Tag Archives: Degrees of Punishment

J Warner Wallace answers: can a loving God send people to Hell?

J Warner Wallace
J Warner Wallace

I stole this image from James Warner Wallace’s Facebook page. Without asking. He is a cold case detective. So, I could get arrested. If I suddenly stop blogging, then would one of you please bail me out of jail?

Now just a quick note about the title of this post. I do NOT believe that a loving God “sends people to Hell”. I think people freely choose to separate themselves from God because they don’t want to relate to him. People who go to Heaven are people who freely choose to respond to God’s unilateral offer of forgiveness. People who go to Hell are those who freely chose to reject his offer of forgiveness.

Anyhoo, six podcasts on Hell from Please Convince Me.

Number 1:

In the wake of Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins,” many people are beginning to question the nature and existence of Hell and how exactly God decides who must go there. For many, the idea that our temporal, finite sin on earth should deserve an eternal punishment of infinite torment in hell is ridiculously inequitable. Why would God torture infinitely those who have only sinned finitely? Jim addresses this objection and answers listener email.

The MP3 file is here.

Number 2:

A loving God would never create a place like Hell, would He? Any God that would send people to a place of punishment and torment is unloving by definition, right? In this podcast, Jim responds to these foundational objections to the existence of Hell. In addition, Jim comments on the Harris / Craig debate and answers listener email related to hearing God’s voice.

The MP3 file is here.

Number 3:

In this podcast, Jim answers the objection that God would send people like Gandhi to Hell (simply because they are not Christians) alongside people like Hitler (who have committed unspeakable atrocities). How can a reasonable and just God be the source of such inequitable punishment? Also Jim answers listener email related to the power of prayer, the importance of evidential apologetics and the grounding for objective morality.

The MP3 file is here.

Number 4:

Isn’t it unfair for God to penalize people who are otherwise good, just because they haven’t heard about Jesus? A good God would not send good people to Hell. Jim responds to this objection and answers listener email related to the Craig/Harris debate, pre-existing mythologies that are similar to Jesus, and the difficult, exclusive nature of “election”.

The MP3 file is here.

Number 5:

If God is all-loving, why doesn’t he “reform” people rather than simply “punish” them in Hell? Skeptics sometimes argue that a God who simply punishes his children in Hell is a sadistic and vengeful God, unworthy of our worship. Jim responds to this objection and answers listener email related to the nature of “election”, the evidence for “annihilationism”, and a political quote related to same sex marriage.

The MP3 file is here.

Number 6:

A Loving God would love all of His creation, right? Wouldn’t He make sure that everyone goes to Heaven (regardless of what they might believe in this life)? A loving God would never limit Heaven to a select few and allow billions of people to suffer in Hell, would He? Jim responds to these objections and answers listener email related to Christian “essentials”, the appropriate response to fallen teachers and the nature of “debate” as it relates to Richard Dawkins and William Lane Craig.

The MP3 file is here.

I’m listening to the last one right now, and he is really mad at Rob Bell for being evasive in his debate with Adrian Warnock. I could not agree more. I was writing up a snarky summary of that debate but Bell literally made my ears bleed with his disingenuous questioning of anyone who asked him straight yes or no questions. Sometimes I feel like the bad guy for being harsh and snarky with certain people, but Wallace was just as upset with Bell as I was with Bell.

There could be more podcasts coming in this series, but these are so good I though I would link to them right away. I’ll keep an eye out for new ones.

The one thing I do disagree with J Warner Wallace on is that he is a Calvinist, and I believe in the middle knowledge view of salvation. William Lane Craig has written about his concerns with Calvinism, and I talk about those concerns in this post and link to some debates in there as well.

Related to the problem of Hell, is the problem of religious pluralism – what about people who say that you can follow any religion and still be approved by God? Here is a debate on religions pluralism, featuring the king of pluralism John Hick.

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