The idea of Hell is a very human problem. For theists, it seems to go against God’s love and mercy. But for some, it is a necessary punishment for those who have constantly transgressed. Many problems are raised, especially, by the idea of eternal damnation. What need is there for God to burn people eternally? Does anyone really deserve to be punished for eternity?
I, personally, believe that it is so much deeper than what we think. When God speaks to us in human language, about something that is metaphysical and transcends our universe, we can only think about the idea very narrowly and without any real, piercing insight. Many theists believe that those who deny God’s existence will go to Hell, but again it is much deeper than that. There are different permutations of disbelief. Many people are deeply spiritual and although there is some belief in their heart, at the tip of their consciousness, they, for some reason or another, refuse to believe in God.
Furthermore, it is important that we neither condemn anybody – or say they are ‘evil’ – neither do we have a right to say ‘such and such’ are going to Hell. Nobody knows what is in people’s hearts and we don’t know what God’s divine and perfect judgement will be. Life is far too complex and is replete with far too many variables for us to make wild assumptions. We don’t know whether people have been assaulted as children and whether they have been psychologically damaged as a result, neither do we know the tests other people are faced with and what their personality predisposes them towards. Therefore, we can say yes, we can judge the outwardly i.e. people’s actions, but never judge somebody as a human being because we do not know their inward state. Maybe they are closer to God then you.
As for those who are certain there is a God, we need to accept that we may never understand these paradoxes. But this is why the day of judgement is something to look forward to, it’s the day when the secrets of the unseen world will become manifest.