Question: Won't God forgive people in hell too, eventually, and bring all with Him?
Scripture describes Hell as a “lake of fire” into which those whose names are not written in the “book of life” are “thrown” (Rev. 20:14-15). This one-time event takes place at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15; Matt. 5:22). Up until this Day of Judgment, “death” is the condition of those whose names are not in the book of life, and ‘Hades” (Sheol, in the OT) is the place where the dead reside, awaiting Judgment Day.
The good news is that no one is in Hell yet. The bad news is that once a person has died without having been rescued from Hell there is no further possibility of escape:
Heb. 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…
Is This Fair?
Scientifically, matter is, practically speaking, impossible to annihilate. You can alter it, like burning a flower to ash, yet the fundamental atoms continue to exist—rearranged in a different form. Theoretically, matter could even be turned completely into energy, yet it would still continue to exist in that new form.
The same principle is true of at least two life forms created by God: angels and human beings. Both were created as eternally existing beings. Satan and his angel cohort rebelled against God (Is. 14:12-14; Rev. 12:9), and also dragged Adam and Eve into his rebellion. In so doing he introduced sin, entropy and death into God’s perfect creation (Rom. 5:12).
Hell provides a permanent end to the rebellion of Satan and the devastating effects of sin he brought upon all creation. And because Satan and the angels are eternal beings, Hell also needed to be an eternal solution. Imagine Satan and his angels imprisoned within the heart of a sun, never able to escape and never again able to exercise any influence upon God’s renewed and perfect creation.
The Human Predicament
Mankind is trapped in the vortex of Satan’s rebellion—and of his future, eternal demise:
1John 3:8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
Sin is not only any act of disobedience against God, it is a fatal condition we are born into—like babies born with a deadly addiction from their parents. The fact that death exists at all is a constant reminder of our altered reality:
Rom. 5:12 … sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…
Like a planet being sucked into a black hole, humanity has been dragged into Satan’s sin and its eternal, fatal consequences. We are condemned before we are born, with no way of escape. No matter how good or religious we try to be, it is utterly beyond our ability to completely separate ourselves from every sinful thought and action (Rom. 8:3).
But what we cannot do for ourselves, God in His great love and mercy has done through Jesus Christ. The opportunity for rescue from Hell, therefore, is now, in this earthly life. God has thrown out the lifeline, His sinless Son, Jesus Christ, who took our condemnation upon himself, granting us forgiveness and release from sin’s power and consequences. Refusing Jesus is to refuse eternal life.
John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.