Hell is a really tough one for me and tough to talk about with others. Hell is tragic. I’ve recently read 2 books on the topic that were very helpful to me:
– Erasing hell
– 23 questions about hell
One thing that I continually come back to when I think about this topic is that God is infinitely good and just (Deut 32:4, Gen 18:25, Nahum 1:7). He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). No one will be able to say that they were treated unfairly. No one will be able to say that they “knocked on the door, but He didn’t answer”. Jesus said whoever comes to Him, He will never drive away (John 6:37). So, the point that I come away with Biblically is that God will do what is right, I don’t have to worry about that or second guess Him.
Additionally, I think there are some very good philosophical arguments and analogies that can be used to help us understand why hell makes sense. One that has been particularly helpful for me is this:
Heaven is God’s house. If you want to move into God’s house forever, you need to know Him and love Him. Can you imagine if you went up to the front door of the biggest mansion in your town with your family and all your luggage and belongings and knocked on the door and (not knowing the owners) said, “Hi, I would like to move in with you”. The owner would certainly ask why and/or what are you talking about? Imagine that you would then reply “Because I’m a good person.” That owner of the house would likely say, “Sorry, you can’t move in with me… I don’t even know you!” The same is true with God. If you’ve lived your whole life (as a “good person” – compared with other people) but attempting to ignore Him and pretend like he doesn’t exist or He doesn’t matter and is irrelevant, even though He’s the one Who gave you life and made the world that you live in, and you get to the end of your life and knock on His door and ask to move in with Him for eternity, He’s going to say “I never knew you. Away from me you evildoer” (Mat 7:23). Heaven is where God’s family will live with Him for eternity. If you’re not in God’s family, you really have no business asking God to move into His house forever. If you wanted nothing to do with God for your whole life, God will grant you that desire for all eternity. The problem is that most people don’t realize that every good thing we have here on earth is from God (James 1:17). So, being without God means being without the good things that come from Him. Hell is separation from God (2 Thess 1:9) and thus from everything that is good.