Why Did a “Good” God Create Hell?

By Al Serrato

Many people today accuse God of unfairness.  Since God can foresee the future, they ask, why didn’t He simply never create all those he knows to be destined to spend eternity in Hell?   One skeptic I know put the question like this:

God supposedly knows everything that will happen before you are ever born, so if all your choices are set beforehand, how can they possibly matter? Furthermore, if God knows you will “choose” Hell before he creates you, why does he simply not create you? Personally, I would much prefer nonexistence to eternal torment. Is God deliberately creating people knowing they will end up in Hell? Then I would call him evil. Is he compelled to create people regardless of what he sees in their future? Then he doesn’t have free will, which would certainly be an interesting interpretation, but one I doubt many people share. Is there some other explanation? If so, I can’t think of it.

This challenge has a bit of intuitive appeal.  It seems to put God in a box, as it were, trapped between being “evil” for choosing to create rebellious creatures or lacking free will, by being unable to do otherwise.  Let’s take a closer look at the two horns of this apparent dilemma.

Good God Hell

To the Christian, “evil” is the label we give to words, thoughts or actions that deviate from God’s perfect will.  If we were created robots, there would be no evil in the world; we would operate exactly in accordance with God’s desires.  But in creating man, God did something quite different. He gave us “free will,” the capacity to rebel against him in our thoughts, words and actions. And rebel we did.  God “foresaw” this development, but only in a manner of speaking – a manner focused upon the waywe think.  This is because God is not bound by time. For him, there is no future to “foresee.”  There is only an eternal present.  All times – whether past, present or future – are accessible to him in this eternal present. Thus, at the moment of creation, God was aware that man would rebel, that he was rebelling, and that he had rebelled. He was aware of the acts and the consequences, the motivations and the ultimate end, of everyone.  Consistent with his nature for perfect fairness, he created a means by which man – though in rebellion and deserving punishment – could nonetheless find reunification with him.  But in implementing this scheme, he did not force this choice upon us. He gives us the means to salvation, but remains content in allowing us to choose which path we will follow.

Those who use their free will to turn toward him – more precisely, to accept his free gift of salvation – will find a welcoming father, ready to do the work needed to restore us. Those who use their free will to turn away from God – to reject his gift – will find that this choice too is honored.  Expecting God not to create those in this latter category would have two significant effects: it would show that God’s provision of free will is really a fiction, since only those who choose to do his will are actually created, and two, it would mean that Hell is a place of evil.  But Hell is a place – or perhaps more precisely a condition – which was created by God to serve a purpose. Since God does not create evil – i.e. he does not act against his own nature – then Hell cannot be a place of evil. Like a human prison, it may be inhabited by those bent on doing evil, but the place itself – and the confinement it effectuates – is actually a good, just as separating hardened criminals from society is a net positive for both the evil-doer and the society that is victimized.

Some will be tempted to argue that God should have forced this choice upon us anyway. Isn’t it better to be forced to love God then to spend eternity in Hell? Only, I suppose, if one believes it is better to be a robot than a thinking, self-aware and self-directed being.  There is no middle ground. Either free will is something real – with consequences attendant to the choices we make – or it’s a fiction.  One cannot have it both ways.

To recap: God is not trapped in an either/or dilemma. God is not “evil” for having created, because in the end he treats his creation fairly, giving each what he or she deserves.  Since he values free will enough to have given it to us, he apparently intends to make that gift real by allowing some to reject him. Likewise, God is not lacking in free will, because he is not “compelled” to create against his will. Since Hell is not a place for eternal torture, but an appropriate destination for all rebellious human beings, God does not violate his own nature – does not engage in “evil” – when he separates himself from some of his creation.

What this challenge brings into focus is not some internal inconsistency in our conception of God. No, what it highlights is just how different our thinking is as compared to God’s. For like the skeptic, many would view the decision to create nothing all – neither good nor bad people – to be a better – a more noble – alternative.  Yet God sees things quite a bit differently, it seems.

In the end, that he views things differently should not really surprise us. Our judgment as to right and wrong, good and evil, has been corrupted by our rebellion. Since we all share this fallen nature,  we should realize that we are not in the best position to render judgment as to the way eternal things “ought to be.” We wouldn’t ask a group of incarcerated rapists for guidance on issues of sexual mores; nor would we consult death row inmates for advice on how best to treat one another. Perhaps, in the same way, God has little need to consult with us to determine what ultimate “fairness” demands.

