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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Why does God send people to Hell?

Fr. Scott A. Haynes

"Why does God send people to Hell?" People have been asking this question for centuries. In the absence of real theological wisdom, they decide for themselves that God is "mean" and think His old-fashioned Commandments are arbitrary, out-of-date, and that they want nothing to do with Him. The true answer to these age-old questions, however, comes as a surprise.

When God created all things, He gave men and angels free will in order for them to participate in love. In other words, those who are unable to refuse to love are not truly capable of loving; they are simply robots. After all, true love is an act of will. We could not love if we did not have free will. So, in order to give us the ability to love, God bestowed free will upon us from the beginning. old-fashioned.

The angel Lucifer, possessed with God-given free will, came to decide that he did not want to serve God but himself. Perhaps, like many people today, he thought to himself, "I despise the idea of honoring this God who created me." I want to be able to use my power for my own benefit. "I want to do what I want."

God, in the fullness of His love, did not become enraged. Instead, He must have responded something along the lines of, "All right. If you wish to be your own king, I will provide you a place far from Me so you can be surrounded by those who choose to follow you." So God created hell and entrusted it to Satan with the understanding that everyone who rejects love for selfish reasons is free to go there if they so choose.

The amazing aspect of this is that the creation of hell is an act of God's mercy, not punishment. Because it is exceedingly terrifying to conceive any realm completely removed from God, [1] Satan got from God a place—hell—that nonetheless remains within God's love. The flames of hell are the flames of God's love that torture only those who have rejected love. Some reply, "I want nothing to do with a God who wants anyone to suffer in hell." Such thinking reveals a mind that does not truly understand God's love. God does not want anyone to perish in hell. Despite this, many people choose to reject God's love and go to hell.

Furthermore, although not being fully purged from God's creation, the Devil and his minions have control over souls in this realm. It's absolutely fair—Satan is at liberty to tempt us to join him in hell, and we have free will to succumb to his seduction, or to conquer these temptations by God's grace. Saint Augustine remarked on this:
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”


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