The Instigator
TouchtheSky
Pro (for)
The Contender
DogeyDoge
Con (against)

Would a loving God send people to hell?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
DogeyDoge has forfeited round #3.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
00days00hours00minutes00seconds
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 943 times Debate No: 112266
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (0)

 

TouchtheSky

Pro

This has been on my mind for a long time, and I'd be interested to hear another perspective about this. The motion will be:

This house holds that God can send people who deserve it to hell and still be considered righteous and holy.

I'd like to request my opponent to be a Christian, and obviously, someone who disagrees with the motion.

The Bible clearly talks about hell, and there is no denying that it exists. If we deny God and turn away from him, he will punish us for that, as it is wise and just for him to do so. It isn't 'unloving' to send people to hell because God has no obligation to save us in the first place. The only reason that those who believe in Him can go to heaven is that he sent His son to forgive them and lead them to be with him. But if we reject him, he has to punish us. To do otherwise would be unjust and unholy.

Hebrews 10:26-31
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." ...
DogeyDoge

Con

To begin, I believe we must first define hell. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, 'eternal fire.'" (CCC 1035). Words used to describe hell in the Bible are "fire and brimstone" (Rev 14:10), furnace of fire (Mat 13:42), judgment by fire (2 Pet 3:7), fiery oven (Psa 21:9), lake of fire (Rev 19:20, 20:10-15, 21:8), eternal punishment (Mat 25:46, Mrk 3:29, 1 Cor 11:32, Gal 1:8-9, Gal 3:10, Heb 6:2), pits of darkness (2 Pet 2:4), flames of fire, burning wind (Psa 11:6), and unquenchable fire (Mrk 9:43).

However, many believe that the "lake of fire" described by the Bible is not a literal place of eternal torment, but rather a place of eternal inactivity. That "the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God" (CCC 1035) and that the "state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell'" (CCC 1033). Furthermore, the word used for "torment" in the Bible can also mean "a condition of restraint." The Greek word for "tormentors" used at Matthew 18:34 is rendered as "jailers" in many translations, showing the connection between the words "torment" and "restraint." The parallel accounts at Matthew 8:29 and Luke 8:30-31 equate "torment" with "the abyss," a figurative place of complete inactivity or death (Rom 10:7; Rev 20:1-3). In fact, several times the book of Revelation uses the word "torment" in a symbolic sense (Rev 9:5, 11:10, 18:7-10).

Now, it seems almost outright impossible that an all-loving, all-powerful God would allow for people to suffer an eternal torment so horrifying. In fact, Thomas Talbott, professor of Philosophy at the University of Salem, says that if one believes in the idea of eternal Hell, unending suffering, or the idea that some souls will perish or be destroyed by God, that one has to either let go of the idea that God wishes and desires to save all beings, or accept the idea that God wants to save all, but will not "successfully accomplish his will and satisfy his own desire in this matter." Which would seem to conflict with one's belief that God is all powerful. Some also argue that this version of hell could not possibly be warranted for any sinner. That the punishment undeniably outweighs any crime a sinner could have committed. Which would seem to conflict with an all-just view of God.

The second view of hell is one oft adopted by Jehova's Witnesses. This view is one more in line with an all-loving version of God. However, it is still one that seems unaligned with an all-merciful God (CCC 270).

One distinction that needs to be made is that whether God sends people to hell, or if people choose to go to hell. According to Pope John Paul II in a 1999 audience, hell is not an invention of God: "[Hell] is not a punishment imposed externally by God but a development of premises already set by people in this life." That hell proceeds from the very nature of mortal sin. However, an issue with this is that, according to the Catholic faith, God "never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness" (CCC 30). The church teaches that those who die with any venial sins go to purgatory to receive purification: "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." (CCC 1030). The church teaches that those who die with mortal sins enter hell rather than purgatory. The issue with this, is that this distinction had to be chosen by God (for he is the only one with power over judgment). That would mean that God chose to give those with lesser sins a special place for them to be cleansed and enter into heaven, but those with greater sins, he chose for them to enter hell. Which would not make sense if God is all-merciful. For, if God is all-merciful, it would not make sense for him to offer forgiveness to some, but not to all. Why can only some sins be cleansed by God's power?

