OF GOD". So we're so precious to God that He considers us His children when we're reborn. But The Bible also says that God's love for us is never changing and that God loved us before the first star was even formed in the sky (before Creation). Since this is the case, He already loves us all as if we were His precious children (even Adolph Hitler and Osama Bin Laden).
God feels deep sorrow when He has to send Human beings to Hell...the same way earthly parents mourn over the physical deaths of their children. With love, there is always heartbreak. And since God's love is the GREATEST love of all...then I imagine His heart-break is the greatest of them all too. If God wants all people saved (2 Peter 3:9) and everyone who gets saved becomes a child of God (John 1:12) then it follows that God loves all people in the same way a mother or father loves their children.
My mother has told me before when I was very sick that she wished she could take on my pain and suffering so that I wouldn't have to endure it. I've heard other parents say similar things. The parents say things like that because they love their children so much that they can't stand to see them... suffer. They also mourn GREATLY when their children die because they loved them so much. Jesus was tortured viciously! He suffered one of the most slow, excruciating, vicious deaths a person can experience so that human beings wouldn’t have to suffer excruciating pain in Hell. You know those gruesome scenes in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion Of The Christ”? That doesn’t even fully capture how gruesome the execution of Jesus was. Mel Gibson himself admitted to that and he said although he wanted to make it as realistic as possible, he didn’t go all the way in making the scenes 100% accurate because “the human mind can only take so much”
He went through all that because He loves us so much and would have rather suffered HIMSELF instead of having to subject US to torture. You see, all men are sinners. God loves everyone and doesn’t want to send anyone to Hell. Yet He is a just God and must punish all sins and the punishment of sins is to be sent to Hell. God doesn’t want to send anyone to Hell (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 33:11) but He has to because He is just. But God can’t let anyone off the hook and enter into Heaven because He is just. What is God to do? God thinks to Himself, “I know, I shall take the form of a human so that I can suffer the excruciating pain that human beings deserve. This way, anyone who repents and turns to Me for forgiveness, I will be registered as their substitute.” Because of the death of Jesus Christ, both God’s just nature AND His loving nature can be satisfied. He doesn’t have to send us to Hell, He doesn’t have to be separated from the people He loves so dearly as to call the ones who receive Him “My children”
If we reject Him, we have to pay the penalty ourselves.
Think of it this way. You have violated the law and face a $50,000 fine. You tell the judge that you are truly sorry for your crime, but he answers, “So you should be—you have broken the law! Now, can you pay this fine?” He can only acquit you if the fine is paid. If someone else pays your fine, then he can let you go. Now suppose you're stubborn and adamantly refuse to take your friend's money so he can pay your fine for you. He's not going to FORCE you to take the money but you need it or else you're going to jail. We broke God's law and Jesus is willing to pay the fine for us but if we reject His offer, then there's only one other alternative.
There’s a story about a judge whose own son was brought before her for a crime he had committed. The judge felt a deep grief that her son would violate the laws upon which she based her entire life. Tears welled in her eyes and she listened painfully as the evidence against her son was presented. The courtroom sat in silence wondering how the judge would rule. Would she just give him a reprimand in an act of mercy? Would she give him the minimum penalty for the offense? Much to their surprise, she handed down the maximum fine, upholding the law to its fullest degree. The son was in shock, for he knew that he couldn’t pay the fine and was anguished at the thought of imprisonment. He looked up at her in disbelief. But then something happened that nobody expected. She stepped down from the bench, took off her judge’s robe, told her son how much she loved him and then paid, out of her own pocket, the fine she had just handed down. Not everyone understood what she had done. As a judge, she showed her commitment to honor the law, but she then stepped down from that seat of honor and to show her love for her child. Her son never understood the depth of his mother's commitment to the law until that moment, and, until that moment, he never knew the depth of his mother's love for him. He felt deep sorrow for the pain he had caused her and for those he had hurt by his act of crime. With his head bowed, and his tears flowing freely, he asked for her forgiveness, which she willingly gave to him.
This story is actually an allegory for God’s relationship to us. Our crimes are our willful departure from the laws given us by God for the way we are to live. When we break those laws, God is grieved and pained. Inevitably there are natural consequences of our failings that hurt others, sometimes affecting lives for generations to come. This is why God's laws say that the penalty for sin is death. His holy nature demands that He not just let us off the hook or go easy on us. So what did He do? He came down from heaven to us in Jesus Christ to help us to understand His laws, to show us the depth of His love for us and to pay the price of our sin with His own life. Now suppose the man rejected his mother's money and no matter what she said to try to get him to change his mind, he refused to take the money to pay for his fine? Well, he would have to pay the price himself. Pay the fine or go to Jail. If he can't pay the fine, he's going to go to jail.
