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?