Some final issues and thoughts, if God is all powerful, all loving, and he has our best interests at heart, then why do we live lives of suffering on earth rather than enjoying eternal happiness in heaven right away? If God is all knowing, then why must we have mortal lives in the first place? As I understand it, our mortal lives are how we are judged by God, but if he is all-knowing, then he knows our sins before we even commit them. Thus, why not sentence us immediately at the time of our creation? Furthermore, theologians state that there is no such thing as sin in heaven. If so, why not place us in heaven immediately as to destroy all sin and evil in the first place (assuming evil is solely a creation of man)? If God wishes to destroy all evil, it seems as though he has a very real and easy option to do so, so why has he not taken it? If he is omniscient and omnipotent, is he not allowing for evil to exist?
Debate Round No. 1
TouchtheSky

Pro

Thank you, DogeyDoge, for replying and offering such a detailed explanation of the topic and what you believe. Your evaluation of hell at the beginning was really helpful and I completely agree with what you said. I'm not sure if Hell is actual torment, or simply inactivity and separation from God, but in the context of this argument, that's not what matters. We know that Hell is a place of pain and agony, and the details are irrelevant for the sake of this discussion.

You started out your argument by saying that "it seems impossible that an all-powerful, all-loving God would allow people to suffer eternal torment so horrifying". You quoted Talbott in saying that if God is going to send people to Hell, it either means that he doesn't want to save everyone, or he can't save everyone. We know that God CAN save everyone because he can do anything, but we also know that he doesn't. So now we must ask this question:

Why would God send people to hell at all?
I think that I can best explain this with a quote. I got this from this website: https://www.gotquestions.org...

"Because God is completely righteous and morally perfect (Psalm 18:30), He always does what is right"there is no "darkness" in God, not the smallest speck of imperfection (1 John 1:5). God Himself is the standard for what is right, good, and moral. If it were not for God being the standard of moral perfection, created beings would have nothing to measure themselves against. In other words, if God is perfectly righteous, then anything that falls short of said perfection is sinful, and every human being who has ever lived, since Adam"s fall from grace, has committed sin (Romans 3:23). Because Adam sinned, the entire human race now has a sinful nature (Romans 5:12). But people do not go to hell because of Adam"s sin; they go to hell because of their own sin, which they freely choose (James 1:13"16). God, therefore, has deemed all who commit sin will go to hell because they have failed to meet His righteous standard; they have broken His Law of moral perfection. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just (Psalm 7:11). A good analogy is a court of law with a judge and a lawbreaker. A just judge will always convict the person who has been found guilty. If that judge did not pursue justice for the crime, he would not be a just judge (Deuteronomy 32:4)."

God sends people to Hell because to do otherwise would break his perfect law and make him unjust. You argued at the end that Hell could not be warranted by any sinner, and therefore is not a fair punishment. But this is unbiblical. The Bible clearly says that the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23). To deny our sin is to deny what the Bible says is true.

You said that if God calls everyone to him (2 Peter 3:9), then no one would turn away from God and therefore earn themselves Hell, and therefore it must not be humans who chose Hell, but God who does. Your mistake here, though, is assuming that when God calls us, he doesn't give us a choice in the matter. God encourages us and gives us his word in an attempt to lead us to him, but he doesn't force us into believing. It's our choice whether or not to follow him.

As for why we are here on Earth in the first place, and not in Heaven, that too can be traced down to us and our sin. God put Adam and Eve in a perfect world with him, and he literally walked with them face to face, as shown in Genesis 1-2. But, in Genesis 3, they rejected him, turning away from him and forcing him to have to punish them, as he cannot be with sin. That was how sin came into the world. But he had a perfect plan from the beginning to bring us to Heaven and to him, and that would happen through Jesus Christ's death.
DogeyDoge

Con

You had said that "God can not break his perfect law", but I"m confused as to what this law actually it is, where it comes from, and who made it? If it were God that made it, it wouldn"t quite make sense to say that he cannot break it? In fact, I do not believe that God himself could actually create such a law in the first place. I"ll relate it to a common little riddle, can God create a rock so large that even he cannot lift it? This is really complete nonsense if you examine it closely because it"s a contradictory concept (check out more here https://crossexamined.org...). The idea of God creating a law that he cannot break is absurd because it"s simply not possible for him to limit himself. Many people observe this as "God not being omnipotent", but omnipotence is not the ability to do logically impossible things, it"s the ability to do all (logically) possible things. God cannot limit himself by creating a law he cannot break. So my question is, where does such a law come from? Or is the law actually existent? If the law doesn"t come from avid, then the law has power over him, nullifying his omnipotence.

Moving on, I think probably my biggest argument and gripe with the notion of purgatory and hell, is that some sins (called mortal sins) are worth being sent to hell (if they are still on your soul at the time of death) directly after death and some aren"t. Some get you sent to purgatory instead. If you go to purgatory, you"re guaranteed to eventually make it into heaven. Purgatory cleanses you of those sins and makes you pure so you can enter into heaven. However, the issue with this is that there"s a line defined that sentences some to hell and others to purgatory. That line would obviously have to be defined by God. But the important question is, why is there a such a line? Can God not help people cleanse their mortal sins? Well, we know that to be false because mortal sins are cleansed all the time on earth, and because we know God is omnipotent. In that case, he must choose not to forgive them, why? If God is all-merciful, then not showing mercy is illogical. It seems that line was made on a arbitrary basis. What makes one sin unforgivable over s different one? And how can a sin be unforgivable and damning when he is all merciful? God"s many "qualities" of omnipotence and all-goodness and such seem to have conflicting interests.

