Is God Responsible for People Being Sent to Hell?

16 Jul

It seems wrong to create a person knowing they’d only go to hell. If God does this, it’s a big stain on his character.

Yet isn’t this the logical conclusion of election? If he’s responsible for Christians being saved, surely God is responsible for people being damned too?

Or is he?

The Sovereign God

God is sovereign over everything that happens, even evil. This seems strange to many Christians. Doesn’t Satan bring evil?

Yes! But without God’s permission Satan can do nothing.

A great example of this is Job 1-2. Job was abused by Satan, but Satan had to get permission from God to do this.

The Holy God

How can we reconcile this with a holy and righteous God? God may allow sin for a greater good, but he never sins himself (Sam Storms explanation of this).

Thus Satan is responsible for Job’s pain, not God. God, however, in his holiness, works this pain for good.

The Electing God

Let’s get back to election. Is God responsible for people being damned?

In the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), Jesus (the farmer) creates Christians (the wheat) to bear fruit for him. Though fallen and evil, Jesus use the world so that in the end we may “shine like the sun”.

Yet there are some weeds in that field, whose destiny is only to be burned. Who planted them there?

Jesus makes it very clear: “the devil”.

From what we know of sovereignty, we know God allowed it, ordained it and even created those people (Col 1:16). Yet it’s the devil’s sin that those men never know Christ.

So God is not responsible for people being sent to hell, only those sent to heaven.

Let’s not condemn God as responsible for the weeds any longer, but rather praise him for the glorious benefits of our election that we see in v41-42! We will shine like the sun in his kingdom! Praise be to God!

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4 Responses to “Is God Responsible for People Being Sent to Hell?”

  1. Richard July 18, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    Hi Tim,

    I would suggest that God, being sovereign, in his eternal decree predestinated, for his own glory, the damnation of those he hated with an everlasting hatred, hence:

    Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”

    As the Westminster divines put it:

    I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

    II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

    V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

    VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

    VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praised of His glorious justice.

    This is the import of Rom. 9:11, “Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand”. That is, God’s decision to save or damn was based upon neither good works nor bad works but simply on his sovereign good pleasure, his everlasting love for the elect, and his everlasting hatred of the reprobate.

    My 2 cents for what it’s worth.

  2. Tim Wilson July 19, 2008 at 7:17 am #

    I agree entirely with what you said brother. Unfortunately my words probably don’t convey that!

    Let me add a little extra. I’m still working out how it all fits together.

    God sends people to hell and that is just. God ordains that some people will not be saved and that is just. However, God is not responsible for the sin of it. That is Satan’s (and those people’s) responsibility.

    My point here is similar to the first point:

    I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

    It’s the whole two wills in God thing. He wants all people to be saved. But he makes it so that some aren’t, for the good of the elect.

    The difference for me here is God actively plants the elect, he grows them in the way of righteousness. He passively plants the retrobate, Satan grows them in the way of sin but is allowed to do so by God. Therefore, if we look for someone to blame that these people will never escape the grasp of sin and flee to Christ the person to blame is not God but Satan, even though God allows it.

    Therefore, I think it is wrong for people to go “God is evil for having created a people whose lives will only get more sinful and will lead them to destruction”. No Satan is evil for doing that, he is the one who makes them more and more sinful.

    Do you see what I mean?

  3. Richard July 19, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    I see what you mean, but I would draw your attention to your stating:

    “It’s the whole two wills in God thing. He wants all people to be saved.”

    I have to confess that I think this is wrong. God does have two wills, his will of command and his will of decree; well in actual fact he has one will but because the human mind is so finite we have to distinguish between two wills so we can understand God.

    I do not think that God wants all men to be saved. If this were true, why reprobate some? God commands all men to repent but that in no way implies God’s desire to save them.

    Rev. Winzer’s Murray on the Free Offer: A Review will be of interest I am sure.

  4. Tim Wilson July 21, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    Richard, thank you once more for your insight.

    You’re totally right. The two wills are not two independent wills, they are complimentary. Separating desiring all men to repent and desiring all men to be saved is very helpful.

    Thanks for furthering my thinking once more!

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