Join Tim Kimberley, Michael Patton, Sam Storms and J.J. Seid as they discuss whether or not God chooses people to go to hell.

    22 replies to "Theology Unplugged: Does God Choose People to Go to Hell?"

    • Daniel

      I think it’s right that every one in Hell will deserve to be in Hell for being unredeemed sinners. The wrestle on double predestination goes even further back, though: If the omniscient and omnipotent God creates someone, knowing they will deserve Hell for their depravity, and knowing that God will NOT choose them for life, then isn’t God actively sentencing them to Hell simply by choosing to create them?

      Further, Romans 9:18 says God actively *hardens* whomever he will just as he offers mercy on whomever he wills. Doesn’t this parallel 9:22-23 nicely, making God both the one who actively prepares for destruction *and* for mercy? (even if grammatically one is made passive to lessen the punch)

      I think it’s one thing to say that we should humble ourselves not to question the Potter’s deeply perplexing ways on this point (Rom 9:20). But I’m not sure this podcast addressed these questions enough to conclude that God doesn’t choose some people for Hell.

      • josef

        From the lump Isa 64:8 and Jer 18:6
        Does not the potter make the vessel for his his use, and have authority over the clay, by illustration he cause Israel to be nation and by their choice turn to following sin, not rightesness as so can declare it fit for destruction. A accounting was made on the vessel concluding and cutting short (speedily) this text address not individual personal but a national group.

      • Braden


        Your question brings forth my question, which just pushes it up the chain. Why even bother creating humans? If he knew that Adam and Eve would sin and share with us their depravity? This is a tough question but I am going to branch together a line of reasoning.
        a) God created them. b) Knowing that he would not choose them for “life” (a different kind of life, but is it worse to not be chosen for heaven or to be allowed to cause the fall of humanity?) c) Was God actively sentencing them to hell? I do not believe so because God came to them and provided clothing for them (and probably a range of other practical skills).

        The main point I am getting at is that they were given first chances, the first humans to receive the first second chance. Maybe everyone in life has their share of second or third attempts and God knows who is going to take them and who is not? Or maybe it’s late and these are short ramblings.

    • Daniel

      Is there going to be a Part 2 or are there brief answers to these questions in the context of supralapsarianism?

    • Marc f

      Good time for this. Just reading through Boice’s The Doctrines of Grace I find he truly struggles to provide a solid and reasonable explanation on this element of the doctrine. first, I have never seen anywhere in the Bible that God passes over someone resulting in eternal damnation. Second, Daniel’s post above addresses questions not answered by this doctrine. Third, you cannot simply cite the choice of Jacob over Esau for the proposition as being one of salvation for Jacob yet turn a blind a to the implication that the opposite is also true. fourth and finally, why cannot an all knowing and all powerful God elect people to hell? where in the Bible say he doesn’t do this? I mean do we need to look any further beyond Judas, the one destined to damnation? I ask does a Calvinist theology completely fall apart if this is true? I don’t think so and in fact believes support a Calvinst’s view of how God carries out His sovereignty. I believe it was the great rc sprouel who said that if God Elects people to heaven we have to at least acknowledge that the opposite maybe true.

    • Roy Ingbre

      God gave mankind a free will to choose whatever path they want to take. And He simply knows ahead of time what decision every single person will or would take when He offer them the opportunity of redemption from their fallen sinful nature to be restored to fellowship with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. Sadly, most people do not choose that path and God knew every person’s decision before they were born. He knows the cuddly little baby that will grow up to reject Him, to become a Hitler, a Stalin or a Saddam Hussein or a Judas or….all those who will receive the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and be born again from above. He knows what every person will decide before they do. It’s called foreknowledge (Rom.8:29). You can read a more in-depth discourse here:

    • Lisa Vanderburg

      To the original question: No. I’m no theologian, but the matter is simple: Only we live in ‘time’. God does not. Ergo, he knows all about what we are & what we’ll do, individually. Thus, the idea that ‘God chooses who goes to hell’ is moot.