If we were to believe that God is all loving, all merciful, and such, and hen we were to believe that he"ll exists, then I"d have to side with the "empty hell theory". That no man is in hell. For if God can heal and forgive some, he should certainly be able to forgive and heal all (through purgatory). Furthermore, I believe not only that he can, but that he should or that he is obligated to show mercy to all. If he were to show mercy to all, we would all be united in the beautific vision and be perfect. God"s reason for creating us (i believe, if I remember correctly) is purely out of love for us and that we may love him back. By allowing more to enter heaven, there would be more love. Love is the closest thing to the essence of God and perfection, so the big question I have is what duties take precedence over others? Should God be all merciful? Should he make us all perfect in heaven? Should we be in hell for our misdoings? Should we all go to purgatory? Why or why not?
Debate Round No. 2
TouchtheSky

Pro

You argued that it is impossible for anyone to do everything (giving the example of a rock so big that it cannot be lifted), and therefore God must not be completely omnipotent. You stated that God can only do things that are within logical limits, and therefore the idea that God can do anything is completely false. You challenged me by asking, "What is God's law? Where did it come from? Who made it? If God made it, it wouldn't make any sense for him to be unable to break it."

Allow me to dissect this.

Firstly, God's laws are rules that he has made to guide mankind, and he has exposed us to them through the Bible. He was the one who created them, in order to keep us safe and thriving in a healthy environment. God cannot break these laws, not because he is incapable of doing so, but because, as a just and holy God, to break them would go against his nature. It's not that he CAN'T break these laws, but that he won't because to do so would be to violate a crucial aspect of who he is.

I would absolutely agree with you in your evaluation of God being able to do all logically possible things. I did some research on this topic, and I thought that this quote summed it up rather well:
This limited question fails to recognize that the reason God cannot create a rock so heavy He could not lift it is because only He is all-powerful. He is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1). Therefore, all created things are under His power and authority. God's unlimited, all-powerful ability means anything He creates would not be able to exceed His power. The very nature of a perfect God supersedes the power of anything that could be created. (https://www.compellingtruth.org...)

As for where such a law came from, I believe that it came from God. God made it at the beginning of creation, and we are called to live under that law, as is he. His obedience to that law does not happen because he is physically unable to do it, but because he will not do it.

As for the idea of purgatory, I do not support it. I understand that some people do, but as for me, I see nothing in the Bible that suggests such an idea. The Bible clearly says that all sins lead to death, but Christ's sacrifice pays ALL of it, it doesn't get you part of the way there (Romans 6:23). I don't believe that we need 'cleansing' in order to get into heaven because we 'aren't good enough'. I believe that Jesus' death cleanses us fully and completely the moment that we accept him (Isaiah 1:18). We don't need purgatory to do that for us.

I do not believe that the issue is God 'choosing not to forgive people'. I believe that the issue is with people choosing not to accept God's forgiveness. God extends the chance for salvation to everyone, but it is our chance for whether or not to accept it. God does show mercy to everyone, offering them the chance for heaven and salvation. But if we reject him, then it would be wrong for him to bring us into heaven, because we would not have repented of our sins.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
TouchtheSky
You are hilarious.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
You would just have to dream it...Now its here..Now its not..
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
TouchtheSky
True, but not in the way that God could.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
So could an invisible pink elephant...You just have to dream it..Now its here..Now its not..
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
TouchtheSky
Haha, yes, you're absolutely right that it's really hard to know that an invisible being exists. But not absolutely impossible. But I would argue that this is different from a pink elephant by way of it's relevance to day to day life. Whether a pink elephant exists or not is irrelevant, but the idea of 'God', if true, could change everything.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
Invisible pink elephant...Now its here. Now its not. Now its here. Now its not. Everything can exist in dreams...What is more than a dream has to be proven. So I have to prove nothing.
Your hell is a dream. If it is anything more than that you will have to prove it as a 100% fact... And of course you can not....Now its here. Now its not.
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
TouchtheSky
Haha, but really, if you think the answer is that obvious, then it wouldn't be so hard to try to publically prove it, would it?
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
It would make as mutch sense as talking about invisible pink elephants...
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
TouchtheSky
True, but we can look at God's word and see what it has to say about the subject, because contrary to what the article said, there are actually quite a few verses on the subject. I read through the article, and if you'd like, we can talk it over together.
This debate has 4 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.