No, the Creator of the universe may occupy a slightly better position to judge matters eternal. We might be wise to heed him, rather than try to ensnare him in a “logical” trap.

Notes

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2yXda71

 


 

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34 replies
  1. David says:

    Al, you begin with the statement, “Many people today accuse God of unfairness.” Not really, they attack your philosophy of god because it doesn’t make sense. They are questioning your logic and the logic of the bible. Al, a good god did not create hell. Ancient, barbaric, ignorant, fearful men created hell. Men like those which currently populate ISIS. Men, who understood the controlling power of the emotion of fear created the concept of hell. Ask yourself, if god is so beautiful, so attractive, so desirable, why the need for the coercive element of fear? Your article is just a poor rationalization for the fact that you have fallen in love with an imaginary being that you believe will in the future horribly torture most every creature that has ever lived. And, you’re asking us to join you in your neurosis. Becoming a Christian is not a free will choice. It is a choice between obedience and torture. What kind of choice is that? Did your parents ever tell you that you could love and obey them or they would chain you to the wall in the basement and torture you? And if you did decide to “love” them under those conditions would that really be love? That’s a very twisted sort of love. Devotion to Christ is, in my mind, a form of Stockholm Syndrome. According to your myth, you love a god that will eternally torture hundreds maybe thousands of people that you personally would find perfectly delightful. And help me out with the purpose of dealing out retribution to the lost. What does that accomplish? It’s not rehabilitative, it’s not instructive, it’s not restorative. It’s pure vengeance. That’s the best this loving god can do? I don’t buy it. And it’s not proportional either. Would you cut your child’s hand off for slapping his sibling? Al, I would venture to guess that you are much move loving, forgiving and compassionate than the god in which you believe.
    And Al, god absolutely did create evil. What, according to your belief system, did god not create? If he didn’t create it, who did? How did Lucifer have the ability to rebel if evil did not exist? Did evil “evolve”? Did Lucifer create evil? Does he have creative power too? How on earth can you say hell is not evil? It is the essence of evil. If hell is not evil, Hitler was not evil. I don’t care what your counterintuitive, apologetic “god” logic tells you. And for the record, I’m not raging against god here. I’m raging against the bad ideas of which you are a victim.

    Reply
    • Graham Jeacocke says:

      Fear? Do the government put fear if you do not get educated to a standard by threatening you with a poor place in society as a result? Bear gryles is a christian. Ask yourself does he put fear into the competitors on his survival show WHY? The reality of being there has consequences if you do not trust him. Likewise if christ from thr bible is true as deacribed then his warning about what lays ahead must be considered. Not an empty fear but a helpful fear.

      Reply
    • Aaron says:

      You’re raging against a God you say doesn’t exist, swinging wildly with nothing to stabilize you. How are you defining good and evil without Him?

      The above is a mess, but I think a lot of the confusion has to do with “Is their such a thing as righteous wrath?”, which is a related topic, but not the topic of the blog.

      Reply
      • David says:

        “The above is a mess”, don’t just make a claim Aaron. Take one of my points above and explain for us why I’m wrong without your special Christian apologist logic. No special pleading, no counterintuitive junior varsity arguments, debunk one of my claims. Here’s one: How can you view god as anything other than horribly brutal and uncompassionate for creating man when he knew most would suffer eternally? I’m not saying he did. I’m saying, according to your sacred text, that’s what he did. Please Aaron, answer this question. I have posed it on this blog more times than I can count and no one has ever even acknowledged that I asked it let alone tried to answered it. I challenge you to answer it. You won’t because the only possible answer is that the god portrayed in the bible must be evil and callous.
        Man gave morality to the bible Aaron not the other way around. It was all the result of trial and error. I know this is very hard for a Christian to accept but it’s true. Look at the evolution of that morality from old to new testament. It’s funny how the bible claims that god never changes yet he changes radically from the old to the new. Anyone who denies this is simply dishonest. It’s no surprise that Marcion tried to divorce Jesus from Yahweh. What sane person doesn’t have the same impulse.

        Reply
        • Lola says:

          God didn’t create us in order to Fall. He created man in His image to be His partners. God has always been about partnership: that’s why it’s not just God “up there” on His own.

          (Now what I’m about to say is not necessarily in chronological order, since we’re re-evaluating God’s concept of time.) One of His created companions didn’t want a world with God in it (you can guess who that is). So this guy was the first to leave. Right now we don’t know what it took for satan to be able to turn away from the presence of God and still be alive. But he did it.
          So if God is good, evil is what results when there is no God or good. Satan is completely removed from God, and with satan is all the evil there is. There’s your evil.

