This question seems to really be encompassing two things. First, why a loving God would send people to hell. Second, why God created people he knew would go to hell.
This raises another question, why did our loving God create man, knowing that his own son would have to come to earth and die for them? Why do we think we are owed an answer?
Sadly this question often gets asked by parents, who look at their children and struggle with the idea that God would let their children exist knowing they could go to hell. This is ironic though. Think about it, parents love their children, don’t they! If their child was planned, they chose to have their child out of love. Yet they knew their child would die one day, because everyone will. Did they question their own motives just because they knew their child would one day die and yet chose to have them anyway?
Despite this irony, the question warrants an answer. There are many reasons to give.
We might respond to the question by attacking it’s premise. God is good and love and can send people to hell. We can’t change that. Okay, now repent so you don’t end up there. But there are many good reasons to be given addressing the three issues:
(1) we misunderstand what love is;
(2) we misunderstand God’s character; and
(3) we misunderstand the purpose of hell and the choice of man.
Let’s start by better understanding the “love” that God is.
Love believes all things
When you ask how a “loving God” would do something, you must first ask what is “love”.
The Bible explains what love is very comprehensively and one explanation of love is that “love believes all things”. Love has a certain entrusting nature to it. That is not to say God had a false belief about where we would end up, but it does mean God rightly expected we would be loyal to him because of His love.
God loves people not robots
God knew every outcome possible but God clearly wanted children who would choose to love him. Love is a choice. If we were made without the choice of betraying him or being faithful to him, our love is without choice. Robots don’t love. They just do what they’re programmed to do. People have a choice. Robots don’t. God made people to love because robots can’t choose to love.
He knew everyone would betray him, but he had a plan to save and reconciled them to himself. This way they could love him all the more because “the one who is forgiven much will love much.”
God loves His Glory
We’re not the only ones God loves. He loves us people for sure, but he also loves his glory. In Romans 9:22-24, we learn that God is entitled to make vessels for destruction if it glorifies him. Thankfully, God has offered Heaven to all (Romans 10:13). God loves his glory, as well as people.
Fundamental to this question is a misunderstanding of God. God is not only motivated by love, but also a God of perfect justice and perfect mercy. Justice means that God punishes the guilty and expects payment of debts. Mercy means he forgives the guilty and justifies the wrongdoer. God reconciles his justice and mercy through the payment of life made by Jesus on the cross.
When we think of why God created us, much more is going on than only love. God’s glory, justice, truth, mercy, supremacy and so on are all relevant to His creating us.
The Eternal Dignity of God
The gravity of the insult rises with the dignity of the one insulted. If I slapped my brother, I might get one back. If I slapped a policeman, I might end up in jail. If I slapped the prime minister I can expect a longer sentence. However, if I slapped the Queen, I might not be seen for a long time. The Queen’s dignity made my insult more grave. God is of eternal dignity. Our insult is eternally grave.
When we ask why God made people knowing they would go to hell, we are ignoring the plain fact that we deserve hell. In making man, God didn’t make man go to hell. We earned it by choice. God is glorified because in spite of our deserving hell, he has offered us heaven.
Hell was made for the Devil
Hell was made for the devil and his angels. When man joins the devil’s rebellion, he joins the devil’s destiny.
God offers life to everyone
God has offered life to everyone, even that tribe that has never heard the Gospel. In the middle of Africa, a traditional medicine man was seeking the one true God. This man had never seen a white man or heard about Jesus. Isolated in Africa, all he knew was pagan religion. One evening, he fell asleep and God revealed to him in a dream that he was sending him missionaries in a car. He didn’t even know what a car was. Years of faithful waiting later, God fulfilled his promise and the whole village received the Gospel. There are many stories like this. “God …commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
People choose not to be saved
At the end of the day people refuse heaven because they “do not love the truth” and instead “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. God created man entrusting him with a relationship, but he chose to betray God.
Humans Choose Hell
In choosing to betray God, man has chosen hell.
We shouldn’t question God
Finally, we have good reason to thank God for making us. Why do we question God? He owes us no explanation or account. Yet he lovingly explains so much in the scriptures.