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Christian, tell me why only perfection is acceptable to God? Why will He send even a good person to Hell for one little sin? Why can’t He understand that we’re only human?

Because…God is Holy, meaning completely “other” than us. That question is a bit like asking “But WHY can’t I touch the fire without getting burnt?”

To understand God’s position, one must first understand our position: We are the created, not the Creator.  God has no innate responsibility toward us, except of His own choosing.  He is utterly sovereign.  If He were to order us to jump off a cliff and destroy ourselves, He would have every right to expect instant, absolute, obedience.

Of course, it is His nature to love us, not to play cruel games with us.  His commands are always for our best and highest good.  And He has decreed that our “best and highest good” is a loving, close relationship with Him.

But it is impossible to have a relationship with God without acknowledging His authority, and our helplessness.  Awful word, helplessness.  It conjures up images of being down-trodden, worthless, crushed.  In the context of a relationship with God, of course, the opposite is true: His obedient children are loved and valued and free.  But still…

We choose to go our own way, to be our own boss, to do our own thing.  Given a choice between what God wants and what we would rather do, we simply rebel.  We refuse to give God the obedience He deserves.  And how can we have a relationship with someone while we’re in the process of turning our back on Him?  Impossible! 

And we can’t stop doing it.  Even when we acknowledge with our minds that God is the boss and deserves obedience, our whole being resists that truth.  That rebellious attitude permeates every fiber of our being.  And THAT is what keeps us from God.  It’s not individual acts of sin that damn us; it’s our overwhelmingly sinful nature.  We don’t even really, completely, truly, want to be with God.  To do so would mean giving up our self-rule, and we can’t stand the thought of that.

So why send us to Hell for eternity?  Where else is there, where God isn’t?  If to be with Him means giving up our rebellion, and we aren’t willing or able to do that, then Hell is the place we’re choosing for ourselves.

Why can’t He make Hell nicer, then?  Why not a babbling brook, a gentle breeze, a few loved ones?  Why a lake of fire and torment?  Simply put, peace and joy and happiness and contentment and all the things that cause them come from God.  No God: no good.  What’s left may or may not be literally fire, but it can’t help but be torment! (John 3:19)

Always remember, though, that God does NOT want Hell for us. Jesus died so that Heaven would be possible instead. He is perfect where we are not. He offers to share that perfection with us, if we’re willing to accept it.

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture reference links go to, which defaults to another good translation, the New International Version (NIV).  The site has 20 or more translations available for reference.