This answer presents the following statement:

God is in control and I believe that His will has always been done. So to say that He's never failed.

So, are some people are destined to go to hell?

I probably have this kind of thinking from some stories in the bible about God harden some people's heart so everything will go as He planned. i.e : Pharaoh and the religious leaders of Israel during Jesus time.

  • 7
    Romans 9:22 approaches this question with a hypothetical: "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction". But it does not go so far as to say that's what he's done. I would rather put it that God has created people for life; all have sinned and destined themselves for destruction, but God elected to save some of them from that destruction. That does not quite go so far as to say that God created them to be destroyed.
    – Ray
    Aug 24, 2011 at 2:27
  • I see someone voted to close recently. I'm voting to leave open. This is a legitimate question for someone that misunderstands certain doctrines. It may be a Truth question, but it's salvageable and on topic. Apr 6, 2013 at 12:58
  • Caleb deleted my question, but for 10k users, here you go: christianity.stackexchange.com/q/32716/1100
    – Jim G.
    Oct 23, 2014 at 16:55
  • As phrased this is a Truth question. If it was narrowed to a perspective like Arminianism or Calvinism it would probably be okay.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 24, 2014 at 0:23
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    – user3961
    Oct 24, 2014 at 3:57

7 Answers 7


No. To believe that God intends some people to go to hell opens many, many floodgates. If you believe that God intends for some people to go hell:

  • This means that there are people that can not be saved
  • Which in turn means that nothing you can do, no amount of faith, worship, or belief, repentance, or whatever your belief structure says you must do for salvation (even paying indulgences if you lived in the 1500s) can save you
  • Which means that God creates evil people
  • Which means that God creates evil
  • Which means that God is not a good God, God is in fact part good, part evil, depending on your birth right

None of that sits with anything biblical. God lets evil happen, but God does not create Evil. Take the story of Job - that can be perceived as God being evil, but God is not Evil. Satan does the evil behaviour, and Satan can not be evil whilst in the presence of God. Every time God and Satan meet, Satan only does evil after Satan is no longer in the presense of God.

God will LET you go to hell, but he will NOT pre-ordain your trip there.

  • 4
    Nothing you can do CAN save you... this breaks the second link in your chain of logic. How you got from nothing I can do being able to save me (a Biblical truth) to God creating evil people is unclear as well. Aug 24, 2011 at 5:01
  • @Nathan - I believe that you are saved by grace alone. I choose to believe. It's not something I'm "doing" in a physical sense, which is why I clarified it with "no amount of faith". Other denominations do believe that you must do things to be saved, so I included those for arguments sake as well (not my personal belief, but one that many hold). I have used the term "evil person" here a bit liberally, perhaps to my detriment, but the basic premise I believe is still sound - the idea that God places people on this earth that can not be saved is false. Aug 24, 2011 at 5:21
  • Is God the creator of everything? If you accept that God created everything, then you must also accept that God created evil. Otherwise, it simply wouldn't exist. Aug 24, 2011 at 5:36
  • 5
    Evil is like darkness. Darkness is not actually a "thing"; it is simply something that "isn't" - it is the absence of light. Evil is the absense of goodness. God did not create evil, but he did permit the absense of good (the same as he permitted the evil against Job, but did not create it). God does create people, and what God does create is not evil. All that aside, I have stated my case and you have stated yours. I'm not here to have a debate, and this is not a competition, and arguing with someone is the worst way to change their mind, so I suggest that we leave it here. Aug 24, 2011 at 5:40
  • My point is not to argue or debate you at all. My point is to try and get you to introduce references into your position. As I stated in my answer, the belief that predestination is true or false is only clear to the person who holds that belief. The only thing you've presented is a flawed chain of logic (and I don't say it's flawed because I don't agree with it, I say it's flawed because you're jumping to very far conclusions of what must be believed to believe in predestination, and even stating a position held true by the Bible in point 2 of your argument against the viewpoint). Aug 24, 2011 at 6:57

Quite frankly Yes. Some people are created to go to hell. However you are looking at this the wrong way.

