A few weeks ago I put together a post demonstrating both the existence of Hell and the truth of Eternal Conscious Torment. You can read that by clicking HERE.
What my post did not address is to answer the logical question of why God casts sinners into Hell. The answer to this I believe is more complex and more important theologically as it touches on the study of God. To that end I am going to present a short study on the doctrines that I believe are connected to the answer of ‘Why Hell?’.
- The Holiness of God
- The Wrath of God
- The Love of God
|The Holiness of God
“…I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:1-5 ESV
Here we have one of the most vivid displays of the Holiness of God in the Bible.
“Holy, holy, holy”
This is also stated by the same creatures in Revelation 4:8, its called the “trihagion”. Rather than repeat the work done by others on this three fold repetition of “Holy” I am going to quote the work of those smarter than myself. This below excerpt is taken from a Got Questions essay available for free to anyone online.
“The repetition of a name or an expression three times was quite common among the Jews. In Jeremiah 7:4, the Jews are represented by the prophet as saying, “The temple of the Lord” three times, expressing their intense confidence in their own worship, even though it was hypocritical and corrupt. Jeremiah 22:29, Ezekiel 21:27, and 2 Samuel 18:33 contain similar three-fold expressions of intensity. Therefore, when the angels around the throne call or cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy,” they are expressing with force and passion the truth of the supreme holiness of God, that essential characteristic which expresses His awesome and majestic nature.”
In addition, the trihagion expresses the Triune nature of God, the three Persons of the Godhead, each equal in holiness and majesty. Jesus Christ is the Holy One who would not “see decay” in the grave, but would be resurrected to be exalted at the right hand of God (Acts 2:26;13:33-35). Jesus is the “Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14) whose death on the cross allows us to stand before the throne of our holy God unashamed. The third Person of the trinity—the Holy Spirit—by His very name denotes the importance of holiness in the essence of the Godhead.”
To summarize my understanding, not only is the Holy Trinity in view here, but the Holiness is identified as perfect and complete, to restate this mathematically I would use the word infinity. The Holiness of God is infinite and quite beyond human comprehension or explanation outside of the Word.
|The Wrath of God
“4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. 6 You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” Psalms 5:4-6 ESV
“evil may not dwell with you”
This would seem to indicate that sin is not permitted in the presence of God. It is not dust that one would casually brush of their shoulder. It is reprehensible to him and incurs his righteous wrath.
“2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies;” Isaiah 59:2-3 ESV
I believe that this speaks of every one of us as “all of sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So that would mean that our wicked sins have literally separated us from God. This ties into his Holiness because sin cannot be in his presence.
“5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 ESV
“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Romans 1:18 ESV
“36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36 ESV
“11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. 12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; 13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.” Psalms 7:11-13 ESV
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 ESV
What I see is that these verses, and many others, clearly teach that just as The Holiness of God is divine and infinite so too is his wrath. This is because the Wrath of God against sin is directly related to and because of his Holiness. Therefore one can logically conclude that the Wrath of God is as infinite and perfect as the Holiness of God.
This is the ultimate Biblical explanation of why Eternal Conscious Torment is just. Sins that to our wicked flesh don’t seem like a big deal, really are a big deal. The only reason that we believe we are good people is because we are so marinated in wickedness that we don’t know the difference.
Even one sin separates us from God, but none of us have only committed one sin. The Bible says we are born spiritually dead sinners:
“1 … you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-4 ESV
|The Love of God
In every sense that the Bible teaches that the Holiness and Wrath of God exist, it also teaches that the Love of God is real and meaningful.
“16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18 ESV
“4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV
“9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 ESV
Read this last verse I just posted very carefully and analyze the chain of love to the very end.
“The Love of God was made manifest among us”
“That we might live through him”
“his son to be the propitiation of our sins.”
This chain demonstrates the expressed purpose and application of God’s Love manifest among us. Just as The Holiness of God is perfect and infinite, so is The Wrath of God perfect and infinite. Just as the Wrath of God is perfect and infinite, so is the Love of God wherewith he provides the propitiation, the sacrifice of God, on the Cross for us. In this manner satisfying the perfect Wrath that his Holiness demands.
“24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 ESV
“21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
The Love of God is not a squishy malleable concept that means whatever you want it to mean. There is clearly defined theological meaning of the Love of God. He loves us so much that he provided the perfect sacrifice demanded by his perfect wrath and holiness.
This renders a common question moot:
“Why would a loving god send sinners to hell?”
The reason this is moot is that it is the very Love of God that saves sinners from hell. And any deviations from this abrogates the other Biblical attributes of God, thus committing the sin of idolatry.