Is it possible that a loving God would send ?good? people to hell?

Desi Hoffman

Desi HoffmanGuest Columnist

Is it possible that a loving God would send “good” people to hell?

For many who would say they are Christians, and even for those who wouldn’t, a lot of the time the question isn’t does heaven and hell exist but rather “how does one get there?”

In small town South Dakota I have talked to people about this question over and over and most often the answer I get is that people get to heaven by being good. But then, naturally the next question raised is “how good is good enough?” How many good deeds must we do in order to obtain heaven? And I would state that in fact no person has ever committed enough good to enter heaven, however, God has created a different standard for us to enter eternity with Him.

For those of us who know people who seem like genuinely good, kind people; or maybe for we who attend church often, do good works, and stay away from anything that is “that bad” this statement could be hard to deal with. In all reality, Christianity is the only religion that good works and “doing something” doesn’t allow us to attain right standing before God. The Bible makes it clear that even these people have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”

God sees a person’s whole heart, sees all of their actions, and knows all of their words and thoughts. So God has a lot more information to use when judging someone. It is with this complete knowledge that God can judge us righteously. Not to mention, when God is measuring the standard of good ,He is not merely comparing one person’s actions to that of someone else’s and deeming some good, and some bad, but rather He compares a humans actions to HIS standard of good… that standard purity, perfection and holiness.

So how does this answer our question about how one enters heaven or hell? It puts everyone in the same boat. No matter how good or bad we would deem a person no one is good enough on his or her own to enter heaven because, from God’s perspective, no one perfectly follows his commands. In one way or another, all of us have forsaken God and gone away from Him.

So how then does one enter Heaven? The truth of the Bible says that it is by Jesus and Jesus alone that one enters eternity with God. We must repent (turn/admit) our sins and ask Jesus, the Son of God who did live a perfect life, to pay the death penalty for our sins and to bring us forgiveness.

All through the Bible, God makes it clear that we gain heaven, not by our “good works” or “good life,” but that God offers it to all as a gift. Rather than pretend that we are good people, He asks us to admit that we sin against Him.

For me, I grew up in church all my life but it wasn’t until I came to college at SDSU that I learned the truths in this. For more information on this, or other questions about faith visit

Desi Hoffman is an SDSU graduate from D2008 with a degree in consumer affairs and now is a fulltime staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ. Contact her at [email protected]