          If you want to know why God even created us at all – I don’t think He was ever *not* going to; again, companionship is His nature. I think that regardless of satan’s choice, God was going to create us. You want to know why He allowed the Fall to happen? We allowed it to happen when we made our choice (Yes, now that there’s a choice, we get to make that choice). But even after we made our choice – when He could have completely removed His presence from us – He chose to stick around.
          He was there in the OT: looking back we can see the poor condition mankind was in back then, because now the world is with evil and sin. Again, remember we could have been surrendered to death completely, but He stuck with us, guiding us through with His chosen leaders (prophets and Godly rulers). But even they were only human and not immune to the forces of evil.
          And then there He was still, in the New Testament, but this time bringing down His Spirit to be with us on Earth, to work with us to help us turn away from evil.
          And here He is now, today, everyday, calling us to turn back to Him. Giving us another chance to turn away from evil. For as long as we live we get that chance to think again, to reconsider His way or the opposite way. What’s so horrible about this? He’s using so many ways to reach us and to warn us, but we still don’t want to listen.

          This period that we’re going through right now, that’s Him asking us “Are you sure it will all work without me who created you? Look at this world of sin now, it’s not so great already. At some point I have to leave this all behind. And without me, hell is what will happen. I can’t exist in the same realm as evil forever. Even though you made your choice, I’m giving you one last chance to be with me in my pureness, goodness, and absoluteness.”

          Are you sure all will be okay without God? Your time here is the last chance he’s giving you to decide.

          Reply
          • David says:

            You still haven’t answered the question Lola. Why is it not evil for a god to create knowing that most of his creation will suffer eternal conscious torment? Wouldn’t it be more compassionate to simply not create? You also act like god just showed up on the scene one day to find that some power outside himself had created this horrible place called hell and he just had to live with it. There was nothing he could do to get rid of it so he had to come up with a plan to keep a very select few out of it. And again, I don’t believe this is true, I’m questioning the logic and ethic of your worldview.

          • Aviv says:

            How do you reconcile some of the contradictions?

            god gives humans free will, but god also supercedes free will on many occasions. An unambiguous example is from Exodus–god hardens Pharaoh’s heart. In this story, moses pleads to pharaoh but god intervenes and as a result, pharaoh doesnt cooperate with moses. If there is even a singular instance where god intervenes with free will (and there is far more than one example) then how do we ever know that we are truly exercising free will?

            God created us, and god created hell. God also gave us brains and the ability to reason. Why, then, does god insist on relying upon the WORST of possible methods to deliver his message? Surely, god should understand the tenets of logic and reasoning. He ought to understand that anectdotal evidence should not be taken at face value and that we should expect to be able to demonstrate claims; surely god understands that faith is not a rational (its the evidence of things unseen…well if i cant see it, why should i accept it?). I dont know what it would take for me to be convinced a god exists, but that god ABSOLUTELY should know what it would take to convince me, yet this hasn’t happened yet; does god not want me to know? Why would god send someone to hell for simply having doubts? Again, he made us rational, so why should i be punished for exercising the tool he gave us (humanity alone was given this gift of reasoning and we’re expected to NOT use it?). I dont choose to go to hell, god sends me there–he made hell and he made the criteria by which souls are judged, which determines who goes to eternal damnation. If he created the punishment, chooses how to implement that punishment, AND has the means to guarantee i dont go there (by choosing to reveal himself to me), how is it moral to condem people to hell? Furthermore, how is it moral to have a loop-hole whereby anyone can potentially be saved EXCEPT for the one unforgivable sin–blaspheming against the holy spirit. So, in principle, we could have a murdering, child rapist truly repent and beg for forgiveness and mercy AND BE SAVED…and on the other hand, we have someone who dedicated his life to helping others, lived selflessly,etc, etc, EXCEPT they didnt accept jesus christ…and they would be damned to hell for all eternity. THIS IS NOT MORAL. It is akin to intellectual terrorism.
            for the record, ultimate justice and mercy are mutually exclusive; mercy is the suspension of justice, so you cannot have absolute justice while allowing for its suspension…thats just contradictory

  2. Susan Tan says:

    It’s really too bad that the majority of Christianity has gotten misinformed into believing the false eternal torment doctrine.

    The Bible says Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Not the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of believers only.

    It is really sad to think that Christianity has forced itself to conform to a false eternal torment doctrine when the Bible says it is God’s will that everyone be saved and there is no human able to thwart God’s will though there have been plenty of religious leaders determined to control the masses as if all of God’s authority was reposed in them alone to interpret God’s Word.

