OK, I apologize if y’all have debated and re-debated this. I am not very successful with “searching,” so I wouldn’t have a clue what key word to search for this topic.
Anyway, I have a question that I sometimes ponder.and another thread reminded me of it:
Why does God create people that he knows will end up in Hell? Isn’t that cruel? I can’t wrap my mind around the free will aspect well enough to completely get this. I think of my almost grown son, who has been just a tad difficult to raise, and he has made some choices I do not approve of. Whatever he does, though, I still love him, and I could never make the choice to send him to Hell, even if he became a raving JW or even an atheist. So, using the “If you who are mere men choose good gifts for your kids” analogy, how could God choose Hell for him? (Of course, I’m hopeful He won’t . . . )
First, God does know all but He is not telling anyone. No one on earth knows who will and will not choose Him. Therefore, you have true free will.
As a friend of mine said, “You can’t force anyone to love you.” God does not want anyone to be forced. We must love and serve Him of our own free will. Willing. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17
The other important thing to remember is that the devil is a real being and devises numerous deceptions so that people are led astray. That is why it is so important for a mother and father to raise up their children in the faith.
Lastly, the world regards the faith, the Word of God and the testimony of the saints as foolishness. I encourage you to read the Bible and to pray to God for guidance as you do so.
I think the answer is that the people who are in Hell have sent themselves there. By deliberately and continually rejecting the grace offered to them from God, they have completely and eternally cut themselves off from God, Who is the source of all good. The analogy you mentioned of a child who grows up and makes bad decisions is correct. A parent’s worst fear would be a child who grows up, commits horrible crimes, and is sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty. As a parent, you would still love your child, but the child’s decisions and actions have led to a separation that is fixed and final. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it would be for the parent in that situation, but I’m sure that God does not desire that any of His children will separate themselves from Him for eternity.
I know that this may SEEM cold and uncomforting to us, but here goes: “Friend, who are you to answer God back? Does something molded say to its molder, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Read Romans 9:6-24 in context. I quoted verse 20.
Realize that God wills for none to perish. Those who go to Hell have chosen it, themselves. God loves us all.
I think a direct answer to your question might be “God sees value in and appreciates the damned, even if they do not return the favor.”
It helps me to imagine this “from God’s perspective” but teased out in time so that I can think it through: (Please do not take the language used here as philosophically precise – the verbs used are human and presuppose time and limited focus; they are analogies and must be adjusted if one wants to precisely apply them to God directly. This is not pretended to depict God’s actual experience, only the “logic” behind its outcome.) God imagines a person whom He considers creating. There is a choice to be made, should this person be created or left unmade? God knows by the knowledge of sight that the person will fail to accept salvation – the person will have the chance and “could” be saved, but in fact he will not be saved. God must decide whether to make him, or leave him unmade.
Some “possible” people God must decide to leave unmade – in such cases it is truly better that they never be created.
Some, however, He apparently values in a way that makes their being valuable, even though they will not accept God and will therefore be damned. I think this truth is important for us to realize. It shows us the “non-circumstantial” nature of the “value” of people. God’s judgment of their “value” must not be a “utilitarian” weighing of what He can “get from them.” He must actually appreciate and value people as ends in themselves as “worthwhile” even when they do not serve His ends as He wishes.
In this sense, the fact of the damned leads us to see the depth and absolute nature of God’s love in a precise way. He loves people for themselves and not only because of what they do or what they produce.
So, the telling question might be, “If your son ends up in Hell, would you think that he ought never to have existed at all?” If there is value in your son which is independent of heaven and hell, an absolute value, then you can appreciate why God would make a person, even though the pain of the person’s damnation is certainly known.
God’s love is deep and un-feigned. The doctrine of “Hell,” surprisingly, teaches this.
In so many questions like this it helps to imagine the alternative. What if God only created people whom he knew would be saved. What would the world look like in that case? I doubt God would lie to us, so he would have to tell us that we were all destined for heaven. So how do you think people would behave if they all (every single person on the planet) knew without any shadow of a doubt that they were all guaranteed to go to heaven?