LOVE BASED ON FEAR?
Many Christians are afraid to let go of the idea of a hell of eternal torment, fearing that there would be no motivation for the sinner to turn away from his sin if the consequences were “simply” an end to his existence. But there is nothing simple about the final destruction of the wicked. It will be a fearsome experience when the fullness of their guilt will be in vivid contrast with the full revelation of the glory and holiness of God. But even more basic is the fact that fear does not motivate to love. “We love Him because He first loved us,” not because we are afraid of Him.
The use of fear to force obedience is actually the very opposite of God’s character. It is the beast who threatens those who “would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Revelation 13:15). It was godless Nebuchadnezzar who proclaimed that “whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:6). Most Christians today are appalled by the torture that was inflicted on “heretics” by the church during the inquisition of the Middle Ages, but this was only the logical extension of the doctrine of eternal hell. If God will torment forever those who reject Him, why shouldn’t their torture start now, in this life, especially since before death there is the possibility of repentance? If eternal hell is true, God is even more unjust than the inquisitors, since He, according to this doctrine, tortures without a possibility of repentance and reprieve.
The human concepts of love, mercy and justice are a faint reflection of the divine characteristics, but are based upon them. Therefore, ideas and practices which violate the human conceptions of love, mercy and justice are usually a violation of the divine reality. The concept that God would create man, knowing in advance that he would sin, and then consign him to an eternity of punishment when he did sin violates all standards of love, mercy, and even justice. Our God-given sense of justice rejects the notion of “cruel and unusual punishment.” Those governments that submit their criminals to torture are considered barbaric; how much worse would be one which not only continued the torture for the entire lifetime of the offender, but devised ways to prolong the life of the transgressor so that his torment could continue. And yet this blasphemous charge has been leveled against God by His church! Moreover, with the traditional understanding of the resurrection of the ungodly, God is made to be even more of a monster. Not content with the torture of the “soul” that they have been experiencing since death, God arranges to reunite them with a physical body so that their eternal torment will be even more intense! It is no wonder that in consideration of this gross injustice, the majority of those who live in the traditionally Christian countries of Europe have rejected all religion and faith in God, who has been so badly misrepresented.
 1 John 4:19
 At first glance it would seem that both the beast and God threaten coercive punishment; the beast as quoted above in Revelation 13:15 and God in Revelation 14:9,10 "If anyone worships the beast...he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels" John 4:19. But there are some basic differences. The beast threatens coercive punishment in this life to those who do not obey him. God warns of eternal consequences (destruction) that will be executed after death in the judgment. The true emphasis of God's warning is not the pain the unrepentant will experience, but the eternal life that they will miss. In other words, Satan's threats are all about the behavior that he wants to force us to perform. God's warnings are about the blessings that He doesn't want us to miss.