If God is all-knowing and all-loving, why would he create people he knew would go to Hell?
This is a good question. Is God evil and sadistic? How is creating eternally doomed people fair? Here, we’ll attempt to answer that critical question logically and biblically.
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer because the question is based on knowing the mind of God, which is impossible. In Isaiah 55:8-9 it reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways.” In Romans 11:33-34, “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?” And in 1 Corinthians 2:11, “The thoughts of God no one knows.”
However, rather than say, “No idea, next question”, we’ll answer this the best we can from a biblical perspective.
The question, “If God is all-knowing and all-loving, why would he create people he knew would go to Hell?” has four important points that need to be unpacked to get to the core of this answer. They are – What are God’s attributes? Why does someone go to Hell in the first place? Does God want people to go to Hell? Why wouldn’t God just create people who he knew would believe in Christ and be saved?
Let’s start with God’s attributes.
- God is love (1 John 4:16).
- God is holy (1 Samuel 2:2, Leviticus 11:44–45; 19:2; Isaiah 6:3; 43:15).
- God is just (Isaiah 30:18; Deuteronomy 32:4; Zephaniah 3:5; Acts 17:31).
- God is all-good (Psalm 25:8-9, Psalm 107:1, John 3:16).
- God is all-powerful (Genesis 1:1-31, Hebrews 11:3, Colossians 1:16, John 1:1-5)
- God is all-knowing and always present everywhere (Psalm 139:7–10; Hebrews 4:13).
- God is light; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
- God is a good judge (Psalm 7:11).
- God is trustworthy in all his words, and loving in all his works (Psalm 145: 13).
- God is faithful (2 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 1:9; Isaiah 49:7 1 Thessalonians 5:24).
- God is “compassionate and gracious” and “abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).
- God is “slow to anger,” dealing patiently with rebellious sinners (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 86:15).
- God does not show favouritism (Romans 2:11).
- God never changes (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17).
So, we see throughout the Bible that God is all-knowing and all-loving. Now, to get to the core answer of, "Why would God create people he knew would go to Hell", we next need to address why do people go to Hell in the first place.
In the first five words of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, it reads, “In the beginning God created..” It goes on to explain God created the heavens and the earth. He created everything - all space, matter and time. The planets and stars, the earth and ocean, plants and people. Genesis 1:31 says “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” And in creating all things, he also gave his personal creation - mankind - freewill. Why?
Take your phone, whether it be an iPhone or Android. Could you make your phone say, “I love you”? Of course. Could you make your phone say nice, loving words? Sure.
Could you make your phone love you? Truly, genuinely love you? No. It’s a machine. It does what someone has programmed it to do. It could mimic words of love, it could even write a poem if you programmed it to, but it could not love because love must be freely given.
You cannot make someone love you. You cannot program someone to fall inlove or command them to. Love, by definition, must be freely given. We see throughout the Bible that God is love and we see this over, and over, and over again. We even read in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.”
God didn’t want robots to follow Him. He wanted his personal creation - mankind - to choose to love Him, that they might experience and express love with each other, and most importantly and foundationally with God through the freewill He gave them. And yet, we see throughout the Bible, mankind chose to use the free will God gave them not to love him for who he is, but used that same free will God gave them to choose to turn away from him. Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death came to all mankind, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).
In the Bible, in 1 John 3:4 it reads that “sin is the breaking of God’s Law.” We have all sinned many times. In James 2:10 it reads, “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” In Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
In Isaiah 64:6 it reads, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” And in Psalm 14:1-3 and Romans 3:10-12, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Think of it—if He has seen everyone’s thought, word, and deed, and if He is going to bring all of everyone’s sins out as evidence of our guilt on the Day of Judgment, all will be found to be guilty. God will “by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). He “will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2-3). God will give everyone justice, and Hell will be the place of our eternal punishment.
And yet, we see throughout the Bible that God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ was laid out before He created time. (Titus 1:1-2, 2, Timothy 1:8-9, Ephesians 1:4-6, Revelation 13:8). Rather than let us be condemned to Hell as the sinners that we are, which would be just, God would rather crush him who knew no sin than to crush us who do.
