There is an attack on the character of God that claims that the wicked suffer misery in hell forever. This attacks God's sense of justice and mercy. And there are many problems with this false doctrine:
- God is fair. Is it just to punish someone for eternity for sins committed over the course of one lifetime? Imagine the outcry from human rights groups there would be if America instituted a punishment of torture for criminals. Even if we only tortured them for a week, most loving people or those with any sense of justice would find that prospect to be vulgar and evil. Yet, millions of Christians every day think their loving Father is a cruel punisher more vindictive than Hitler, who will throw His children into a pit of fire where they will suffer and scream in agony for all the eternal ages. Would you do this to your child, no matter what that child did?
- The Bible says the fate of the wicked is destruction. To describe the fate of the wicked, the Bible uses words and phrases like "death" (Rom. 6:23), will suffer "destruction" (Job 21:30), "shall perish" (Psalm 37:20), will "burn" up (Malachi 4:1), "shall be destroyed together" (Psalm 37:38), will "consume away" (Psalm 37:20), "shall be cut off" (Psalm 37:9), "shall be slain" (Psalm 62:3). God will "destroy" them (Psalm 145:20), and "fire shall devour them" (Psalm 21:9). Only the righteous have eternal life (John 3:16).
- Jesus paid the price for sinners. The Bible says that Jesus paid the penalty for sin for those who accept that gift. Many people disbelieve the clear teaching that the "wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and instead believe that "the wages of sin is eternal suffering in hellfire." If that is so, then in order to pay your penalty for sin, Jesus should be burning in hellfire today! If the fate of the wicked is eternal agony in hellfire, and Jesus isn't suffering that fate today, then He got off easy! In fact, He didn't make the payment, because we all know and believe that He is in heaven today! For that matter, if the punishment of the wicked was eternal misery in hellfire, then Jesus could never pay the price! How do you pay an infinite sum of money? You cannot!
Friend, something's wrong here. Either Jesus didn't pay the price (and we're all in trouble), or the price He paid is not what you've been led to believe.
"The teaching of eternal torment has done more to drive people to atheism and insanity than any other invention of the devil. It is slander upon the loving character of a tender, gracious heavenly Father and has done untold harm to the Christian cause."
If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.