A Loving God and Hell

I heard on a podcast this morning a question about why God didn’t create a world where more or even all people went to heaven. No one is comfortable with the idea of people going to hell. But the question I am interested in is: Does this contradict the idea of God as being loving? Let’s reflect on this through a parable.

Parable of the Grandfather

There once was a grandfather who could read the signs of the times. There was an increase in war, crime, pollution and injustice. This grandfather had many children and from them he had many grandchildren. He was worried about them. Since he was a billionaire, he decided to do something. He bought an island and built a huge house with every comfort imaginable and plenty of room for the entire family. It was protected from the outside wars and even had the technology to take care of the pollution problem. The grandfather was very happy with what he created and he sent out invitations to all his children and grandchildren. It ended up that only one-third of the family accepted his invitation.

What should the grandfather do? What does he want? He wants all his family on the safe island. But does that mean that she should send armed guards to kidnap the rest of the family, force them on the island and prevent them for leaving? Is that what a loving grandfather would do? What this grandfather really wants is for as many of his family who want to be there to live on the island. Having two-thirds of the family there against their wishes would prevent this island from becoming the paradise it was meant to be. If they choose a place of suffering away from the presence of the grandfather, it is their choice and it must be respected. 

What does this have to do with a loving God? Why doesn’t God prevent people from going to hell? The question is: What would it do to heaven if God forced people to go to heaven against their will?

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3 thoughts on “A Loving God and Hell”

  1. Hello, the problem with your anology is that if he the grandfather is almighty, and sees that the family will suffer eternally but nevertheless not turn to him, he will finally destroy them rather than allowing their endless suffering.
    I touch on that on my blog:


    If you don’t agree, please find for me one grand-father who would NOT act like that.

    Friendly greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son


  2. Hi Stephen,

    Leaving aside the lack of reference to sin, and Hell being an expression of God’s wrath, and leaving aside the disanalogous nature of your parable, could you explain how, taken on its own terms, the parable makes the grandfather more loving for having left those he ‘dearly loves’ to rot?

    38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
    39I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.
    40I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
    (Jer 32:38-40)

    It seems to me that God has no problem ‘interfering’ with the wills of His children, ‘…for their own good and the good of their children after them.’ Please could you explain how your grandfather’s non-salvific ‘love’ is analogous to God’s saving love? And could you explain why

  3. My apologies.

    And please could you explain why the grandfather is so hung-up on not interfering with the will of those he ‘so dearly loves’?

    God Bless


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