The famous atheist/philosopher, Bertrand Russell, said in his book, Why I’m Not a Christian: “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not, myself, feel that any person who is profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.” And here is how the scholar C.S. Lewis responded: “How could God be loving if there was not hell?”
While that sounds like a bit of twisted logic, it is actually a brilliant observation. Let me explain. If someone has rejected God all of their life, the last place he wants to spend eternity is with the very one he rejected. God loves us enough to give us the freedom to decide about a relationship with Him. God did not make us robots programmed to do right. He made us human. And humans are made in the image of God. That means we can think, we can reason, we can make choices. God desires a loving relationship with us. And if we choose to reject God, then certainly He is going to give us the freedom to continue to be separated from Him. Love does not force certain behavior. Love gives the privilege of rejection. God allows all mankind the freedom to choose and to decide. How could God be a loving God if He didn’t?