God in Hell?

From a Pastor:  “Dr Van, after getting off on a rabbit trail discussing the omnipresence of God last night at prayer meeting, Katie, my youngest asked this question.  ‘If God is everywhere present, then is God in Hell?’ As we were discussing in church the omnipresence of God, we were also discussing whether or not God can allow sin into His presence, and how sin affects our prayers, several questions were raised.” 

 

From a senior saint:  “Is it true that God cannot allow sin into His presence?  Satan is certainly an unconfessing sinner, and he goes before God as the accuser of the brethren, and Lucifer was in heaven for all eternity past?” 

After this question this senior saint went on to say that indeed God has allowed sin in heaven and in His presence because He allowed the Angel of Light, Lucifer, and all his pride to be in God’s presence before Lucifer actually proclaimed he would be like the Most High.  Furthermore, if indeed God is everywhere present, and thus with us, He is always in the presence of sin because we are indeed sinners.  And finally, could this be why God will create a New Heaven, because the current heaven has indeed been corrupted by the presence of sin?   This has caused me to ponder to give a correct answer rather than shoot from the hip, but I need more help.  How might you go about answering these questions from the young and the old?  Response:  Multiple questions, multiple answers.

 

1)  The God who tells us of Himself in the Bible is a living God and far greater than his creation.  He is different from mankind.  He is alive, and all false gods are but imaginations.  One of the unique qualities of God is his ability to be everywhere present at the same time.  Our personal experiences in life teach us that everything has limits (for example, we can see only so far, or be in only one place at a time).  However, God has no limits.  He knows everything, He can see everything, and He is everywhere present) because He is over all things that He created.  All things in existence function within the limits which He set.

We do not recognize or understand everything God is or does.  God does not have flesh, and thus is not limited to being in one place at a time.  God is a spirit being and is everywhere present at all times. Being present where sin is found does not affect God any more than it does us.  Being present where sinners are does not reflect in a negative way against God.  Jesus was around sinners and sin during His earthly life, and it did not make Him a sinner.  Since God is holy, He cannot sin.  The presence of sinners (Satan) or sin cannot cause Him to sin.  Revelation 20-22 record the removal of sin and sinners from the presence of God permanently.

God is everywhere.  He is necessarily everywhere.  He cannot choose ever not to be present in every form of reality.  Nothing can exist outside of Him.  He created everything, and there is no other way for anything to come into existence (John 1:3).  God is as fully in hell as He is with us here in this world.  But God chooses to act differently in different parts of His creation.  We here on earth experience only His love and patience.  He loved all mankind enough to send His Only Son to pay the full penalty for sin.  He puts up with people who reject His Son.  He fully controls all things for the spiritual benefit of His people.  In hell, however, His wrath against sin will be eternally expressed, and not His love.  He will be there, but Satan and all others in hell will be as in solitary confinement, with no light and no contact with anyone else, only weeping and wailing, endless suffering because of sin.

 2)  Sin affects our prayers most in that it interferes with our approach to God.  Our evil hearts do not want to admit our sin and confess to receive forgiveness.  God wants to hear that before He hears of our desire for daily bread and water.  Sin affects us in hindering our prayer contact;  God is willing and anxious that we come to Him in the right way.  If we are born again and have life in Him, He hears our requests, and, if they are according to His will, He is certain to answer them, though at times not as quickly as we might like Him to do so. 

3)  Satan and sinners in God’s presence?  We right now are sinners in God’s presence.  Since He is omnipresent, that He allows creatures to sin is really astonishing to us.  Yes, because He is omniscient, He knew of Satan’s sin before creating him, and of our sin before our birth.  Just as we can talk with God in prayer, so Satan can directly accuse the saints before Him.  We tend to think of God as somehow limited to a throne and a heavenly sphere, but He’s not spacial.  Satan, though a spirit being, is restrained, and his access to God is restricted.  He must need some different type of approach than we use;  he doesn’t have the special privilege to talk with God that believers enjoy.  We can converse with Him any moment of any day, every day of the year. 

4)  The possibility of Satan remaining in heaven after sinning, or that he was a prideful being for a time before proclaiming himself equal to God, seems suggested in the wording.  So far as we can know from the revelation God has given us, angelic beings were created either on day two or three (Job 38:4-7).   Satan’s rebellion was clearly after Gen 1:31and before Gen 3:1.   As soon as Lucifer exalted himself in his own pride, he was a sinner and condemned.  That other angels chose to follow him should not be taken to suggest that God for a time put up with him and allowed him to continue to reside in heaven as a sinful being.  The choice of each created angel seems to have been immediately either for Satan or for God, and the one choice permanently set the moral nature of every angel, whether holy or damned.  We do not know why, when they fell, some demons were judged more severely than others, but we know God is a just judge.  Hell was created for the devil and his followers.  It has been enlarged for additional followers through the centuries. 

5)  That there is or will be “need” for a new heaven can hardly be connected with the fall of spirit beings or the sin of humans.  Since the earth suffered judgment with the sin of Adam, all the changes introduced at that time into this perfect world will be omitted in the new earth, and we will live in eternal sinless bliss.  Whether God will “remodel” heaven is beyond conjecture, but that He might more greatly manifest His glories throughout endless eternity is surely a possibility.

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This article was written by Dr. Warren Vanhetloo, a former professor of mine at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary.  It is published here with his permission. You can subscribe to these Cogitations by emailing Dr. Van at cbsvan@sbcglobal.net.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Micah Tillman on October 31, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Were these questions sparked by Habakkuk 1:13, or by the idea that Hell is separation from God? (Or both?)

    Reply

  2. As far as I can tell, they were in relation to God’s omnipresence and God’s holiness.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Billy James on November 9, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Scary huh? If you want to get a very GREAT description of “God’s Hell” go find the sermons that R.C. Sproul recently did this year on this topic. He gave clear Biblical insight to God’s hell. Yes, He’s there-with His Holy wrath and igdination.

    Whatever you do—-
    DONT GO TO HELL

    Reply

  4. Posted by Leonardo on November 30, 2007 at 5:10 am

    well ,my english is not that great ,but the way i can see about everything that was wrote about God, is in Hell?.As an Bishop i can tell you all, that God create the hell as an place were all the siners and the dicipulos of all evil things are going to.God is omnipresent, allmigthy and him know everything before we know.No body know better than God ,ho create everything.
    David said by the Holly Espirit inspiration on psalms 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
    Salmos 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there(YOU ARE THERE): (if I make my bed in hell), behold, thou art there. (YOU ARE THERE)
    אם אסק שׂמים שׂם אתה ואציעה שׂאול הנך
    No metter where! God place is in the Haven!But God create the hell, and God can see the hell and God can go into the hell because God create it. Hell can’t afect God, hell can’t do nothing against God, David said no metter were i go i know that you are there.alleluia!!!
    My Brothers I wish i have fill you with some word of God to the inspiration of our soul.well i’m an Brazilian Bishop of the New Jerusalem Pentecosts church Ministers.
    God bless you all in the Grace of the son of God Jesus ho is the ressurrection of life and the arquitect of our life to him now and in the eternity forever.amém
    Leonardo Fortes

    Reply

  5. Posted by Leonardo on November 30, 2007 at 5:11 am

    God Bless!

    Reply

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