The purpose of Hell is to restrain evil. For those who do not want God, they get an eternity without God. For those who do not love God, they get an eternity without God’s love. However, how does Hell make sense in Calvinism if everyone’s wants, wishes and choices to love or not
to love are all exhaustively predetermined by God’s alleged decree? Moreover, in Calvinism, those in Hell never sinned against God’s saving grace, since they never had a Savior or an Atonement, as per Calvinism’s doctrine of a Limited Atonement. For that reason, in Calvinism, no one can be told that they didn’t have to be in Hell, in that they could have done something else and gone somewhere else (i.e. that they could have believed in Jesus and have gone to Heaven instead). In Calvinism, those who are in Hell are designed to be there. In Calvinism, those who are in Hell were never intended to spend eternity in Heaven.
For the Calvinist, the purpose of Hell is divine self-glorification, in which God is said to receive glory by certain people perishing in Hell forever, who were eternally predestined to Hell, not based upon anything foreseen in them, but rather the divine will and necessity to demonstrate and differentiate God’s various attributes of love and wrath. In the end, Calvinism presents a deity with the same flawed characteristics of the Greek and Roman gods.
God takes no glory in anyone going to Hell. In fact, it makes God sad. It’s not God’s will, but at the same time, He chooses not to force His love on anyone. He lets people perish, just as reluctantly as the father of the prodigal son reluctantly allowed his son to leave. That’s a very different version of Christianity than Calvinism, in which Calvinism depicts God as creating people to go Hell for His glory.
So, why would God design a system that He knew would ultimately yield a minority of the human population becoming saved? The answer is because God is not interested in ratios and percentages. If God’s objective was based on meeting certain pre-determined ratios and percentages, then that would actually suggest a deterministic system. Contrary to Calvinism, God is more interested in building a kingdom of people who chose to love and to be with Him, despite the adverse circumstances of this present world, in which meaningful relationships trump the value of having to create a kingdom full of yes-men.
What do Calvinists believe?
Jeff Noblit: “The ultimate purpose is the glory of God. Sinners will glorify God either in Hell, vindicating His justice which should come against sinners, or in heaven praising His grace that saves us. But we will glorify God.”190
The problem with Calvinism is that no one can ever be said that they didn’t have to be in Hell, or that they could have believed in Jesus instead and have gone to Heaven, since in Calvinism, they never would have had a Savior who loved and died for them at Calvary, which would otherwise have been the only means of their forgiveness.
190 A Southern Baptist Dialogue: Calvinism (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2008), 103.