Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “A loving God would not send people to hell.”
“What do you mean by ‘loving?’ A loving God must also be just, or His love is little more than an empty expression. If everyone was offered the same experience in the afterlife, how loving (or fair) would it be for Mother Teresa and Hitler to receive the same reward? Most of us can think of someone who should be punished: serial killers, child molesters, rapists. I bet you can also think of someone worthy of punishment, right? How loving would God be to reward these criminals rather than punish them? How fair would that be to their victims? Can a loving God be completely unjust and still considered loving?”
“What do you mean by ‘send’? Our eternal destination is predicated by our choice, not His. God wants us to join Him in heaven, but He won’t force people into his presence who don’t want to be there. Some people hate God; others ignore Him entirely. They don’t choose to seek Him, and they don’t want to spend eternity with Him. God honors those kinds of choices. People who neither seek nor want God in their lives won’t be forced to spend eternity with Him. How much more loving could God be? Don’t you want Him to honor the choices of those who deny Him?”
“What do you mean by ‘hell’? Most of us hold a notion of hell that is shaped more by tradition and culture than by the scriptures. For example, the Bible never describes hell as a place where people experience torture. Instead, it’s described as a place where people will be tormented. You can be tormented, for example, by simply making a bad choice (like choosing to deny God’s offer of heaven). The Bible describes levels and degrees of punishment. Some will be punished severely, some will only experience the torment and regret of being separated from God and believing family members for eternity. Have your notions of hell be shaped by popular fiction rather than the scriptures?”
Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.
For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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