Everyone is going to hell without the intervention of a benevolent God (This is known as Total Depravity). Thankfully God has chosen some people to be his children (Unconditional Election). The number of these people is limited. Christ's death was sufficient for everyone however it is only efficient for the Elect (Limited Atonement). God draws us to himself and we do not come to him under our own power (Irresistible Grace). Finally once we are his nothing we do or anyone else does can take us from him (Perseverance of the Saints).

Now that my statement of faith has been laid out let me give the scriptural proof for each element:

Total Depravity: Mark 7:21-23 (NIV)

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.

Unconditional Election: Romans 9:11 (NIV)

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:

Limited Atonement: John 10:11 (NIV)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Irresistible Grace: Phillipians 2:12-13 (NIV)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Perseverance of the Saints John 10:27-28

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

These are just some of many verses that support this particular position (these are the Reformed counter points to the 5 points of Aremenianism and tend to the points of differentiation between them) There are plenty more here.

All of this to basically say the following

  1. There are some people who are chosen and some who aren't
  2. We don't know the difference just from looking at someone so it really shouldn't effect how we live our lives.
  3. Its only by grace that any of us are elected
  • 2
    The number of people allowed to be saved is NOT limited. This is a belief that is usually specific to Jehovah's Witnesses. Although some people will go to hell, and God knows who they are, they were not created for that purpose.
    – Jaguir
    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:22
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    @Jared - The JW's don't believe there is a limited number of people who will be saved, they only believe that there will be a limited number who go to Heaven, and will in turn reign on earth from the New Jerusalem. Aug 24, 2011 at 3:27
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    God welcomes all of us as his childeren, if we are willing to go to Him. To quote the over-used John 3:16 - "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." Aug 24, 2011 at 4:17
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    @tjameson - I believe that verse refers to the sufficiency of Christ's death not the efficiency. The first part of your statement is addressed through Total Depravity combined with Original Sin. We inherit Adam and Eve's sin and therefore start already having broken the law. (Christ, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, is the only human being who was born sinless)
    – wax eagle
    Aug 25, 2011 at 2:14
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    @tja - I guess the question you have to ask (and I've seen this asked a few places is the following: Who did Christ die for? 1. He died for all the sins of all men. (if so then all should be saved else is death somehow lacks the power to save some of the people he died for) 2. He died for some of the sins of all men. (Meaning we are still in sin) Or 3. He died for all of the sins of Some men. (meaning he only died for his elect). If the first is true then Christ's death is not enough to save it requires something else. If the second is true then it again is not enough. The third must be true.
    – wax eagle
    Aug 25, 2011 at 2:48

We know from the Bible that Judas was not meant to be saved. So, the answer would have to be yes.

"While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled." -- John 17:12 (NIV)

Whether or not everyone is predestined to either go to Heaven or to Hell prior to birth is a matter of debate with no clear answer (the answer either way is only clear to the believer). However, none can dispute the fact that, according to the Bible, some have been and more may be.

Some argue that this was not referring to Judas, as the literal translation of the "one" (from the NIV translation) from the Greek υἱός ἀπώλεια is "son of perdition", but rather this was referring to the devil. However, this would have to be inaccurate in this context. By the time that Jesus said these words, Judas had already accepted the money from the Sanhedrin, and "satan had already entered him" (John 13:27). By the fact that satan had entered Judas, and shortly after (and before the resurrection) Judas went and hung himself, he would have been lost.

In order to support the position that this verse is referencing Satan, one must posit that Judas was saved, despite the presence of Satan in him. Otherwise, Christ was in error saying that "None had been lost". Otherwise, regardless of whether the verse was specifically referencing Judas or Satan, Judas had not been given to Christ to save, and thus had been doomed to destruction.

