The most recent outbreak of worry that a prominent teacher is denying that God’s everlasting wrath (based on a publisher’s blurb? I’ll wait and see how things shake out after the book is released.), has got me thinking. I don’t think the Bible claims Hell is an exception to the rule that God is love. It is an application of that rule to those who insist on spurning God.
The Biblical doctrine of eternal conscious punishment as “fire” is premised on God’s love. God is loving and gracious and man responds to God’s love and grace with resistance and ingratitude.
Remember the warning attached to the Second Commandment:
I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me.
God’s wrath is His jealousy. Hell is his burning jealousy. Song of Solomon 8.6:
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; [or Hell]
It’s flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the LORD.
Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood,
But who can stand before jealousy?
God is loving and gracious. God pursues sinners. God offers forgiveness. But He will not be patient forever. And the very reason Hell is hot, is because such a great love has been spurned.