Does God Torture Sinners Endlessly in Hell?

I am asking a provocative question to introduce a very necessary series of teachings on specifically: How does the government of God operate? How are we called upon to participate in that government? But why the issue of sinners and hell?

My contention in my writings is that our evangelical movement does not understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God.  We are good at preaching a gospel of salvation but we do not understand the extent and implications of the Kingdom of God. We have placed enormous limitations by our traditions on what it is that God is doing in heaven and on earth. That is why we have this short 7000 year timeline and then all is over. Or we have given up hope of a world revival and discipling the nations because the Antichrist must rule to the world or that the church needs to be protected from the devil and raptured out of the earth before things get really bad.

I have repeatedly quoted that scripture in Daniel 7:21 "and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom" and then defended that statement with proof of why Dispensationalism and its teaching on the defeat of the church and the victory of the Antichrist is just plain bad theology.

But to possess the Kingdom the saints must of necessity know how the Kingdom of God operates. And that is why Rev. 1:6 says that God is wanting to make us priests and kings.  Priests operate in the heavenly realms and kings take dominion in the earthly realm.  God invites us to become participants in His Kingdom government both in heaven and on earth by training to become a priest and training to become a king.  And when the church learns to do this then transfer of rulership can take place as prophesied.

So in this coming series of teachings I want to introduce you to the Divine Council of God in the third heavens, how it is constituted, how it operates, and more importantly how you are invited to take part in its deliberations.  That means teaching you how to act as a priest.

I also wish to introduce you to the concept of how God wants to make you into a king, one who is called upon to take dominion over all His handiwork.  These two callings are integral and essential to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

But what about sinners and endless torture in hell?

I raise this issue to illustrate for you the essential truth about the government of God and His Kingdom: It is a government of laws! And you must learn to understand and operate under those laws.  And so I am going to introduce to the legal question:

What is the legal status of a sinner on judgment day before God?

Throughout scripture we are presented with the image of God as judge, of a heavenly court, of Christ as and advocate, of the concepts of punishment and forgiveness, of sin as a debt to be paid etc.  So my question is rooted in fact. We are not confronted with a God who is arbitrary but one who has created all things by His word which is law. The guidelines of that law are to be found in His Word, the Bible.

And so all must appear before God one day to face the law of God and its consequences.  So what is the legal status of a sinner before God and what are his punishments?

The quick answer has always been: He is guilty and his punishment is to be tortured endlessly in the most horrific way possible.  Basically it comes down to the fact that God gives the sinner eternal life so that He can torture that sinner endlessly.

Why such a horrific punishment?  Well because the punishment must fit the crime. Apart from any offences which that sinner has probably caused against his fellow man the overriding fact is that he has sinned against God and that is an offense of such magnitude that the sinner is unable to pay for it or to remedy by compensation. So therefore the enormity of the crime must be paid for by endless torture.

Now before we hand down the judgment are there any mitigating circumstances that will allow for forgiveness from this great crime and punishment? For instance what about the atonement that Christ made on the cross?  The Bible tells us in so many scriptures that Christ died for sinners for just such payment.  Well here are the possible responses:

1) No Christ died only for a limited number of sinners.
This response can be divided up into two opinions:

a) The Reformed Theology view:  In Reformed theology also known as Calvinism there are the famous five points under the acronym of TULIP with the L standing for Limited Atonement. That means that God chooses who will be saved and He applies the atonement of Christ on the cross to only those He chose for salvation.

b) The evangelical view:  The atonement of Christ on the cross applies only to those who by faith believe on Christ.  Sinners who do not avail themselves of this atonement must pay for their sins through endless torture.

2) Yes Christ died for all sinners and His atonement on the cross was for the sins of all mankind.
This response can be divided up into two opinions also:

a) Universalism:  It is the plan and purpose of God to save all mankind and it is not left to the choice of man but God in His great sovereign power of creator takes responsibility for the salvation of all mankind through the death of Christ on the cross.

b) My view (and what I believe is the Biblical view):  Yes the death of Christ on the cross was an atonement for all mankind and for all sins against the Holiness of God but that does not mean that all men are saved....but it does mean that God does not torture people endlessly for offences against Him that they cannot pay because Christ did pay that debt for all mankind.

How did I come to my conclusion which is different to everything that I had been taught as a Bible believing evangelical?

Well the first thing is the uneasiness in my spirit.  Something in my spirit did not feel right about the idea of God torturing people endlessly.  I believe in the Holiness of God, I believe there is punishment for sin.  I believe it is a terrible thing to fall in the hands of the living God. I believe every branch in Christ who does not bear fruit is cut off and burnt in the fire.   But I just could not get any peace about endless torture...

So I went to scripture to find what lawyers call "case law" in the Old Testament. What does God say about His laws of crime and punishment?

The first obvious objection was the very commandment of Christ that we must forgive people of their offences 70 times 7 a day...or 490 times a day. If God requires that of me, then why does He Himself not forgive men their trespasses against Him 490 times a day?

I went to the Old Testament for further guidance. I will not go through all the scriptures for you but was very plain was that punishment was to be limited (only 40 lashes and no more), debts to be forgiven after a period of time. Mercy to be extended to all. Justice to be tempered with mercy.

But here is another interesting law of God that has to do with liability.  In Deut. 22:8 it says if you build a house then you must put a railing on the top to prevent people from falling because it is your responsibility if someone gets hurt. In Exodus 21:33 the same idea, if you dig a pit and you do not cover it up and an ox or someone falls in it you must compensate for the damage.

