It has been argued that "a loving God would not send people to an eternal hell."
It has been said that "finite sins do not deserve infinite punishment."
It has been suggested that "a God of love would create no such place."
It is often thought that "hell is really only for the worst of the worst, like the Hilters, and Stalins, and bin Ladens."
False Theories about Hell/judgment
Conditional Immortality. This theory is built on the error that all who do not receive everlasting life will die as the animals and be annihilated or wiped out of existence. It contends that immortality is conditional upon receiving the gift of everlasting life. If anyone dies not having the gift of everlasting life he shall not be punished with everlasting torment. It suggests he shall be simply annihilated and cease to exist.
Universalism. This idea is built on the falsehood that eventually all men, regardless, eventually end up in heaven. Its cousin doctrine Restitutionism/Restorationism is similarly amiss, in that it believes all men, angels, and even Satan will one day be restored or reconciled to God.
Annihilationism. This says that after death unbelievers may experience God's wrath for a time and then are annihilated or "destroyed" so that they no longer exist. Some forms of this teach that annihilation occurs immediately upon death.
We hear it said often that God is too tender, kind, and forgiving to allow men to suffer in Hell. Pleading the love and pity of God, men insist that He would not allow His creatures to perish. There are many beautiful and sentimental sayings about the love of God that are quoted to support the view that He would not allow one soul to suffer torment in eternity. But we dare never lose sight of the fact that one’s escape from Hell is not dependent upon the love of God but upon repentance and faith in Christ. God is love, to be certain, but man is responsible. Men go to hell because they are born sinners, and die without a Savior, not having faith in the only remedy, the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The natural and inevitable consequence of sin is punishment. Proper punishment of a child does not lessen the love of the parent. Sin condemns just as sure as fire burns, and God is justified in putting into effect the immortal law that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:8).
With regard to punishment, would we do away with jails and prisons, which are so essential to protect the public? Would we free the rapist, pedophile, terrorist, simply because it is suggested to be unkind to incarcerate for long periods? If someone has stolen your life savings, or your vehicle, and left you destitute, is there not a cry for justice? And imagine, in a court of law, where the judge sets free the guilty prisoner, to roam again in his jurisdiction, to perpetrate again his criminal activity. Would this God be just? What becomes of society if such injustice takes root? Do we expect less of God than we do of a human judge? What becomes of this life in such anarchy? Is God less just, we repeat again?
Some would say that this life is all the hell there is, or that hell is merely the grave. But when the unsaved rich man died he went to Hell, and cried: “I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). Certainly he was not merely in the grave. He had five brothers whom he desired to be saved lest they also should come to that place of torment. Now if his five brothers would have repented and become saved, their conversion could not have kept them from the grave, for “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Repentance and conversion will keep one from Hell but not from the grave. (We do not enter into the rapture discussion here)
Hell: A literal place
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44).
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame (Luke 16:24).
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
At death the eternal state of each person is forever fixed. The words “eternal,” “everlasting,” “for ever” and “for ever and ever” express endless duration. The New Testament use of these expressions denotes eternity. It is unreasonable to assume that there is an eternal Heaven but not an eternal Hell. Eternal punishment is as much a truth of God’s Word as is eternal life. Jesus said: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).
The life of the righteous is everlasting, but so is the punishment of the wicked everlasting. The Bible says that salvation is eternal (Hebrews 5:9), life is eternal (John 6:54), redemption is eternal (Hebrews 9:12), and the inheritance of the saints is eternal (Hebrews 9:15). But it says also that the fire of Hell is eternal and everlasting (Matthew 18:8; Jude 7); the chains of Hell are everlasting (Jude 6); the blackness of darkness is for ever (Jude 13), and the torment is for ever and ever (Revelation 20:10). The punishment of the wicked and the life of the righteous are for equal duration, “for ever and ever.”
At the bottom, the issue is JUSTICE. Men like to hear of heaven, and a God of love, who desires them to have a happy life-kind of a benevolent grandfather in the sky, and so forth. But God is revealed in scripture as being holy, as well as being love. And He is infinitely holy, and infinitely love. The psalmist says in 85:10, "Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. Where? This took place at the cross, where love and justice met, and "kissed".
The infinity of holiness and infinity of love together, when contrasted with the rebellion and sin of the creature, teach us that there is no such thing as "finite" sin. The objection that a finite sin does not merit infinite justice and punishment, is to lower God's holiness to man's position. Sin against an infinitely holy God is not a trifling finite matter, it is a ghastly error that needs an infinite remedy. Hell is no remedy, though, it is a just punishment. A God of love, provides a remedy while remaining just.
And it is here that the remedy for the problem of hell is found. Not in denial. Not in ignorance. Not in explaining it away. And most certainly not in thinking "I am better than most people so I must be ok." Rather, it is the recognition that mercy (tied to love) and truth (tied to justice) have met together. At the cross.
The infinite remedy, required an infinite person to bring about an infinite resolution. The eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, came into this rebellious world, and paid the ransom for sinners. "He made Him Who knew no sin, to be sin (offering) for us, that we might become the righteousness of God, in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). The justice against sin was met, in the death & resurrection of Christ, and the love of God expressed in that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Hell is real, and all deserve to go there, that is justice. God is just. The cross though, allows Him to remain just, and to be the Justifier of the person who has faith in Christ. Because the penalty of sin is paid, and justice is satisfied, by a satisfactory substitute.
It is clear that those who die without Christ, must receive what is just. And that my friend, is Hell. Eternally. A place where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Call it backwards, superstitious, deny it, make fun of it, create comic strips that make light of it, but justice demands it. There can be no heaven, if there be no HELL.
(much of this material is from LS, rewritten and adapted)