Rare is the criminal who admits the justice of the sentence imposed upon him by an earthly court. It is not surprising, then, that those who reject God’s gracious and merciful offer of forgiveness complain against the consequences which they bring upon themselves. Always the complaint puts God on trial, calls into question His character, and blames Him for what is obviously man’s guilty doing. Typical is the indignant and self-righteous demand: “How could a loving God sentence someone to eternal torment!”
It may be helpful to consider a simple illustration. Imagine a colorful fish, full of life and a beauty to behold, swimming vigorously in the ocean. On the shore the fish sees a man smoking a cigar, holding a fishing pole, and leaning back comfortably in a lounge chair. Convinced that this would be the “good life,” the fish leaps out of the water and manages to wriggle its way onto an empty chair. Instead of the comfort and enjoyment it expected, however, the fish finds itself gasping for oxygen. Falling from the chair, it flops around in the dirt and gravel, gills opening and closing desperately as it slowly and painfully dies.
Pausing to observe the scene, a passerby exclaims angrily, “What kind of a God would create a fish to suffer like that!”
Of course, God did not intend for the fish to suffer in this manner at all. Nor did He ever intend that any man would suffer in hell, which Jesus Himself described as “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew:25:41). Created to swim in the ocean of God’s love, man has been given the power of choice, without which he could neither love nor respond to the love of God or of other people. Those who reject the life and love for which God has created them bring their unhappy fate upon their own heads, as did the fish.
Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven, Harvest House, 1988, p 27,