    Check the texts. Check the key words. Read John Wesley Hanson’s online essay “Aion-Aionios” on the translation errors.

    God’s will is to save everyone and no one can stop God though the order of salvation could be somewhat mysterious and hard to fathom. The Bible also says God saves each in his own order.

    The Bible never says the wages of sin is hell. It says the wages of sin is death.

    So why do people keep meting out hell sentences to unrepentant sinners and unbelievers? Because they heard it over and over but a review of the ancient key words doesn’t support that conclusion. Unfortunately most either don’t know to check the key words or don’t know the exact meaning of certain words at the time in which they were written.

    So hell doctrine has been allowed to proliferate erroneously for a long time and was exacerbated by Dante’s artistic depictions of it.

    Check the texts and get the biblical doctrine straight.

    Read 1 Cor. 5. Believers judge other believers not unbelievers.

    As Christians we’re suppose to be communicating the doctrine of reconciliation which is a joyful message.

    Not a warning. Not a message of condemnation.

    The Gospel is all love, joy and peace.

    When the text says Christ takes away the sin of the world believe it.

    That is not a qualified statement.

    The problem isn’t who is going to hell.

    It is who is going to be spiritually born in this lifetime. Read John 3.

    Christ said “You must be born again.”

    Reply
    • David says:

      Susan, You’ve got a lot of splanin to do with Romans 9. That monstrous chapter even says that god created those who would be lost and suffer eternal torment so that those he had created for election would see just how blessed they were to be recipients of his mercy. That’s like me torturing one of my children at Christmas time so the other child, by contrast, would really appreciate the presents I gave them.

      Reply
      • Aviv says:

        i think it pivots around the idea that you cannot have reward without punishment; that contrast must exist. What exactly would it mean to be rewarded if everybody got the same reward? If that were the case, you’re not actually rewarded with anything…you’re just getting the same as everyone else. In order to get that reward, it has to be different (and better) than what some other person gets. (I’m sure this goes without saying but) Considering this from an anthropological point-of-view, its a way to incentivize “good” behaviors and cultural norms; its the old carrot and stick.

        Reply
    • Jay says:

      Susan, you seem to be the one who has bought into the lie that everyone is saved. Your doctrine negates almost everything Christ Himself said. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
      Or when He spoke of the wide road leading to destruction and why we must stay on the narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14). He wasn’t talking about unbelievers on that wide road; Jews in that day ONLY spoke about those who THOUGHT they were right with God.
      Or maybe Jesus was only joking when He said many who called Him Lord would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven and instead would hear Him call the ‘evildoers’ and send them away (Matthew 7:21-23).
      Or perhaps Jesus was just wasting breath talking about weeping and gnashing of teeth. Read His parables. The wedding feast, for example, shows that unrepentent sinners will be cast out.
      Sure, hell might not be fire and brimstone, but eternal separation from God will still be torment once the unbeliever faces judgment and is cast out.
      Or perhaps Jesus was only teasing us by describing the torment of the rich man who ignored Lazarus and who begged Abraham to send Lazarus to him to wet his lips that were burning in agony.
      Jesus came to give hope to the world by dying on the cross because we could never do enough to bridge the gap between our sin and God. But one must accept the free gift and submit themselves to His authority to receive it. If that doesn’t happen in this life, then guess what? It’s hell for them, whatever you want to describe it as, it will be worse than any suffering in this life.
      Perhaps spend time in His word again and understand what some of these parables and his direct quotes were talking about.
      I pray God will open your eyes to the Truth. The only truth.
      You are correct in that we are not to just unbelievers but share the gospel, the good news. If they choose to ignore it and refuse to accept Christ into their lives, they won’t be entering into Heaven.
      If you don’t want God in this life, He loves us too much to force us into His presence in Heaven.

      Reply
      • Susan Tan says:

        Well God bless you and keep you but I researched the “lie” as you call it and find it to be more true than the traditional eternal tormentist view.

        I know this great a difference in belief could cause a split in Christian unity but I think it is more important to be clear on exactly who God is.

        God sent His Son to reconcile the world. Did He reeally fail at His mission by leaving everything to corrupt sinful man’s free will?

        I don’t believe so. God is ultimately in control of everything and free will has accorded too much respect to men and puts them in the driver seat as if their decision is controlling.

        Are our decisions important? Probably. God gave us the ability to make decisions but still the Word says God saves each in His own order.