In John 3:16-18 it reads, 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
God is a just judge (Psalm 7:11). All have sinned (Romans 3:23). No one is good, not one person (Romans 3:10-12). We send ourselves to Hell (John 3:16-18). And yet, out of His immeasurable love, offered Jesus to be the undeserved sacrifice on our behalf (John 3:16-17). In fact, in Romans 5:8 it reads, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." However, if a person chooses to reject Christ, by their choice and their choice alone, they choose Hell for themselves.
So, we see God is all-knowing and all-good (Mark 10:18, Hebrews 4:13). Then, we see God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we choose Hell for ourselves by our choice to reject Christ (John 3:16-18). To get one more layer down to the core answer of, "Why would he create people he knew would go to Hell", we next need to address, “Does God want people to go to Hell?” And the answer to that is a clear and resounding no.
Even though we stand before God as guilty sinners deserving of his justice, in 2 Peter 3:9 it reads, “God does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” In 1 Timothy 2:4, “God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
So, we see God is all-knowing and all-good (Mark 10:18, Hebrews 4:13). Then, we see God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we choose Hell for ourselves by our choice to reject Christ (John 3:16-18). Now, we see God doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone to have eternal life (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4). Finally, we get to the last point to address which is why God didn’t just create people who he knew would believe and trust in Jesus. This will reveal the core answer to the critical question, "If God is all-knowing and all-loving, why would he create people he knew would go to Hell?”
Is it possible that someone could be indirectly led to Jesus? Is it possible that a person could impact another person's life that would cause them to search for Christ? Could it be possible that God, who knew that people would choose to reject him, would allow those people to exist in order to bring others to salvation in Christ? History would say yes, it's possible.
For example, a former Muslim woman devoted herself to following Islam for decades. While studying the Quran, she came across Islam’s Quran’s Surah An Nisa 4:157 which claims Jesus of Nazareth didn’t die, nor was crucified. Comparing this to the well-established historical, archaeological and textual forensic facts, she came to understand this core Quran claim went directly against the facts, which confirmed Jesus of Nazareth died by crucifixion in AD 30 on the orders of Pontius Pilate. Meaning, this historically false claim logically showed the Quran to be unreliable, and since the Quran is Islam’s religious book, that inevitably resulted in Islam being unreliable and therefore a false religion. Shortly after, this woman left Islam, followed the evidence where it led, came to believe in the historic resurrection of Jesus and believed in Jesus Christ.
Another example is a former atheist, now working for “Premier Unbelievable”, had been an atheist for as long he could remember. One night, he attended a debate featuring renowned evolutionary biologist and atheist, Richard Dawkins and renowned analytic philosopher and Christian, William Lane Craig. Upon hearing Dawkins’ self-refuting reasons for believing atheism is true for hours, this former atheist decided to spend months following the evidence where it led. Through this indirect encounter with Dawkins, this man came to believe in and trust in Jesus Christ.
Finally, renowned literary scholar, philosopher and former atheist, C. S. Lewis, was a determined atheist from 14 to 32 years old. He openly claimed God did not exist because the world was so evil and unjust. Then, in his early 30’s, Lewis realised mankind would not know there was injustice unless there were an objective standard of justice, as evil, by definition, is corruption of good; there is no such thing as an evil “substance” or an evil in itself. In short, Lewis realised mankind cannot know evil except on the backdrop of good. If evil is real, then there must be an objective standard of good by which we know that (i.e., an all-good God) . Despite his discomfort, Lewis followed the evidence where it led, came to believe in the historic resurrection of Jesus and believed in Jesus Christ.
While these are just a few examples, it is possible these three people may not have come to believe and trust in Jesus if it wasn’t for the creation of a misleading religion, an outspoken atheist, and the evil acts being done in the world.
So, if God is all-knowing and all-loving, why would he create people he knew would go to Hell? We may never truly understand as no one knows the thoughts of God (Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33-34, 1 Corinthians 2:11). That being said, throughout the Bible we do see God is all-knowing and all-good (Mark 10:18, Hebrews 4:13). He doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we choose Hell for ourselves by rejecting Christ (John 3:16-18). God doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone to have eternal life (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4). And, we see people have been indirectly led to Jesus by someone who had chosen to reject Jesus. It’s possible that if he didn’t create “John” who had rejected Christ, “Mary” may not of come to have eternal life through Christ. Therefore, if an answer is to be given, it’s possible that God created people, who would ultimately reject salvation, so by their choices they could indirectly aid in the saving of others through Jesus Christ.