    • John R Wallis

      I think all you people should think seriously about becoming Christians, and start following Christ, the son of God.
      You are so obsessed with a heretic like Calvin, who could dispose of a real Christian, that arguably stood up to his heresy, but I do not see you following Jesus Christ…….. but John Calvin
      John R Wallis

    • Zane Harvey

      I am not sure the concepts of election and predestination of Romans 9 are to be interpretated on such an “individualistic” level particularly dealing with God’s interaction with a person elected and then predestined for salvation or even a double election/predestination view where even an individual can be made for eternal punishment. When I read Romans from beginning to end I see Paul talking in categories of people groups…… First all people groups start off lost and in sin worthy of judgment and wrath. From there Paul describes people groups and categories ranging from Jews to Gentiles, those under written law to those under law of the heart. those who have tried to live by works to those who live by faith in light of God’s justification , and those who are part of the “base tree “work of God and those who are grafted into that “tree”. There are a few individuals that Paul mentions like Abraham. Jacob, Esau and even Pharoah and these individuals were each affected and influenced by God’s predetermined plan. However I see those examples of individuals as they relate to God’s salvation plan and purpose for the general people groups as mentioned above. Now I understand the tendency and wanting to extrapolate biblical principles to the individual particularly in how it relates to God’s interaction and relationship to our own self and others like us, but I question whether that was Paul’s intent and that his desire was for us the reader to take the election/predestination debate to such a level. It makes contextual sense to me that Paul would focus on the types of people groups as it relates to the back drop of the promised Messiah coming through the lineage of the chosen people of Israel and yet to include the gentile nations as partaking in God’s redemption and through out this process God has been in complete control. By me understanding the book of Romans this way and not extrapolating the concepts of election and predestination to the individual level have I “deferred” the offensiveness thst so often occurs when such theological topics arise when applied at the individual level? I know there are many who disagree and there are entire theological systematics thst are driven by understanding the book of Romans texts as applying to the individual but I’m not necesssrily convinced we have to go there if the text the biblical author or text does not compel us to do so.

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Visualize a minute with me: Here we have this jigsaw puzzle almost together, but somehow no one has been able to finally get it completed. Different experts have been called in to get it finished, and even in this podcast we have four well qualified men working on the puzzle, but they too are baffled to make it fit together.

      Now and then a passerby suggests that there is one more piece of the puzzle laying there in plain sight which will make it work together, but none of the puzzle workers give any particular notice to this missing piece, they just continue in frustration trying to finish the puzzle without it.

      Michael has actually put the issue into words, he has stated taht he doesn’t know why God doesn’t save everyone. One of the other participants has given his “best reason” to answer Michael’s question, but I think this “best reason” leaves other serious questions unanswered. Not the least being what about real actual human souls that are involved here? Does God, who “so loved the world” care so little about real human souls that in the complexities of creation, that He allows real people with real souls to live in Hell forever when He already has a solution to the problem?

      To state the obvious, that solution is the cross. The atonement is bigger than most Christians have ever considered, on that cross the Lamb of God bore away the sins of the whole world. He is the one called the “Savior of the world”, not simply a savior “to” the world.

      But if the puzzle workers keep ignoring that one missing piece, i don’t think they are going to get past the unanswered questions any time soon.

      Everyone will have to come to God in faith, and everyone certainly doesn’t appear to do that in this life. Where are the “proof tests” that actually say no one can be reconciled beyond the grave? The challenge isn’t for texts which you assume to say that, I’m asking for texts that actually say that.

    • Vegeta

      there are 41000 Christian denonimations and you really think you will get a final answer here. 41000 shows we are clueless.

    • Roy Ingbre

      “Brother”, It reeks of universalism here….”Does God, who “so loved the world” care so little about real human souls that in the complexities of creation, that He allows real people with real souls to live in Hell forever when He already has a solution to the problem?”
      One thing you are forgetting – God is not just Love, He is also Just. The Holy Spirit came to convict of Sin, Righteousness AND…Judgement! Forgiveness of Sin and Eternal LIFE is a gift and it must be received. Those who refuse it, obviously will not have the benefit of the gift. I think that’s rather logical. God loves the world, but unfortunately only a few return His love by accepting His Gift through the Cross of Christ. Another good read is “Hell – is it real?”, which is a commentary on the Movie “Hellbound”. You can find it here;

    • Brother Stumblefoot IS a universalist.