        I find eternal torment to be a fear doctrine and I don’t see a loving and forgiving God teaching His children to be fearful because too much fear is counter productive.

        So the eternal torment came either from the mind of a fearful man or from someone trying to control God’s children.

        The Gospel is free. Anyone can research this topic. But the fear interpretation got forced onto Christianity early in it’s history and we have had trouble shaking it ever since.

        David wasn’t afraid. God picked him because he would take on Goliath.

        So why do we keep hampering ourselves with a fear doctrine when it says perfect love casts out fear?

        A people which doesn’t know ancient Greek or Hebrew is at the mercy of it’s interpreters and so far we have a long line of interpreters going back to Jerome in the Catholic Church sowing a fear doctrine in Christian ranks.

        But check it out. Is God really going to return us to a state of living in fear when He sene His Son to set us free?

        Error can be learned and transmitted generationally and hell doctrine became inculcated erroneously back when the Catholics locked everything up in Latin.

        Obviously they didn’t want the masses of God’s children learning the full truth or they would lose their places of doctrinal pre eminence.

        But that place belongs to God and Christ alone.

        We worship a Person. Doctrine is just how we explain who He is.

        Reply
  3. Aaron says:

    I never got hung up on this one although I can see how a lot of people wonder about the problem of Evil and predestination. (Maybe my thinking is just simplistic.) Just because God knows what you’re going to do, doesn’t mean he is controlling you and that you don’t have free will. Evil exists due to free will, first on the part of Satan then on the part of man.

    Saying “God created evil” is like saying “the law created criminals.” I’m sure God would have been happier with the outcome of man never doing evil, just like a lawmaker would be happier if no one broke the law. Making criminals when you make a law is an unintended consequence; you hope it doesn’t happen but it probably will. When God created Adam and Eve, there was a possibility that there never would have been evil. How can you then claim that evil was created by God? It was a outgrowth of free will, and the article above does a great job discussing the necessity of free will. To use another analogy, it’s like saying the atom bomb is Marie Curie’s fault because she studied radioactivity. She didn’t actively make the bomb and I doubt she would have wanted to, but, she worked on things that help create it, so it’s her fault. She died in 1934 and the Manhattan Project started in 1942, but by David’s reasoning it’s partly her fault, which seems bit outlandish.

    Evil then is just doing what is contrary to God’s nature. Yes, breaking the rules has consequences, but most of those on Earth are natural consequences of the act. Sexual immorality leads to spreading disease, for example. Lying gives you a reputation for being untrustworthy to other people. Etc. Christianity is unique among the world’s religions in that salvation doesn’t come through what you do or don’t do. It’s a choice you make to follow Christ or not.

    One place that people get hung up here is with the many rules of Moses explicitly for the Jews. Some of those were just downright contrary to God, e.g., murder. Others were to make the Jews different and to give them a unique culture. The Jews were going to be scattered, but they need to remain a distinct group because they have important roles to play.

    Hell perhaps isn’t as much a place of punishment as it is a place of giving man want he wants. All we are asked to do is accept Christ and be saved to life with him. If you reject Him and don’t want to spend eternity with Christ, God made a place where you can do that too. Torment outside the protection of God isn’t even necessarily being done by God. If demons can torture us here on Earth, how much easier for them is it in hell?

    Reply
    • toby says:

      How can you then claim that evil was created by God? It was a outgrowth of free will, and the article above does a great job discussing the necessity of free will.
      If your god has a plan, as people like to say, then god’s plan requires evil. If evil is part of god’s plan, how can you justify calling evil things bad?

      Reply
      • Aaron says:

        Why does God’s plan require evil? Evil exists, but that’s by our doing not his. It’s a product of free will in his creation. Evil wasn’t a requirement. Adam and Eve could have stayed in Eden forever, but decided to disobey. Again, he knew this was going to happen, but that’s not the same as requiring it.

        Reply
        • toby says:

          I don’t see a way to avoid his plan requiring evil. You hear it all of the time, people claiming that a murder or whatnot is “all part of his plan”. If that’s the case then he requires evil to carry out his plan. If he has a plan for someone that they get molested and from this they turn into some kind of holy evangelist that brings many people to religion, how can you say that he doesn’t need evil?

          Reply
          • Aaron says:

            This gets to the problem of evil. I think anyone who would say that some terrible event is “all part of His plan” is probably using poor theology. God can use terrible events to his (and to our favor), but the question was did he create evil? The answer is ‘no’. Does He allow hardship in our lives for what will end up being a net good, probably. God is managing evil rather than creating it.

