Q&A: Why would God send people to hell simply for not acknowledging him?
This is a perfect example of how easy it is to make God sound like a monster by wording a question in just the right way.
For starters, NO ONE winds up in hell simply for failing to acknowledge God. (Even Christians fail to acknowledge God sometimes.) Hell will be populated by people who vehemently reject God—who say, "I want nothing to do with God or His Son. I refuse to turn from my sin and I reject God and all that He stands for."
Secondly, you need to understand that hell is never God's intended destination for anyone! (In fact, we're told that originally hell was created for the devil—not for man.) The Scripture clearly says that God is "...not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
People have to literally choose hell over God's offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
You see, Jesus laid down His life for sinners. He suffered terribly on the cross, bearing the condemnation that we deserved. He didn't have to do any of that. But once He did, He made forgiveness freely available to ANYONE who would humble themselves and ask. To reject that free gift of forgiveness is to throw away any chance of being saved! Why? Because, as Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 (NIV)
It is only by REJECTING the work of Christ and what He accomplished for us on the cross that people put themselves in danger of hell. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of reject is:
: to refuse to believe, accept, or consider (something)
Hell will be made up of those who looked at God's free gift of life and said, "I'll pass."