I don’t have a conceptual problem with hell, but I was posed the following question by a friend (it’s a bit like the “problem of evil;” and nor do I have a problem with that):
If God is omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent (i.e., omnimax), then He desires that all men be saved, He knows before creating them which will freely choose heaven and which will freely choose hell, and He has the power to create only those men who will go to heaven without destroying free will. So, why is it not a logical necessity that He do these things?
My immediate response was that the existence of evil people who go to hell effects greater good than the nonexistence thereof. To me this seems the necessity.
Nevertheless, this is not a sufficient response because it is simply an appeal to God’s inscrutability; there is no way that I can rationally prove what I’ve stated. All I can say is that, because I have faith, it must be the case. And there is a second problem: it seems to say that the cost of at least one soul in hell is worthwhile if some other good is achieved by that person’s life. Yet, in total, the good needs to outweigh the bad, and even eternal life doesn’t appear to outweigh eternal damnation.
Are there some better responses to the initial question?
Thanks and God bless!