            If you like, you can think of Adam and Eve in the Garden forever as Plan A. He created everything and then said, “It is good.” Why did the bible include that? Because it was important. At that point there was no evil; everything was literally good. Adam sins and that puts on Plan B. Again, God knew it was going to happen, but he didn’t make it happen.

          • toby says:

            Again, God knew it was going to happen, but he didn’t make it happen.
            But he’s omniscient. So he knew it would happen and if there is such a thing as a plan he needed it to happen because he supposedly knows everything that has and ever will happen. How do you call anything evil at all in that case? Something is either evil or good in your view. Evil cannot equal good. Therefore if good happens because a certain set of circumstances I don’t think you have any footing to say that those circumstances are evil, be they theft or lies or genocide.

            To me it seems that the problem of evil isn’t a problem at all because there is no evil because everything turns out how your god wants it too. According to you god is not evil, is the standard of good, so anything that happens is because of him and cannot be evil.

  4. jcb says:

    I’m only commenting on the last paragraph:
    Nothing shows that our judgment is corrupted by our rebellion, unless that means, sometimes our judgments are false. But of course, sometimes our judgments are true. Given this, we should only realize that we might be wrong about the next thing, but not that we ARE thereby wrong about the next thing. Nor does it follow, and nor is it the case, that we know of a judgment outside of this universe whose judgments are better/more accurate.

    We are not in the ideal situation to render judgments, in that we don’t know everything. But the mistake here is to assume wrongly that there is something that knows everything, or something supernatural whose judgments we know to be better. We know of no such thing.

    Using the logic of the author, we should not consult human doctors when trying to cure an illness, but instead pray. This of course, has predictable, tragic results.

    It is also worth mentioning that in the last paragraph the author says “perhaps”, “may” and “might” in the final sentences. Such weasel words end up saying nothing of significance.

    And perhaps there might be giant unicorns that may enjoy playing rugby…

    We should use our the best judgments that we know of. As of now, those are judgments by humans (and perhaps animals as to whether they smell a danger approaching).

    Reply
  5. Andy Ryan says:

    “In the end, that he views things differently should not really surprise us. Our judgment as to right and wrong, good and evil, has been corrupted by our rebellion.”
    .
    Then how can you describe God as ‘good’ or ‘righteous’ with any confidence, given that you admit yourself that you have very poor judgement?

    Reply
  6. Joyce says:

    The creation of Hell has no bearing on God being ‘good’ or ‘evil’. The original purpose of Hell is a very simple one: its the holding place of the fallen angels and captured demonic entities until God judges them. According to the book of Enoch, there are several Hells, guarded by angels, to keep the evil entities away from humans. Before the Flood, God had Michael and several more of the archangels take prisoner the 33 (or more, depending on what literature you read) Watchers who had corrupted humankind and taught them forbidden arts (astrology, metallurgy, medicine) and cast them into darkness, chained until the day of judgement. Hell is a prison, one I’m grateful for considering the way Evil seems to be moving in closer and closer and closer all the time. We’re dealing with a lot of home-grown wickedness: I’d hate to think about having to deal with what God commanded be chained up, and it took the strenght of angels to do it. No thanks.

    Reply
    • Jay says:

      The book of Enoch is not an inspired work of God. Anything in it cannot be held up to God’s word. As I’ve been taught, you cannot take any verse, chapter, or single book and make assumptions based on it outside the scope and breadth of the entire Bible, God’s Holy Word. According to Isaiah and Revelation, there is only one archangel, not several. Hell is a real place and yes, there are many levels to it, but the demons, the fallen angels, have never been secured in hell. Satan himself is often referred to as the prince of this world. He wouldn’t be prince if he was locked in hell and Jesus wouldn’t have had to drive out demons (fallen angels) if they were under guard in hell.
      Bad doctrine is what leads to misinformation, misunderstanding, and worshiping a false gospel.

