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How Could God Do That?

by Alecia Hetrick
(Boardman, OH)

How can God send people to Hell if He claims to love us so much?

Answer: Read the page Eternal Fire - Loving God? for a partial explanation. The other part you need to know is the correct meaning of the word translated as "hell." Hell is translated from various original words.

In the Old Testament, it comes from the Hebrew word "sheol" and is used to refer to the place or state of the dead where all people go at death. (They are there in a state of unconscious death, not some unscriptural spirit life.)

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten." (Eccl 9:5)
Even righteous Jacob went to Sheol at death.
"And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him." (Gen 37:35)
In the New Testament, it commonly comes from the original word "hades" which is translated 10 times (in the KJV) as "hell" and 1 time as the "grave." Look at all 11 uses (Matt 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:26; Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Cor 15:55; Rev 1:18, 6:8; 20:13, 14) and you will see that it is never describing a place of torment. The one possible exception being the parable (a non-literal story to illustrate a point) of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16.

God does not send people to a place of eternal burning. He tells us to love our enemies. He does not burn His own enemies in some form of eternal torment.

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The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi) is by our choice.
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