Take Away Hell and It’s All Good… Right?
by Jason Wisdom
"A good and loving god wouldn't send anyone to Hell." This is a common objection raised by opponents of Christianity and even some Christians. The implication is that the Christian God, if He exists, isn't good and loving since He sends some people to Hell. Therefore, even if He exists, He isn't worthy of worship. So, the general objection is: God does X, and X is not good and loving; therefore, God is not good and loving." Remember this formula, because I want to look at it again in a moment.
Rather than start by pointing out the problems with this objection, I would rather take it at face value and see where it leads me. If God sends people to Hell, then He is not good and loving. Okay, let's work with that. Now, before we dive into the deep end, please understand that I am working with this objection and only this objection here. I understand that there are a lot of related issues, but I do not have space to address them all in this space. Furthermore, I am taking it on its own terms, which requires at least the possibility that God exists (e.g. If God
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exists then...). Otherwise, the objection is just nonsense--akin to saying, "The tooth fairy is a jerk because she is always stealing children's teeth." With that preface, here is my train of thought.
What if God didn't send people to Hell? Presumably that would be good and loving, and eliminate the problem. For the moment, ignore everything that is wrapped up in that question, such as the biblical teaching on Hell, the historical Christian teachings on Hell etc. Dump your brain for a second and try to imagine an alternate universe where God exists and human beings exist but God does not send any of them to Hell (which is a noun that doesn't exist in this universe, so we will just say that God doesn't punish anyone). Would that be a world where no one calls God's goodness and love into question? I don't think so.
The way I see it, there are only a couple of ways that such a universe could exist…