  • 1
    He said that "one" was doomed, but he didn't say that it specifically had to be Judas. See Matthew 18: "offenses" must necessarily happen, but we are specifically warned against and told to avoid being the offenders who bring them to pass. This would be a meaningless warning if we didn't have the ability to heed it.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:14
  • @Mason - Actually, in the Greek, it's not just "the one", but rather specifically, the "son of perdition", or υἱός ἀπώλεια which is very literally the offspring of/for destruction. It was a very specific person for a very specific purpose. Aug 24, 2011 at 3:22
  • While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (KJV) -- The son of perdition here is referring to Satan, indicating that he has already made his choice to go against God and will not be saved because of it.
    – Jaguir
    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:25
  • @Jared - By this time when Jesus was praying, Judas had already made his decision, and soon went and hung himself. Would you say that he was saved or lost? If he was lost, then Jesus lied saying he had kept all that were given Him, unless Judas was not given him to save, in which case he was still doomed to be lost. Aug 24, 2011 at 3:35
  • I'm sorry but I cannot agree with your argument. As a christian, I have two main observations you indirectly make. One is that God is unfair(creating someone who doesn't have a chance to be saved) and God creates evil(creates an evil man that can't turn his face towards Him ... Jesus died so that ANYONE who believes in Him can be saved John 3:16)
    – Fofole
    Mar 6, 2013 at 9:52

I would question the assumptions that God's will is always done. This is part of a larger debate about whether humans have free will or are our actions under God's control?

Personally, I think it's obvious that we have free will. You don't have to go far to find examples of people acting against the will of God.

In fact, no sooner were Adam and Eve created than they disobeyed God. If God was in control of that, and it was truly his will for them to eat the fruit, then why would he have told them not to do so?

Then their first child, Cain, killed their second child, Abel. That couldn't have been God's will.

And even the example of Pharaoh, in half the plagues it says God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and in the other half it says Pharaoh hardened his own heart. So even that may not have been Pharaoh acting according to God's will, but rather God recognizing Pharaoh's choice to turn away.

So is it ever God's will for anyone to go to hell? 1 Timothy 2:4 says God "desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." God doesn't desire for anyone to go to hell. He won't send them there except by their choice.

  • 2
    From the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10) - "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven" states that God's will is done in Heaven. Yet, Lucifer led a revolution against God, and Revelation 12:7 says "There was war in Heaven". So, is God's will done in Heaven, as Jesus stated in The Lord's Prayer? If so, then the revolt of Lucifer and his followers was God's will, which ultimately led to the downfall of man. Acting against God's commands is not equal to acting against the will of God. Aug 24, 2011 at 5:16
  • 1
    "Personally, I think it's obvious that we have free will. You don't have to go far to find examples of people acting against the will of God." I don't know if I agree with this. God forced Pharoah to make bad decisions so that he may be glorified. How do we know that God isn't forcing us to make those same bad decisions? (Who knows the mind of God?)
    – Richard
    Aug 24, 2011 at 14:51

Nobody was created to go to hell. After God created everything, He declared all of creation as very good. This includes us and implies that humanity was created perfect, with no flaws. He did not fail. He decided to give us our agency so that we could choose for ourselves. Because of this, we are able to choose to follow His will or not. Adam and Eve chose not to disobey God's direct command by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. After Adam (mankind) sinned, God cursed all of creation as punishment, and at the same time created a path to salvation, Jesus.

In order to identify who is going to hell, you first need to understand what hell is and is not. The commonly portrayed hell is completely wrong. It is NOT the lake of fire and brimstone. It is not a place of eternal torment. It is not ruled by Satan. What hell IS is a place that people go that have not accepted the path to salvation (Jesus) before death. It is a learning place where they will be given the truth.

Nobody is created to go to hell. But there are people that will harden there hearts to Gods word and end up there. There are people that will never hear about God in life, and end up there. These people will be unhappy because they will feel the full weight of there sins. However, they will be given God word and an opportunity to accept salvation through Jesus. On judgment day, hell will be emptied and hell itself thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone and destroyed.

The bottom line is this. God knows what choices a person will make. His plan includes countering those that go against him, like the Pharaoh. That person was not created to go to hell, they still have agency to choose for themselves, and could have chosen to do good. Anyone who accepts Christ will go to heaven, even if they die, go to hell, and accept him there. God wants all to be saved and will give you every opportunity to have and accept salvation.