      Reply
  7. JCS says:

    If I may add to this discussion after reading the previous posts. Isiah 58:8 NLT “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Therefore, none of us can logically explain the Workings of God in a logical, analytical basis, for His Ways are indeed a mystery. The part of God, that part that He Has Revealed to us is beautiful in its simplicity, yet, at the same time awesome and unfathomable! As for Lucifer, he was a created being, an angel, and man, we were created in a little lesser way than the angels. Angels were given free-will, but not the same as man’s free-will. Most of us are familiar with the battle in Heaven, well part of it began when God decided to give man “free-will” Lucifer was in opposition to God’s Plan for us. Having free-will Lucifer, although dearly loved by God, chose to, with 1/3 of the angels in Heaven to overthrow God, ergo, the battle in Heaven. Lucifer at this point sinned against God and was cast out of Heaven along with the angels that sided with him. Being that God is Holy, He had to distance Himself from Lucifer. Remember, Lucifer is still an angel, although a fallen one, and can only do what an angel is capable of doing, however, God is still in control of what Lucifer does. Nowadays, the average person is more readily to indicate their belief in ghosts and demons than their belief in God. Throughout the ages, Hell has been seen, especially due to Dante’s Inferno, and man’s own imagery, as being this place of unspeakable evil, torment and horrific acts. It may very well be all that I’ve just mentioned, however, for me, the thought of being distanced from God for Eternity is my comprehension of Hell. Is it that having free will leaves me only two choices regarding my eternal destiny, well I would ask one question which is in life, what about those situations that we have only but one choice that we can make? Yes, I’ve used my free will, with no hidden agenda, to know a Living God who has worked in miraculous ways in my life that I could not otherwise chalk-up to fate, coincidence or chance, the evidence for me of answered prayer is irrefutable! 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent. This particular verse in scripture says it all, God doesn’t want to lose anyone, but it’s our decision, our free will to accept God or not. I am certain that as it is said “It is appointed once for a man to die, then comes the judgment”, that God Will be Merciful. He is well aware that we’re all imperfect beings, although, for some, ego will not allow for this thought and this is OK too!

    Reply
    • Jay says:

      You are certain that God will be merciful and forgive everyone? That sounds like what you’re saying here, and that is inaccurate. God is perfect love, perfect peace, and perfect justice. If He offers mercy to everyone at judgment, whether they repented or not, then Christ died for nothing.
      Over and over again Jesus spoke about weeping and gnashing of teeth. He told us how many who call him Lord would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He warned us to find the small gate because the wide gate leads to destruction.
      If everyone will be offered mercy at judgment, then what was the point of his life, suffering, and death? There wouldn’t have been a point.
      Ergo, if that’s what you’re claiming, please consider your doctrinal foundation because it is completely flawed and dangerous, to you and anyone God may have put in your path to lead back to Him.

      Reply
  8. Kendrick says:

    “Since Hell is not a place for eternal torture, but an appropriate destination for all rebellious human beings, God does not violate his own nature – does not engage in “evil” – when he separates himself from some of his creation.”

    Since young I’ve heard tht Hell is a place of eternal torment, fire & birmstone…Do you mean Hell is not a place as such in its original condition? But only as a consequence of its inhabitants?

    Much like a prison conpound is physically not an evil place but if the inhabitants are given free rein then it changes?

    Reply
  9. Mikkel says:

    To say that God is in a better position to judge what is better is kind of difficult to comprehend. When we as humans are reasoning as to what is better and we seem to lean towards no free will with no eternal damnation, that is all we have to go by. To say that God knows better isnt much of an answer. It seems like it is saying, “Ya it may be better to have no free will, but im sure God has reason for his decisions”. How am I to be satisfied with that answer?

    Reply
  10. Joyful says:

    I’m reading all of these replies and I wish that people could just stop and think about what they are saying. It isn’t this hard. Everything in this universe repeats various truths over and over and over and so we can look at one area and see the truth in the other. For example, let’s look at the subject of Light. When the scientist studies white light, he is studying a finite thing that is the complete combination of all of the colors of light in the universe. In fact, because white light is this combination, in art color theory, white is not classified as a color but as a “tint” because it is the combination of all color. So scientists measure light, quantify light and experiment with light. But scientists don’t study Dark. Dark is not a finite reality. It is nothing more than a word that we have given the state of the absence of light. In art color theory, black is not considered a color either. It is called a shade because it is nothing more than the absence of all color/light. It is only quantified and measured according to Light and how much Light is present or not present. Take away Light and we have Dark. But we can’t take away Dark and get Light. We must ADD Light. And so, if a person is sitting in the Dark, it is because he or she has not turned on the light and has chosen to sit in the dark. And that person can absolutely refuse to accept this concept but they will still end up in the Dark.

    This same truth Is revealed in the concept of Heaven and Hell and Good and Evil. It says in scripture that only God is the true Good. In other words, God and Good is what Is finite. We can study God, have a relationship with Him and know His Good because of that relationship. In fact, all people on earth experience some of His Good because they are mixed in with those people with whom He has a relationship and they benefit from their blessings. (Look up the account of the wheat and the tares and you’ll get the picture) But Evil is just a word that we give to the state of being without God and His Good. If God is not in the mix, the result is Evil and Evil is only measured by how much of God and His Good are absent.

