Answering Common Objections to Hell

I finished Frank Turek's new book Stealing from God and plan on reviewing it next week.  I have been busy this week preparing for a sermon I'm preaching this coming Sunday.  I highly recommend Turek's book.  It is the best apologetics book I've read since J. Warner Wallace's Cold Case Christianity!

In the closing chapter of his book, Turek offers some concise answers to common objections about the doctrine of hell that I found helpful:

  • God tortures people in hell.- No, the Bible never describes hell as "torture."  Hell is described as a place of "torment," which is the anguish one experiences being separated from God.  And those in hell have made their choice and do not ask to get out.
  • Will God send me to hell just because I don't believe in Jesus?- This is best answered with a question: Do people die just because they don't go to the doctor?  No, they die because they have a disease.  Likewise, you don't go to hell merely because you don't trust in Jesus; you go to hell because you've sinned.  Since God is perfectly just, He cannot allow sin to go unpunished.  Jesus paid for everyone's sins, but not everyone wants to be forgiven.  Hence, hell is necessary.  But it's not necessary for you.  Just like you may be able to prevent physical death by going to a human physician, you can certainly prevent eternal death by going to the Great Physician- Jesus.  This offer of forgiveness is open to everyone, which means God "sends" you where you've chosen to go.
  • Eternal punishment is too severe for temporal sins.- The severity of the crime dictates the length of the punishment, not the time it took to commit the crime.  A murder might take three seconds to commit, but the punishment should be certainly longer than three seconds!  Crimes against the infinite, eternal Being are the most severe and may demand eternal punishment.  Moreover, since people continue to sin and rebel in hell, the punishment continues.
  • God should annihilate people rather than punish them.- Should you kill your children if they decide that they never want to see you again?  That's what the annihilationist is saying God should do.  God will not annihilate people made in His image.  That would be an attack on Himself.  Instead, He allows people to continue in their rebellion, just quarantined in hell so as not to hurt others.
  • God is unjust for punishing everyone the same in hell.- God doesn't do that.  The punishment is not the same for everyone in hell, just as the reward is not the same for everyone in heaven.  Jesus talked about greater commandments, greater judgments, and the fact that to whom much is given, much will be required.  The opposite is true as well.  Those who have less light will not be judged as severely as those who have more light. [1]
Courage and Godspeed,

1. Frank Turek, Stealing from God, p. 225-226.


Brian Detzel said…
Will be praying for you brother! Look forward to hearing the Word!
Preach on
Chad said…
Thank you Brother!

Anonymous said…
On Calvinism hasnt their destination been made already. If so how is that a free choice? I mean the ubelievers just go about doing what unbelievers do..unless they are converted. Just seeking correction/clarification.
Chad said…
Frank Turek isn't a Calvinist!

Anonymous said…
The goal of Divine punishment is the cleansing away of evil, and since God is the "Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10), there is hope for all. Hell will last only as long as a given individual refuses to repent.
Anonymous said…
The bible does speak of torture: a lake of fire, total darkness, many or few stripes. How could that not be considered torture although I suppose the word torment could be used as well.
Unknown said…
"Should you kill your children if they decide that they never want to see you again?" AGAIN being the key word. We don't see god until we die, then we apparently see him once, and are judged if we didn't believe in god, and then sentenced to everlasting torment? That's what an all-loving father would do? That's hardly a good example to follow.
John said…
You see God everywhere. All nature, all creatures, all things, around you constantly testify of God and minister to you to repent.

There's so much God going on in the world that he who refuses God now will still refuse him even if he sees him and has dinner with him.
John said…
And there is no repentance in hell because it is impossible to repent without the Spirit of God who is completely absent in hell.

No man can come to God without the Spirit of God showing them their sins and the consequences of their sins.

The Holy Spirit is still much available now, but his ministry will be over during the end of the world. The time to repent is now!

Repentance is impossible in hell. It is not by power, nor by might, but by the Spirit of God.
Unknown said…
An eternal burning by a God of Love is an oxymoron. Hell is a finite cleansing away only designed for Lucifer and his confederate forces. None of us need to participate in God's strange work of honoring our freedom to reject His gift of life. There can be no Love without this freedom. Fear is about punishment. Jesus has taken away both.