldn't have been genuine. He gave man the opportunity to obey and love Him, but we chose disobedience. Due to this, sin and evil game into the world. The rest of history has been God trying to reconcile the relationship between him and us, and save us from our sin.

My answer was gonna be approximately that, then he beat me to the chase. After Lucifer (now Satan) sinned by openly questioning God and pridefully trying to be like Him, God couldn't just destroy him, or risk having the rest of the angels follow Him from fear, not love. So He had to allow Satan to live a life his own way to try to show that he's better. This was all happening around creation time, so God allowed Satan to tempt man. (see jaycawbz's statement above about how you have to have the option to not love in order to truly love). Man could have chosen to disregard Satan's accusations against God, and put faith and trust in God. Instead, man allowed himself to question God and His character. Since man now manifested the same pride as Satan did, (that his judgment was better than God's), the only way to truly prove that God was right, just, merciful, and a God of love is to allow Satan's accusations to fully manifest themselves as a way of life. To destroy sin would be equivalent of the government completely destroying a dissenter who had a third of the country's support. You get rid of the symptom, but not the problem, and now the people are going to be afraid of them because they know what could happen to them. God's character was proved through the life and death of Christ, who was and is also the Way to salvation, and now He is waiting to return in order that as many as possible may be saved. He has chosen everyone, but not everyone accepts Him. However, we can only trust that He is waiting for the moment to return at which the most possible people may be saved, as opposed to lost.

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God doesn't send us to hell. Hell is a place where those who willingly reject Him are sent. I know what it is to doubt, but we have to accept we can't know everything

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I've been having some questions running through my head, mostly about, if God loves us why would He send us to hell.

I know, I know, we sent ourselves. But why doesn't He save us?

Which brought me to the completely rhetorical, "what if?" situation.

Say me and my sister were at a pool. She was drowning. I love my sister. I would jump in and save or at least try to save her.

Replace me with God, my sister with me, and the pool as satans path / hell. Why would God just leave me there?

The example you used seems rather ... inadequate. Some of it is applicable, but not all.

Humanity is "drowning" in a pool, yes, but it is doing so willingly. The human condition of sin is created by our own choice. Jesus did indeed "dive into the pool" to save us, but He will not violate our free will. We can die spiritually if we wish, we can accept His rescue if we wish. God does not force us to be saved, nor does :e force us to recognize or reciprocate His love. That is the nature of true love: it is vulnerable, offering the free choice of acceptance or rejection. That is God's love for us.

Jaycawbz' and Opalescent's posts are right on the mark. When Satan rebelled, he leveled a fundamental charge against God: that God was not good, not loving. IOW, God merely appears loving because He is powerful. God did not destroy evil at that time (if He had, He would have proven Satan's charge against Him). Instead God has demonstrated His goodness and love by allowing free will, by being vulnerable to rejection by the very ones He loves most: us. To allow evil is to vindicate Himself from Satan's charge of cold, repressive authoritarianism. In a very real sense, Satan put God on trial, and the ultimate vindication was God's ultimate, willing demonstration of love: sending His Son to die for us.

Someday however, the trial will be over, God will assert His authority, Satan and his followers will be justly sentenced and we will live with our Lord, our Savior, our Beloved, for all eternity.

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God doesn't send us to hell. Hell is a place where those who willingly reject Him are sent. I know what it is to doubt, but we have to accept we can't know everything

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28, also Luke 12:4-5).

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Romans 2:5). Hell is the wrath of God.

You cannot read the last chapters of Revelation and deny that God casts and commands men to be thrown into hell. No man willingly walks into hell because no man wants to suffer for all eternity. Yes, hell will be filled with men who willingly rejected God, but hell will not be filled with men who willingly desire to suffer it's torments. Don't think that such truths are easy for me or anyone else to think about. But just because we may not fully understand the wickedness of sin or the justice of God, does not make them any less true. Ultimately, it should never come down to believing simply what you want to believe, but you should believe what the Bible states, regardless of whether it is appealing.

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That's a really good question. I've asked myself that MANY times. But i've always been told...if you do something bad...shouldn't you get punishment? He loves us yes but he also must be Just and Righteous. Hope this helps some!!!

God Bless^^

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The bible does discuss hell, and hell being thrown into an eternal lake of fire. Whether our human minds can comprehend it or not, it's real, and that's all the reason why we should be going out into the world and trying to share the gospel.

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