    • Brother stumblefoot

      Hello Roy Ingbre:
      Thanks for your reply to my comment. The likely reason my comment “reeked of Universalism” is that i am indeed an “Evangelical Universalist.” From what i pick up from your comments is that you are probably identifying me with something like Unitarianism, which is almost exactly opposite to what I believe.

      True Evangelical Universalism is based firmly on the atonement!! And this atonement reconciles only those who “receive,” that atonement, but we believe the Bible does NOT teach that none can “receive,” that atonement/reconciliation after death. Show me a Scripture verse that unequivocally proves there can be no reconciliation after death.

      How could I have ever forgotten that God is “not only love, but also justice,” as you state, when I
      have been taught that all my life. What I think you and most other Christians have forgotten, is
      that the cross has dealt bountifully with the justice issue, and that God is at His own liberty to draw all men to Himself, through the cross. That He obviously does not always do so in this life, yet states that He definitely will, this seems to leave room for further study and deliberation.

      What i discover is that most traditional Hell teachers have a very limited, and a skewed perception of Evangelical Universalism. Rather there is a “straw-man” Universalist that is presented, even perpetuated, and the pew sitters are warned that any kind of Universalism is really only some sort of Unitarianism, micro-waved and warmed over.

      I challenge you for the sake of fairness and integrity, to biblically examine the case for Evangelical
      Universalism. Thanks for listening, Brother Stumblefoot

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Michael: Having noted that you “wish” God would save everyone, and that you don’t know why He doesn’t save every one (smiley faces for those admissions), may I request that you give us your reason/reasons for believing He will not. Not trying to pick a fight, remember that I consider you one of the few five pointers I wouldn’t mind having as a neighbor some day, on the streets of gold.

      It is just that when I read the objections to the Reconciliationist viewpoint, I really haven’t seen much that really brings a silence on the room. So satisfy my curiosity, and tell us where and why you hang your hat on this one. Much appreciated, Brother Stumblefoot

    • gary

      Imagine what would happen if the authorities found out that cult leaders and the parents in that cult were telling their children that if the children did not obey the rules of the cult, they would be tossed into a boiling pot of liquid fire.

      The leaders of the cult and the parents would most likely be put in jail.

      So if conservative Christian clergy and parents threaten their little children with claims that an invisible ghost god is going to burn them alive if they do not obey the church’s rules, should these clergy and parents be subjected to the same punishment as the leaders and parents of the cult?

      Should the teaching of Hellfire and damnation to children be a crime?

    • Roy Ingbre

      Brother Stumblefoot:
      1. It’s been a long time since I was here….where you said: “I challenge you for the sake of fairness and integrity, to biblically examine the case for Evangelical Universalism”. Well, I think that if you want to make a case for that, the ball is in your court. Rather give me the scriptural basis for Your view.

      2. You ask me: “Show me a Scripture verse that unequivocally proves there can be no reconciliation after death”.

      3. I ask you: Show me a scripture that proves that there CAN be reconciliation after death.

      4. Do you believe there is a Hell?

      Roy Ingbre

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Hello Roy Ingbre,
      Hey, it has been a while, but that’s OK. Actually, I’m surprised that so few people are interested in this subject, it seems pretty important to me, and apparently to you also. I will attempt to keep this as brief as I can, so as not to lose readers, though that may be difficult to do. But thanks for inviting me to explain my position better. You probably are not the kind of guy that steals lollipops from babies, or who pushes little old ladies on icy sidewalks; I will assume you to be a typical Evangelical, trying to stick true to the faith, and perhaps have never taken an in-depth look at Evangelical Universalism–not to be confused with Unitarian Universalism.

      I will begin with number four among the items for discussion–Do I believe in Hell.

      Answer: I believe in Geheena; I believe in Hades, (or Sheol, the
      O. T. word); and I believe in the Lake of fire. Other than Tartarus, (which as I recall is translated Hell one time in the KJV) these first two are the Greek words translated Hell in the KJV; and the Lake of Fire probably is the concept most people have of Hell. I really do believe in an “afterlife judgment,” and a fearful judgment at that. One may call it Hell if he wishes, I suppose, though I prefer to stick to the original Greek as the proper terminology. I do not believe that the afterlife judgment is eternal; I do not know how long it will last.