Likewise, Christ can die for everyone but we have to accept His offer of salvation and repent. We have to live for God instead of for ourselves. We have to live as clean and pure lives as we possibly can instead of living a life of sin.
My main objection has always been the severity and length of endurance of the suffering of Hell. "How could a loving God subject people to infinite torment? Not even HITLER deserves INFINITE torment because although his sins were of a great magnitude, he didn’t commit enough sins of a great enough magnitude to deserve a fate so horrible." I thought. It just seems like the ultimate overkill!Especially for the friendly atheist & kind Buddhist" I thought.
1: Finite sins DO NOT deserve INFINITE punishment. HOWEVER, if a person commits an infinite number of sins, then infinite punishment is just. But a person cannot commit an infinite number of sins in a finite lifetime. BUT...if they CONTINUE TO SIN AFTER THEY'RE SENT TO HELL, then each time they commit another sin, they prolong their punishment. If they continue to sin over and over again for eternity, then they'll be punished....for eternity.
It would be like when a criminal stabs an inmate to death in prison, he would have time added to his sentence. Now if this theory is true, it could mean that people could eventually realize that if they would just quit cursing God’s name in deep hatred towards Him and just repent, they would eventually (after their time was served) be let out and into Heaven. Though this might be possible, it might not ever happen. Seeing as many of these people had 50, 60, 70, up to 100 years to turn to God in repentance yet continued in their rebellion against him. It could be that some people hate God so much that they’ll NEVER repent, but keep cursing Him in Hell, and hence continue to have time added to their sentence. I mean, Satan has been against God for thousands and thousands of years (millions if he fell sometime during the creation period, for Old Earth Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists). He’s had a HELL of a long time (pun intended) to repent but still hasn’t.
It's easy to imagine that people still hating God deeply would use blaspheme and cure His name in rage at Him while they burn in the lake of fire.
2: Hell would be temporary for the finite sins commited in this life. But the sin of rejecting Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and His love for them COULD BE a sin of INFINITE magnitude in which case infinite punishment would be appropriate for a sin of infinite magnitude in addition to their other finite sins. If God is infinitely good, then rejecting Him would be a sin of infinite evil. Hence, infinite punishment would be well fitting.
3: There's also another theory about Hell which kind of goes along the lines of theory number 1 (about sinning in Hell prolonging the time that the people are in Hell). Some people think that the suffering in Hell might be caused by the very people in Hell. Think about it this way; look at how miserable this world is because people treat each other unkindly. People kill, rape, molest, mock and steal from one another all the time. I mean, I practically cannot turn on the news without hearing about another murder or another kidnapping that happened. Imagine a world where a bunch of sinners are doing the same things in Hell that they did while they were alive (like Adolph Hitler for instance). In that kind of world, human beings would create Hell themselves! In this view, the talk about “fire” is merely metaphorical speech, trying to give a description of how horrible living in such a world full of evil people doing harm to one another and no Divine intervention to bring good out of it would be like. Imagine….if you were to place a bunch of serial killers in a locked room with each other, and they all were trying to kill EACH OTHER! That would be horrible (for them)! Well, some think of Hell like a room full of psychos trying to hurt one another. People are torturing one another in Hell, not God torturing them. God is indeed punishing them, but He's doing it indirectly. And the reason why they have to endure that for eternity is because they're committing sins (against each other)….FOR ETERNITY. Therefore, they have to continue to suffer at the hands of fellow sinners for a longer period of time because of THEIR OWN sins. If this theory is true, Hell could be a wonderful place to be, or the worst place possible just depending it is on who's living there. If all the people in Heaven were to be living in Hell, and all the people in Hell were to start living in Heaven, pretty soon, Heaven would be the place no one would want to go! Heaven would be Hell and Hell would be Heaven. lol
Although it might not be possible to repent if God is no longer extending grace to the person once that person enters Hell. Romans says that at some point, a person becomes so hardened of heart that God hands people over to their sinful desires. John 6:44 says it's possible to repent without drawing grace of The Holy Spirit, so if God gives people over to their evil desires and is no longer drawing them to repentance, then it's probably impossible for the people in Hell to stop doing evil. The reason God gives people over is because they're so hard of heart that it's impossible to get them to repent without overriding their freedom of choice. Resistible Grace is no longer effective on such people. I for one hold to a view that God tries to persuade people to come to repentence their entire lives...and that it's only at the moment of that person's death that He hands them over to their evil desires.