How Loving is God?
Quite frequently, in ordinary conversation, we overuse, misuse or simply fail to adequately define our words. Because of this, a great deal of misunderstanding and confusion exists. Nowhere is this fact more readily apparent than in religion, especially concerning God’s love. Some folks reason that since God is all-loving, and since God loves humans, then He would never punish anyone eternally in hell. What does the Bible say about this?
First, several types of love exist. There is brotherly love, spousal love, parental love and agape love. Agape
is the kind of love God has for humans. This means God views all humans equally and inherently valuable (Genesis 1:26
). The greatest expression of God’s love for humanity was in sending Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16
Second, a logical contradiction is not produced by supposing that God would punish someone eternally while at the same time loving them. Why not? Simply because God is infinite in all of His attributes. Not only is God ‘all-loving,’ but He is equally ‘all-righteous’ and ‘all-holy.’ Therefore, He cannot tolerate unchecked sin. Because of His holy nature, He cannot be in the presence of sin which has not been atoned for. This is why he made a way for man to have his sins forgiven (Acts 2:38
Third, when one considers the question (of eternal punishment) logically, it really makes no sense for Jesus to have died such a cruel death, for the benefit of humanity, if there was no punishment, of equal or greater pain, that humans would have to face eternally. The fact that Jesus offered his life to atone for sins, committed by humans, is proof there is going to be a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. In addition, the Bible unequivocally states eternal punishment will occur after the Judgment (Matthew 10:28
; Revelation 21:8
Of course, God loves humanity. His love for us is greater than anyone, this side of eternity, can fully grasp (Romans 5:8
). He has done everything in His power, just short of MAKING us obey, to ensure that we do not have to experience eternal punishment. May we be wise and make good use of His graciousness.