      OK, the ball is in my court. I believe I can give you unequivical Scriptures that indicate an ultimate reconciliation of all mankind. And if it can be proven that all men are to be ultimately reconciled, i think we both would agree that it obviously would have to be after death, we sure don’t seem to see all men being reconciled in this life; that appears to be a “given.”

      I begin with Romans five, vss 18 and 19. I see no way these vss can be read any other way than to indicate justification of all men. It must be noted here that “many” being mentioned in vs 19, is not an escape hatch for the traditionalist, because it is “the” many in both instances; (definite article in Greek) indicating that the same ones who are condemned, these same ones will be justified.

      We move on to ! Cor. 15:22. “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Having only introduced this scripture, I think it best to break loose right here and hopefully continue tomorrow or tomorrow evening. Roy, I am 83 years old and have had a very tough day.
      Thanks for listening. Bro. Stumblefoot

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Hello again Roy,

      I’ll get right to 1 Cor. 15:22 and context. As is also the case in Romans 5:18 and 19, the parallelism stands out and grabs the attention. In Romans we find one trespass leading to condemnation of all/ one act of righteousness by one righteous person (our Lord) leading to justification; then in vs 19 it is thru one man’s disobedience “the” many were constituted sinners/ and the obedience of one man, “the” many will be made righteous.

      So it is in 1 Cor. 15:22, As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. The parallelism stands out.

      And again, vs 23 does not offer any encouragement to the traditionalist (“they that are Christ’s at His coming.”) because the context goes beyond the coming of Christ, to His rule and even unto the time when “He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God,” until that last enemy, death, is destroyed. Hey, that will be great, all in subjection to the Father, thru the victory of the Son, and finally death destroyed. This reminds us of Rev. 21, first few verses, no more death, nor sorrow, crying, pain, these shall all pass away, and God will make all things new.

      Our Lord is referred to as “The Savior of the world,” two or three times, and the Savior of all men once. In what sense could he be the Savior of the world, if He will not save the world? Now it does not say that He is a Savior available for the world “if they will receive Him in this lifetime;” He “is” the Savior of the world. (And all men, as in 1 Tim. 4:10.)

      Luke 19:10 tells us that “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save, that which was lost.” Now we all agree that He came to “seek,” the lost, but the text includes “to save” as equally a part of His purpose. Did He change His mind, or did He fail to accomplish His purpose?

      Roy, If I come across as a bit brusque, or “put downish,” please accept my apologies, i am hurrying in this apologia and not taking time to choose my words as well as I might. I would prefer a gentle spirit to a guy who has (or thinks he has) all the answers, any day. i realize that theoretically, and I suppose even logically, I could be wrong, though i just don’t see how this teaching could be wrong. There is so much more that argues the case, I can only scratch the surface here. The atonement at Calvary is the central point in mankind’s ultimate and final restoration.

      I will try to get back to this.
      Best regards, Brother Stumblefoot

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Hello again Roy,

      A couple more scriptures that in my opinion, speak of an ultimate reconciliation of all men:
      Ist John 3:8. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy (render ineffective) the works of the devil.” Doesn’t this sound pretty good, all that Satan has done will be rendered ineffective? He has brought sin and death to this world; that is going to be rendered ineffective. It is not here some works of Satan, but “the works” of Satan. This has to be seen as
      all his works, sin and death and alienation from God included.

      John 12:32: “and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.” The word “draw” here is a strong word, meaning to literally drag all men to Himself. We don’t see that happening now, but it is a promise that will be fulfilled–in due season, evidently in the afterlife.

      And of course there are many scriptures that speak of God’s love and mercy and compassion. If God really loved all these people (and He did/does) which He has either caused or allowed to be born into this world, doesn’t it seem logical that He would have come up with a plan that would definitely keep them out of an eternal Hell, a plan with no contingencies (and He did, it was Calvary).

      That there are many scriptures that speak of God’s judgment it cannot be denied. Have we noticed though, that in James we are told that “mercy boasts over judgment.” God’s terrible judgments are designed, at least in part, to bring the “holdout rebel” to Himself.

