Is it possible for God to be both all-loving and all-powerful if he allows Hell in the form of eternal suffering and torture?

Muslim View

The Muslim Perspective

Allah, or God in English, created human beings with a specific purpose:

"And I did not create Jinn or men (for any other purpose), except that they should worship Me." (51:56)

To facilitate this, He chose from amongst humanity Messengers, to whom He revealed Scripture, to teach us how to fulfill our purpose in life:

"Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance (of justice) that mankind may keep justice." (57:25)

"Messengers, as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise." (4:165)

Allah gave us all a limited amount of free will to determine the path that we take in life. We have a choice to follow His Commandments and fulfill our purpose, or to live a life contrary to the reason we've we've been created:

"By the soul and Him Who perfected it in proportion. Then He showed it what is wrong for it and what is right for it. Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own soul. And indeed he fails who corrupts his own soul." (91:7-10)

He will raise up everyone who has ever lived and them as to how much they fulfilled their purpose, examining every deed they have ever committed:

"That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it." (99: 6-8)

Those who strove to remain true to what they were created upon will be rewarded with everlasting bliss in Paradise, while those who ignored their purpose and followed their desires will be discarded to the Fire:

"Then for him who transgressed all bounds and preferred the life of this world, verily his abode will be the Hellfire. But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts; verily Paradise will be his abode." (79:37-41)

This is because this life is a period of examination. We are informed of the risks and consequences of our actions. There are many temptations and opportunities for us to fulfill our lusts, but we must never forget that we will be held accountable for the things we do in this life:

"Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?" (23:115)

He created the Fire with a specific purpose:

"Truly Hell is a place of ambush; a dwelling place for those who transgress." (78:21-22)

So yes, it is possible for Him to be Loving, Powerful, Merciful, Compassionate and still punish people in the Hellfire for disobedience. It is part of His Mercy that he gives us not only a trial period, but also He informs us there will be an examination, He sent Messengers and Scripture to show us how to pass, and He warned us of the consequences in great detail. So for anyone who chooses to follow a path to eternal suffering and torture, they have no one to blame but themselves.

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Christian View

The Christian Perspective

What is intended by the phrase "all-loving"? Does it mean that God loves everyone and everything?

A God like this loves evil. He loves rape, murder, Satanism, the hatred of Himself, idolatry, etc. He loves the rejection of love.

Such a God would love hell and would love sending people to it. Thus, if that is what it means for there to be a God who is all-loving, then the answer to the question is certainly, an all loving God could send people to hell for eternal suffering and torture. In fact, He would love to do so!

Somehow, I doubt that this is what the questioner intended when asking about an "all-loving" God.

What the questioner probably meant was a God who always forgives everyone without consequence (an unjust God), who always thinks more highly of others than Himself (an idolatrous God), who never forces anyone to do anything against their will (an impotent God), and so on and so forth.

If this is in fact what the questioner meant by an "all-loving" God, and I believe it probably is, then the Biblical God most certainly does not fit the mold.

Having said that, the Bible states unequivocally that "God is love" (1 John 4:8,16). The context of that claim is the effect that an intimate relationship with God has upon believers. The context is not some kind of ontological definition.

The Biblical God has a perfect plan, and His perfect plan always comes to pass. It comes to pass when a sinner repents. It comes to pass when a sinner does not repent. It comes to pass when a believer is forgiven. It comes to pass when a nonbeliever is condemned (Romans 9). Hell is a part of that plan. The Biblical God has complete authority over His creation.

If you yourself have not repented, and if you do not repent, the Bible states that you will be eternally condemned, and that your condemnation will bring great glory to the God you have rejected (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 9). If you do repent, and turn to the Living God, the Bible states that you will be forgiven because the Son of God has paid the penalty for your sins (1 John 2:2, 4:10; Romans 6:23). Your forgiveness will not only bring you and all of heaven great joy, but it will also bring immeasurable glory to the God above (Luke 15:7; Romans 9).

God bless you in your pursuit of Him.

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