To get at the way that hell glorifies God, we need to see hell in light of the Bible’s big story, its point of view, and its characterization of God and man.
THE BIBLE’S BIG STORY
The Bible’s plot, like all plots, has a beginning, middle, and end.
God creates a perfect place and puts an innocent man and woman in it. God sets the terms and clearly states the consequence of transgressing his terms. An enemy lies to the innocent woman. She believes the lie, breaks God’s terms, and the man sins with her. God curses the enemy and initiates the consequences of transgression, cursing the land also. In the curse on the enemy, God states that the seed of the woman would strike the enemy’s head, while the enemy would strike the seed’s heel. The man and woman are then banished from the perfect place.
Humanity has been divided into two groups: the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, the righteous and the wicked. The seed of the woman are initially a subset of the nation of Israel, a line of descent that God has chosen to bless. They experience a re-do of the plot’s beginning. God puts them in a land of promise and sets the terms. They transgress the terms and are banished from that land, but God continues to promise that the enemy will be defeated even though it will be through a painful purging of the seed of the woman.
Then Jesus comes as the promised seed of the woman. He crushes the enemy’s head, with the enemy striking his heel—he dies on the cross. Because he is innocent and has resisted all temptation, death cannot hold him. He triumphantly overcomes death, satisfying God’s wrath against sin and opening the way of salvation for all who will trust him.
Creation will be like a woman in childbirth suffering labor pains, with the wicked viciously attacking the righteous, who trust God and testify to God’s truth until they are killed. This will continue until Jesus comes again. When Jesus comes again, he will judge the wicked and consign them to everlasting punishment, and he will take those who believed the word of God and the testimony of Jesus into a new, better, perfect place.