    Every human being has the chance to accept the truth of God and His Good on His terms. He explains and explains and explains how one can have a relationship with Him. All He asks is that one accept the fact that His physical presence was right here on earth as Jesus Christ and that He actually offered Himself as a sacrifice in order for us to be able to stand before His absolutely pure and perfect holiness. That’s it. However, if one refuses to accept that and says that he or she does not want to do things the way God has carefully offered, one makes the decision to live without God and His Good. One is like that person who chooses to sit in the Dark because one has decided not to turn on the light. The thing is, that as I said, here on earth there is always going to be the chance of experiencing God’s good just as a side effect of dwelling with His people. But on death, that coexistence goes away and those who had a relationship on earth with God will spend eternity with Him and all of His perfect Good. Those who said on earth that they wanted no part of God’s way are totally separated from Him BY CHOICE – THEIR CHOICE. Being separated from God means NOTHING good. It means pain, sorrow, thirst, heat, cold, hopelessness, sickness and all of the things that are what we call part of evil. That Is not a created state. It is a chosen state. It’s the person choosing to sit in the Dark and it doesn’t matter that they refuse to accept the concept. They are still sitting in the Dark. We all have an eternal nature because we are made in God’s image. OUR choice is how we spend eternity – WITH God and His Good or Without God and His Good. It’s as simple as that.

    Reply
  11. Barry Jones says:

    This is basically just the classic “freewill” defense to the problem of evil, and there are multiple reasons to reject it:

    1 – 5-Point Calvinists and others in Christianity believe the bible teaches God has predestined people to sin, and didn’t simply look into the future and know that they would sin. Serrato does little more than blindly presume that among Christianity’s multiple historical and morbid disagreements with itself on freewill and God’s sovereignty, his particular views clip the others.

    2 – Fundies like Serrato are required to believe that sinners “deserve” whatever harmful circumstances God causes them to endure in their lives, given his presupposition that we don’t “deserve” any of God’s graces or protections whatsoever. Under that ill-advised presupposition, then God only causes women to be raped (Deut. 28:15, 30) because he thinks they “deserve” to be raped. See also Isaiah 13:15-16. The bible answerman finally went far enough to tell the world how self-deceived he was by saying literal hell is an expression of God’s love…will Serrato got to a similar extreme and argue that non-Christian women “deserve” to be raped whenever the God of Deut. 28:30 causes them to be raped?

    3 – Serrato cannot reconcile his apparently libertarian notion of human freewill with the mental pictures brought to mind by the metaphor of God using a hook in the jaws of pagans to force them to sin, Ezekiel 38:4 ff. Turning a person about by pulling on the hook embedded in their jaws, doesn’t exactly sound synonymous with “God respects human freewill”.

    4 – How much time does Serrato say an atheist should spend researching all those Christian scholars who disagree with his Evangelical perspective? If he cannot know what amount of time is minimally required, how can he fault atheists who cite to Christianity’s ceaseless internal disagreements as rational warrant to avoiding the whole business?

    I respond to his article in full at http://turchisrong.blogspot.com/2017/10/crossexaminedorg-why-did-good-god.html

    Reply
  12. Bruce P. says:

    “In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a questions: ” What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and , at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.” From C.S. Lewis’ book, The Problem of Pain, chapter on Hell.

    Reply
  13. bob says:

    “If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men…. What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.”
    ~ Robert G. Ingersoll
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    Reply
  14. ben says:

    The free will theodicy makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. God has freewill, and cannot sin, and souls in heaven have freewill and cannot sin there, so God could have (and would have if he existed) created Adam and Eve, and every being to have freewill, and not be able to sin. And even if you say that one must be able to sin in order to have freewill (which would mean God, and souls in heaven would lack freewill) that still doesn’t explain suffering, because God could have, and would have created a world in which we had freewill, and always used it to do good. He doesn’t need to “force” us to do good, or have to make us like robots. All God would have to do to ensure that we would not sin, and still maintain our freewill, is to use his foreknowledge to his advantage, and choose to create a world where he foreknows nobody will ever sin. Simple, and straightforward. Don’t create nothing at all, don’t create a world filled with robots, and certainly don’t create a world where we are free, and we do wrong. Create a world filled with free creatures who always use their free will to do what is right. God created Jesus with foreknowledge that he would be free, and never sin, so why couldn’t he have done that with everybody else?

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