Did God create hell?
Did God create a hell, where sinners are punished for all eternity ? “God is love,” 1 John 4.8, would it make sense for a God, who is the very definition of love to create such a place? In Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth, and he looked upon his creation and, “behold, it was very good.” Gen.1.31. Man suffers for the sin he commits, Gal. 6.7 states,” Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Man’s actions do result in consequences, but not in a torture chamber called hell.
God created man and set him in the Garden of Eden. He also placed in the garden two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. Adam and Eve committed sin by disobeying God, and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil . God warned them, if they ate of THIS tree they would die, not live for ever in a place of eternal punishment. It was Satan who lied to Eve, and told her she would not surely die. Satan told Eve the exact opposite of what God had told her, and this lie has been spread in the form of the doctrine of hell to this very day. God said to Adam after he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Gen. 3.19. God also created the tree of life. The story of man’s fall is continued in Gen. 3.22, “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” Man now knew what was good and what was evil, and had to pay for the consequences of the knowledge he had gained. James 4.17 states “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” The bar had been raised very high, by man, when he ate of this fruit. Continuing on in Genesis 3.22 God said, “and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Man was cut off from the tree of life at this point,” lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”
God did not want man to become an eternal spirit, in his fallen state. God in his infinite mercy prevented man from becoming an eternal spirit, and living for ever. Only an eternal spirit can be punished for eternity in a hell. This tree of life is mentioned again in Rev. 2.7, Jesus states, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Only Jesus and faith in him gives us eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” John 14.6.
Man is sin full, and no amount of good works will ever get us saved, or give us eternal life with God. No amount of sin will ever get us damned, or give us eternal life in hell . The Apostle Paul states,” For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph. 2.8. But what are we saved from? Math. 25.46 says , “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” Two things to note here , Jesus talks about everlasting punishment, not everlasting punishing, and the righteous go into everlasting life. We would have to have everlasting life, to be punished for eternity in hell. In Math. 10.28 Jesus says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Notice Jesus is very clear, both soul and body will be destroyed in hell. Not punished or tortured forever, but destroyed. Also John 3.16 states, ” For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Webster’s dictionary describes the word perish as waste away, disappear or die. One of the most convincing passages on this subject comes from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, in it he writes, “And to you who are troubled rest with us,when the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” II Thes. 1.7-9. I think we all understand what it means to be destroyed. And it certainly does not mean to exist forever in everlasting torment.
Finally the Bible speaks of a second death, in the lake of fire. All mankind will be resurrected, to stand before the judgment seat of God. Rev. 20.13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” To be spared an eternal separation from God’s presence, by eternal death, we must be saved, and have our names written in the book of life. To be saved the Apostle Paul writes in Rom. 10.9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus is the Tree of Life.