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from Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty: Recovering a Biblical Doctrine
by Peter Sammons


The objects of hell are twofold: reprobate humans and angels. All reprobate, young and old—those who have sinned against God and rejected him—will be judged. The wicked are not limited by age, ethnicity, gender, or location. People from all over the world will one day be in hell. It does not matter if they have heard the gospel or not, for there is only one name under heaven given to men to be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

In modern times parents neglect gospel teaching to their children. They assume that their child is innocent, harmless, and therefore undeserving of divine judgment. But parents ought to be warned this sort of thinking could be very dangerous because the Bible does not give a clear-cut age of accountability. This is not to say that all infants go to hell, but it ought to be a warning that if a child is old enough to be saved than they are most certainly old enough to be damned.

There are many children who are saved at the ages of five, seven, or eleven, and therefore it is safe to say that if these same children had not been saved than they would have been damned because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

Therefore, all those outside of Christ will experience the wrath of God. John Gerstner makes this astonishing warning: “God will not excuse children nor does He forget their sins and the aggravation that they have sinned away the best time for their conversion.”[1] There will be men, women, and children in hell, for “it is clear that all unbelievers will stand before Christ for judgment, for this judgment includes ‘the dead, great and small (Rev. 20:12).’”[2]

God has not only made hell for the wicked who know not Christ but for the devil and his angels, as Christ says in Matthew 25:41: hell “has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” Second Peter 2:4 says, “God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.” As was mentioned before, Satan will be the chief captive of hell. “The Bible tells us that God has created Hell, preparing it in part for the devil and his angels, and that Satan will one day end up there.” Satan and the reprobate angels, who are not currently in hell (unlike those in Jude 6), will one day be cast there.


The doctrine of God’s justice in hell is intended in Scripture to warn the unbelieving to repent and believe (Rom. 2:4); to be a hope for the oppressed that one day justice will be perfectly meted out (Job 5:15–16; Ps. 9:9; 10:17–18, 103:6); and to display true justice that will come at the hands not of imperfect men, social reform, or military might but from the very hand of God (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). More shockingly in Scripture, hell is something that God’s people will actually worship him for. And when the world is full of all sorts of injustices, it’s not a surprise that people willing accept the Bible’s teaching on condemnation and God’s justice.

However, what people seem to struggle with the most is the idea that God has determined who will be instruments of justice before the foundation of the world, that God has decreed who will be vessels of justice prepared for justice before they are ever born, before they commit any evil acts. What right does God have to assign someone to the standard of justice without taking any actions they will ever commit? This is frightening to most, and yet it is what faithful Chris- tians have taught to one degree or another since the early church up to modern days.[3] What authority does God have to determine the destinies of the non-elect unconditionally before time began? Where do we even begin to find answers to these questions? Romans 9 has the answers, and that is precisely where we must go next.

[1] John H. Gerstner, The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Orlando, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 1993), 3:513

[2] Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1142

[3] For more on this see Peter Sammons, Reprobation: From Augustine to the Synod of Dort: The Historical Development of the Reformed Doctrine of Reprobation, Reformed Historical Theology 63 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020).

This post is adapted from Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty: Recovering a Biblical Doctrine by Peter Sammons If you are interested in adopting this book for a college or seminary course, please request a faculty examination copy. We will also consider requests for your blog or media outlets.

God’s right to judge humanity is written on the very fabric of human existence

The doctrine of reprobation–that is, the eternal, unconditional decree of God for the non-elect–is frequently misconstrued in both pastoral and theological literature. In Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty, Peter Sammons reintroduces this oft-misunderstood doctrine, revealing its relationship to divine sovereignty. With Romans 9 as a guiding text, Sammons presents a thoroughly researched defense of reprobation as an essential part in a Reformed theology that magnifies God and encourages believers to trust in him.

Reprobation and God’s Sovereignty clearly defines and demonstrates from Scripture the foundational terms and doctrines required for properly understanding reprobation, such as:

  • God’s justice
  • Election
  • Compatibilism
  • Secondary causality
  • Preterition
  • Predamnation

Understanding these theological ideas proves vital to answering life’s all-important question, “Who is God?” Sammons shows how the doctrine of reprobation leads to a greater admiration for God, eliciting higher praise, reverence, and belief in him.


About Author

Peter Sammons (PhD, The Master’s Seminary) is both director of academic publications at The Master’s Seminary and managing editor of The Master’s Seminary Journal. He is the author of Reprobation: From Augustine to the Synod of Dort.

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