Here are some references: righteous spirits are assigned to Paradise (Revelation 2:7), unrighteous spirits are assigned to hell (Psalm 55:15), Gospel preached to spirits in hell (1 Peter 4:6), Christ preaches to spirits in prison (hell) (1 Peter 3:18-19), Death and hell will be will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14)

  • So you're saying that if you don't believe while alive, you die and go to hell, where you're given another chance to accept Him and go to Heaven? Aug 24, 2011 at 3:25
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    That is correct. There are people who will not get a chance in life to here about Christ. Or they will go against God because of false teachings. Those that end up in hell will be given the truth in such a way as to know it without a doubt. This will still be an unpleasant experience because of the realization of the sins they have committed. But they will then be able to make a fully informed choice. Only people that reject Christ at that point will be permanently destroyed after the day of judgment.
    – Jaguir
    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:36
  • 1
    Can you provide any sort of Scriptural basis for this theory? Aug 24, 2011 at 3:40
  • Here are some references: righteous spirits are assigned to Paradise (Revelation 2:7), unrighteous spirits are assigned to hell (Psalm 55:15), Gospel preached to spirits in hell (1 Peter 4:6), Christ preaches to spirits in prison (hell) (1 Peter 3:18-19), Death and hell will be will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14)
    – Jaguir
    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:53
  • Going to hell is actually part of a very big topic. The plan of salvation. I once asked the question, what happens when a person dies? And this led me into much research on defining a timeline of sorts: death > paradise or hell > Jesus returns > first resurrection from paradise -> Satan bound and Jesus reigns for 1000 years -> Satin loosed > Armageddon -> second resurrection from hell -> judgment day -> death, hell and Satan destroyed -> heaven on earth for eternity.
    – Jaguir
    Aug 24, 2011 at 4:02

I believe that people in certain ROLES are created to go to hell. And the way for them to be saved is to abandon that role.

For instance, Pontius Pilate seemed to be one step away from believing in Jesus. Suppose he had taken the last step and said, "I believe in Jesus, he is a righteous man, I will not let you crucify him" (as he came close to doing).

Then the Jews would have retorted, "You are not a friend of Caesar," got him kicked out of his position of authority, and had him replaced with someone that would crucify Jesus.

But PONTIUS PILATE would have been saved, and the other man would have gone to hell.

(The same might be true for Pharoah, if he had let the Israelites go free. But then he might have been overthrown by another, more ruthless ruler. On the other hand, Pharoah's DAUGHTER protected Moses and probably earned a place in heaven.)

On the other hand, the jailer of Paul and Silas set them free, and invited them to his home, and was saved. Essentially, he had abandoned his earlier role of being their jailer.


No. God created each of us, and loves each of us individually. (He doesn't love what we do, necessarily, but he loves us just the same.)

Everyone who has been created by God (I think that covers everyone) will have the opportunity to accept Christ and His atoning sacrifice at some point.


God judges our hearts:

7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. -- 1 Samuel 16:7

which is applied to this topic in these verses:

7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;

8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.

10 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. -- Doctrine & Covenants 137:7-10

Everyone has an opportunity:

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 1 Peter 3:18-20

which is discussed in more detail here...

25 I marveled, for I understood that the Savior spent about three years in his ministry among the Jews and those of the house of Israel, endeavoring to teach them the everlasting gospel and call them unto repentance;

26 And yet, notwithstanding his mighty works, and miracles, and proclamation of the truth, in great power and authority, there were but few who hearkened to his voice, and rejoiced in his presence, and received salvation at his hands.

27 But his ministry among those who were dead was limited to the brief time intervening between the crucifixion and his resurrection;

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah—and how it was possible for him to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

29 And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;

30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross.

36 Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of him in the flesh;

37 That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words. -- Doctrine & Covenants 138:25-37

God's stated purpose:

And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying...For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. -- Moses 1:37-39 from the Pearl of Great Price

He creates us, He loves us, He sent his Only Begotten Son to save and redeem us. He does not wish to see anyone cast into hell. And like any parent, he grieves and is angry when we choose to disobey. (if this last paragraph needs citations, I'll look them up.)

  • -1: God "loves" Osama Bin Laden?
    – Jim G.
    Oct 23, 2014 at 16:50
  • @JimG. Are you asking if God loves Osama Bin Laden, or forgives him? I know the parent of a convicted murderer. He still loves his son. But that doesn't mean the son has the confidence, trust, or approval of his father.
    – HTG
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:08

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