With the flurry of discussion per the publishing of Love Wins, and the subsequent publishing of evangelical responses, hell has been on my mind. I haven’t hidden the fact that I support Bell’s book and the ideas found in it. But today I was thinking about these things while I was in the shower, which is where most of my brilliant thought happens, and something hit me.
When evangelicals defend the concept of eternal hell, they do so by making a case that many people deserve hell. One thing I’ve often heard is, “So if there’s no hell, does that mean Hitler is in heaven?”
Because not many people want to share heaven with Hitler. And that seems reasonable. If anyone deserves to go to hell, it’s Hitler right? We are quite comfortable with a doctrine of hell because it matches our sense of justice.
But the same doctrine that says Hitler is burning in hell for torturing and killing Jews also holds that anyone who has not accepted Christ will burn in hell along with Hitler.
What we are forced to accept, then, is that the very same Jews who we hold Hitler in the utmost contempt for torturing and killing are burning in hell right along with him.
And can we really believe that? Because frankly, I have a hard time with that.
Hell doesn’t fit our sense of justice anymore.
Furthermore, how can we suggest that Hitler is deserving of hell for the earthly torture of the Jewish people and in the same breath believe in a God that would send those same people to torture for eternity?
That’s a tough thing to swallow. Can we really believe in a God like that?
Now I know that IF God is truly like that, then it doesn’t matter whether we want to believe in that God. I don’t want to suggest that we construct God based on how we wish God to be.
However, I do wish to suggest that a God that would do such a thing as we have suggested with our doctrine of hell is not consistent with the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ. A God of boundless love, quick to forgive, willing to sacrifice his own self to overcome that which had overcome us. I wish to suggest that those are not the same God, and that if I must choose, I will choose Jesus, who is the fullest revelation of the nature and character of God.
Just some food for thought.