Here is the God's principle of ownership:  If you create or make something and it causes harm to people because you did not put in safe guards or prevent people from harm then you are responsible for the harm that comes to them.

So here is a question?  Who is responsible for the sin of Adam? Traditional theology tells us that not only is Adam responsible but his sin was imputed to us so that we share his guilt (also know as the doctrine of Original Sin).

Here is my legal analysis of this situation:
God made Adam. God placed a temptation in the garden of Eden. And to make matters worse so that Adam could fall, He made a tempter and gave him freedom to provoke Adam into the fall. 

But here is the solution: God as creator takes full responsibility for the fall of mankind. He knew it was going to happen. He went ahead with creation in any case and that is why Christ was crucified before the foundations of the earth. God took responsibility for both the fall of mankind as well as his redemption.

Can I support my thesis from scripture?  Try this...

"And he is the propitiation for our sins and not only for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2) Meaning the sins of the world are paid for!
"But we see Jesus who made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour that by the grace of God he should taste death for every man." (Hebrews 2:9)
"God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all..." (1 Tim.2:3-6)

Does that mean that all are saved? No because this is how Paul describes the situation in 2 Cor. 5:18-20 :
"And all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. To whit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not imputing their trespasses unto them and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.....and now we beseech you...be ye reconciled to God".

Now we come to the crux of my legal argument. Paul sums it up for us nicely. Unfortunately he uses two Greek words that are not clearly expressed in English by the word "reconciliation".  The two words are "katallasso" which means "conciliation" and the other word is "apo-katallasso" which means "reconciliation."

This is what he is saying:  You have two antagonists, God and man. Both need to be reconciled to each other.  The one party, God, was "conciliated" to man through the death of Christ and so God is no longer imputing their sins to them. All the wrongs that mankind has done against God He no longer holds it against us as Christ paid the debt for all mankind. God has been "conciliated" to man.

Our job now is tell the world this good news that the debt has been paid, that God has been 'conciliated"  and ask mankind to be "re-conciliated" to God by repentance and acceptance of Christ. If a person accepts Christ as saviour then he is born again and is saved he is reconciled to God. If he does not accept Christ he is not reconciled and cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. But has God's position of being conciliated to the sinner changed? No his offence towards God is still paid for and he does not have to pay for that offence. God is gracious to forgive and as this scripture tells us God will not impute their trespasses against them that they have committed against Him but their rejection of adoption into the family of God means they miss out on eternal salvation.

Here are some more wonderful scriptures to prove that Christ died for all:

He died for ALL (1 Tim. 2:6).
He died for ALL MEN (Rom. 5:18; 1 Tim. 4:10).
He died for US ALL, for ALL OF US (Isa. 53:6).
He died for the UNGODLY (Rom. 5:6).
He died for CHRIST-DENIERS (2 Peter 2:1).
He died for SINNERS (Rom. 5:8).
He died for EVERY MAN (Heb. 2:9).
He died for MANY (Matthew 20:28).
He died for the WORLD (John 6:33,51; John 1:29 and John 3:16).
He died for the WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2).
He died for the WHOLE NATION of Israel (John 11:50-51).
He died for the CHURCH (Eph. 5:25).
He died for His SHEEP (John 10:11).
He died for ME (Gal. 2:20).

So where does that leave the sinner on judgment day? Is he still tortured endlessly for offences made against the holiness of God?

The answer is no.  God has clearly spelled out what happens to sinners who are not born again of the spirit.

God said "the soul that sins will die" (Ezekiel 18:4 and Ezekiel 18:20).
Jesus said "fear him who hath power to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Math. 10:28)
Rev. 20:14 "and death and hell were cast in the lake of fire. This is the second death."

All sinners are confronted with the reality of death and resurrection.  The first death is their physical body.  The second death is the death of their soul. This happens when they are resurrected on the last day to stand before God.  Their problem is this: The Bible says "our God is a consuming fire" and it also says that there is river of fire streaming from the throne of God. To stand before God without an immortal spirit man created in the image of Christ means that soul will be destroyed by the presence of God. The "immortality of the soul" taught by preachers is a lie.  God has repeatedly said in scripture that the soul that sins will die....not given immortality to be tortured forever....no it will die.  And when the body is dead and the soul is dead...the person is gone...forever. 

That is a reality that God cannot change no matter how much He has forgiven men their trespasses against Him through the atonement of Christ...if you are not born again, born of His Spirit, you will be annihilated by His presence. John said of Christ "I baptize you with water...he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" Mat. 3;11.  If you have been baptized into the Holy Spirit you will walk through the fire. If not you will be consumed. The fire is not there to torture you...the fire is the presence of God which you cannot one day avoid.  It will either cleanse you or destroy you.

So what is the legal status of the sinner before God?

God takes legal liability for His creation by making a remedy for his fall in that God has forgiven the sinner his debts against Him those debts being paid for by the atonement of Christ for all mankind.
God now offers the forgiven sinner the legal right of adoption into the family of God.
If the sinner accepts adoption into God's family he is made a new creation, a new man made of God's Spirit to live forever.
If the fact of forgiveness and offer of adoption is rejected the soul and body dies as flesh and blood (blood signifying the soul) cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
God desires all to be saved and so has forgiven all mankind their sins to make it possible for all mankind to be saved....but not all mankind choose to be reconciled to God thereby foregoing their legal right to be adopted into the family of God.

Back to Top