Did God create hell? If He did create it, then how can He be a loving God, yet send people to a place of eternal damnation?
Yes, God created hell. Matthew 25:41 suggests that it was originally prepared for the devil and his angels. But unregenerate human beings will also be cast there.
We must not try to separate God’s attributes from one another. God is love, but He is also holy, just and full of wrath against sin. Because of His great love for us, God has provided His Son as a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 3:16, etc.). Those who reject this sacrifice will not receive its benefits (including the forgiveness of sins). These will be justly punished by God for their sins, and the wages of sin is death. “Death” in the Bible carries the idea of separation. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body (James 2:26). Spiritual death is the separation of a person from God (Ephesians 2:1-2). Eternal death (the Second Death, or Lake of Fire) is eternal separation from God.
I hope this helps.
©2004 Probe Ministries
P.S. From Sue Bohlin:
We must also remember that God wants to save people He made in His image, and for whom Christ died, more than we want to be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It’s not that a loving God SENDS people to hell, but that He sadly allows people to experience the horrible consequences of their refusal to trust Him.