There are two emotional objections to hell. One is that God wouldn’t torture anyone for eternity.
I’ve dealt with that objection on many different occasions. So I won’t repeat myself here.
Another objection is that heaven won’t be heaven in the absence of our loved ones. Won’t we feel guilty and lonely, like the survivors of a terrible tragedy?
That’s not merely an objection to hell, but an argument (or emotional appeal) for universalism.
I’ve also dealt with that objection on many different occasions. So I won’t repeat what I’ve already said on that score.
Instead, I’m going to address the second objection from a different angle.
We tend to see this issue in terms of sheer loss. I’ll never see my loved one again. That leaves a hole in my heart. No one else can fill it.
I’d point out, though, that even in this life we experience emotional tradeoffs. The loss or demotion of one relationship can create an opportunity to form another relationship.
For example, take two brothers who are extremely close to each other when they are growing up. Let’s call them Hector and José.
They remain inseparable until they hit adolescence. At that point they begin to drift apart.
Why? Because they develop a very keen interest in the opposite sex. They spend less time with each other, and more time with the girlfriend.
Eventually, the girlfriend becomes the wife. Eventually, they have kids.
As a result, Hector and José grow apart. They grow apart because they live apart. Because each one has made a life for himself, with its own emotional satisfactions and compensations.
And that, of course, is perfectly natural. A healthy development. A natural good. A natural part of growing up.
But the gain involves a corollary loss. It’s the demotion of one relationship that created the opportunity for another, equally good, but very different relationship.
Love has a competitive element. Love for one tends to edge out love for another. That’s a matter of degree, but love often comes in degrees.
Suppose that Hector and José are both Christian. They hope they will see their wives and kids in heaven someday. They pray for that outcome.
But suppose it doesn’t work out that way. Their wives are unbelievers. And their children rebel against their Christian upbringing.
That will bring a lot of heartache to Hector and José. But what happens when they die?
Even if the two brothers don’t see their wives in kids in heaven, they will see each other in heaven. And since they don’t have their wives and kids in heaven, they will resume the close bond they had on earth. Indeed, it will be even closer than they had on earth. For it won’t suffer from the sinful tensions that are inevitable in a fallen world, even among close loved ones. And there won’t be the same competition for their affections.
We could extent this principle to other relationships. Some people were best of friends in junior high and high school, or college, but after they graduated, they eventually went their separate ways. At first they would maintain regular contact. But as the months and years wore one, they, in effect, became strangers.
Finally, you have the case of Christians who led lives of tremendous personal deprivation. They didn’t have loved ones to lose. They didn’t have fond memories to look back on. For them, life was one ordeal after another.
When they get to heaven, they will be meet other Christians who endured the same privations in this life. And it’s natural to think this will foster a special bond. Heaven will be the family they never had on earth.
If you think this is a bit speculative, I’d simply note that it’s addressing an equally speculative objection to heaven. So you can accept it or reject it on the same level.