      Is the church today aware that the words “eternal, everlasting, forever, etc”., do not always mean
      just that, “eternal, everlasting, forever, etc.” The Greek word for these in almost all cases is “aion,” which has a basic meaning of “age.” While words may have different usages in different contexts, and probably in describing the attributes of God Himself, aion or aionios (the adjective)
      we would assign the meaning of eternal, etc. But there are many places in the Bible where one could not assign that meaning, but rather “age” would be the proper and only understanding of it. It might be noted that in many of these such places, the KJV uses the word “world,” but occasionally it does use “age.” It is the same basic Greek word though, in virtually every place. When the adjective form is used, it does not somehow change to eternal, except as stated above, when it speaks of the attributes of God Himself.

      It was in the mid to late sixth century that a church council,in Constantinople as i recall, “decreed” or “decided” that there is an “eternal” Hell. Prior to this time, there was no church creed that spoke of an eternal judgment. Church and civil leaders took advantage of this teaching to help them control the common people. The leaders of the Reformation evidently did not give serious thought to this doctrine, but accepted what had been handed down by the catholic Church.

      Better run, Brother Stumblefoot

    • Roy Ingbre

      Br. Stumblefoot,
      It seems that my reply to your oct 13 comment did not make it here, hence your two comments together. I did not make a copy so I guess it is lost, but you might have received it personally.

      At any rate – to keep it shorter this time. There really is not need to carry this further. The fact of the Cross of Christ is that He died (provided) for ALL, however, ONLY them who receive Him…. John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
      II Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? That does not all of a sudden change after death!

      The Holy Spirit:
      John 16:8: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
      John 16:9: Of sin, because they believe not on me;
      John 16:10: Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
      John 16:11: Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

      Eternal in both these scriptures means perpetual:
      Mark 3:29: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
      Hebrews 6:2: Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

      There is no second chance after you are dead. The Just shall live by FAITH. You don’t need faith after you realize you were wrong. That then becomes a FACT. I have referred to this before, bur it bears repeating;
      Hebrews 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

      I am sorry for you but the Bible is very clear on the subject. What I have found is that the only people that are interested in this subject is because they want to be sure they have second chance if they don’t make it in life, or they are hoping for some loved ones that did not put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ while alive and they would like to see them again in Heaven. Well, we cannot just make doctrines to fit our wishes. God’s Word is pretty clear. It is not what we don’t understand we have problems with, but rather with what we do understand but have problems obeying.

      I rest my case with God speaking His words, which are beyond dispute.


    • Brother Stumblefoot

      OK Roy, I accept your wish that my response to your challenge not continue further. However, i do need to respond to some of your statements in your post last night. (And btw, I did not receive your previous post.)

      I think you do not realize that I do believe in the imperative for the unsaved to repent and submit to God and His Christ before they can be ultimately reconciled. It is not that all are indiscriminately welcomed into His presence, saints and sinners alike. As you stated, it is only to those who receive Him. But what is to prevent God from bringing a sinner to repentance, even after death? Is His hand shortened that He cannot save? What you perhaps perceive about me is that I am Unitarian. This, I am not.

      But I must call your hand in regard to your use of Mark3:29, and Hebrews 6:2. In Mark, it is not the word “Never” that is used in the original, but the word “not.” Also, there is no real grammatical necessity nor even authority in this verse,nor in the He. 6:2 verse, to translate aion as “eternal,” unless it is a certainty, that either Geheena, Hades/Sheol or the Lake of Fire are eternal. This I believe, cannot be established by the Scripture text. The Church “established”
      it by “fiat” during the Dark Ages, and we have accepted this without question pretty much, ever since.

      Again, by the above mentioned “fiat,” you have declared that there is no second chance after death. And if the sinner in Hades or the Lake of Fire “sees” the reality of the things of God, rather than being limited to faith, is this a problem an all powerful and loving God cannot deal with? Do you really want eternal punishment to be the true doctrine, wouldn’t you actually like for me to be correct?

      Lastly, do you really doubt where I will spend eternity, based on my understanding that God is really much more loving and more powerful than you seem to think He is? I was an Evangelical, born-again believer, probably many years before you were born. Do you really think God is like a school teacher who is more concerned about technicalities than the well being of the student? Does He not have the ability to cause the sinner to bow and submit before Him; or for Himself to righteously do whatever it takes to rescue any person He loves, or ever has loved.

      OK, I am ready for a bi-lateral ceasing of the discussion.
      Brother Stumblefoot

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