Hell has always been a mystery for Christians. While no Christian can reasonably doubt its existence, many have sincerely wondered how anybody would ever end up there. After all, when you face God at your final judgment, wouldn’t you choose to repent rather than face eternal suffering? Wouldn’t the magnificent splendour of God compel you to ask for forgiveness and opt for salvation?
The reality is that many people voluntarily choose damnation. It’s virtually impossible to change one’s life in an instant or to repudiate everything one stood for. “Death bed conversions” are apparently very rare. Some people live so wrapped in themselves that they wouldn’t want to live in a Heaven where everybody loves in a self-donating way. They couldn’t stand it.
Recent comments by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu provide a powerful illustration of how these dynamics can play out. +Tut is a long-standing liberal when it comes to homosexuality. Assuming the media quotes below are accurate, the Archbishop said that he would rather go to hell than go to a heaven where homosexuality is a sin. Check it out:
I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he said, by way of denouncing religions that discriminate against gays, in Agence France-Presse.
He added, AFP reported: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.” (Source)
You can’t make this stuff up.
I’m not making predictions about Archbishop Tutu’s eternal destiny. However, God respects our free will. He won’t drag us into Heaven kicking and screaming. If you don’t want in, you won’t get in.