Last Sunday I spoke of the story of King Herod whom God invited to the birth of His Son. The invitation was hand carried to him by Magi from the East who inquired of him about the birth of the King of the Jews. The Bible tells us that Herod had asked the Magi to search carefully for the child and when they find Him to let him know so that he too could worship Him. Behind his endearing words was a sinister plot.
After finding Jesus God alerted the Magi to take another route to avoid letting Herod know where He was born. Herod was so infuriated he had children born around Jesus’s age massacred. The truth of his heart was revealed, he had no desire to worship God. He wanted to kill Him and eradicate Him from his small world.
Which brings us to the question why would God make a place like hell? The simple answer is because some people are like Herod, they just don’t want to have anything to do with God.
Now because God is God and He is all powerful and is everywhere in His universe, then we have a slight problem. Where would the people who don’t want to be with God go? To solve this problem God made hell. A place where people who choose to be eternally separated from Him can go.
But some would say, “If He is a God of love why would He even make a place like hell. This could only mean that God is not about love.”
WIthout a place like hell then we do not have the freedom to choose to be with God or not to be with Him. This then is no longer love. And since God is love He always gives us the freedom to choose to be with Him or not to be with Him. Love is always predicated by freedom.
The torment of eternal suffering in hell we have been told about is not just because God is vengeful but because people like Herod have rejected His loving presence. When God’s loving presence is absent then life, light, love and beauty are not there either. What you’re left with is death, darkness, hate and ugliness or hell.
He gives us the freedom to walk away from His life, light, love and beauty. But He desires that we respond in love and not be robots who have no choice. He took the first step and gave us Jesus His Son, to invite us into a relationship with Him.