QAIs anyone really so evil that he or she deserves the eternal punishment of hell? Can God not forgive those who don’t believe in Him?
God does not want to send anyone to hell. Instead, He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). We should not think of hell as God’s vengeful punishment. Hell is a choice. People choose hell by rejecting the grace of God. When we sin, we choose to be separated from God, and this separation is exactly what hell is—eternal separation from God, His love, and His joy. Our very action of sinning is its own punishment:
The punishment fits the crime because the punishment is the crime. Saying no to God means no God. The point is really very simple. Those who object to hell’s over-severity do not see what sin really is. They probably look at sin externally, sociologically, legalistically, as ‘behaving badly.’ They fail to see the real horror of sin and the real greatness and goodness and joy of the God who is refused in every sin. We all fail to appreciate this. Who of us fully appreciates God’s beauty? The corollary immediately follows: who of us fully appreciates sin’s ugly horror? (Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994]: 300)
If God makes everyone go to heaven, including those who do not want God or to be forgiven by Him, then human beings have no free choice. God doesn’t force anyone to be in heaven, although His grace of forgiveness is available to all. We need to make the choice to accept this grace.