Is Judas Iscariot in hell or heaven?
Because if God is here to save everyone then how can this one man be foretold to betray Jesus like he had no choice like he was destined to Hell?
You’ve got several important issues here! Well done for putting them together!
BUT we’ve got to get some side-issues sorted before we can deal with the main one. You’ll need to forgive me for wandering off the topic a bit at first.
1. So, let’s start with this, “Because if God is here to save everyone…..”
Bless me, whatever gave you that idea?
God is “here” for one reason and one reason only.
That’s because he is the ONLY one who “exists” in his own right, the only one who “is”, from his own person.
I’m not sure you’re getting my drift.
Let me put it this way: EveryTHING and everyONE else in the whole of the Universe has ONLY “derived” existence. That means they exist ONLY because God says so.
Hebrews 1 3 tells us that God (in the person of Jesus the Son) “upholds the Universe by his word of power”.
So it is us who are here “for a reason”. God is here just because He is here.
2. So what about this “saving” business? What’s that all about?
God is, to put it mildly, “somewhat upset” that the pinnacle of his creation, the creatures he made, and loves with a passion greater than the most ardent lover, well, we have all pushed Him away and told Him we want to live our lives without Him.
So He sent his own Son, to prove to us how madly in love with us he is.
And we got rid of him pretty easily.
And now, most of us spend our lives trying our best to ignore Him, like he doesn’t exist any more.
BUT God is a lover. And one thing lovers do is to tempt their beloved to love them back.
And now and then, one of us surrenders to Him. We let go of our own rule over our lives and take him as our Lord.
In military terminology, we swop sides and join the enemy!
And God is gathering together all those who will turn to Him. He restores their relationship with Himself. He puts His own Spirit inside them, so they get His own Power to live. He tells them, inside, that they are a chosen people and they are going to live with Him for ever.
And he loves them. And loves them. And loves them.
So they are rather special, to say the least.
3. So what’s this “destiny” bit?
Here it gets a bit weird.
The Bible says, quite clearly, that we have complete freewill to decide whether we follow God or not. It is OUR decision. WE are responsible for it.
THEN it says, just as clearly, “God chose us!”
Sometimes these two apparently incompatible ideas are said right next to each other. And the people who say these things are not dummies who don’t have the intelligence to notice they’re contradicting themselves.
They’re people like, well, Jesus, and Paul, who was specially picked for education under the top professor – anywhere in the world – of his day. Others too.
These intelligent people really mean that both things are true at the same time!
We DO have complete freewill to choose or reject God.
God DOES choose us and call us to be his people.
How does that work?
It’s called a “paradox”.
Let me tell you a story about a paradox.
Once upon a time there was a Martian. Let’s call him Qvrthst. It’s a stupid name, but it’s your fault for giving me the opportunity.
Anyway, one day, Qvrthst flew his flying saucer to earth and switched on the Invisibility Cloak. He watched and listened to human beings, and one of his first ones was a lad at school.
This boy was in a Geography lesson, and the Martian distinctly heard him say two contradictory things, one after the other.
He said, “I live in England”. THEN he said “I live in Manchester”.
“Well!”, thought Qvrthst, “this guy is bonkers! He doesn’t know where he lives!”
But, being a clever chap, Qvrthst decided to listen a bit longer. And he discovered what you all know. The Geography teacher showed a map of England, and there WITHIN England, was Manchester.
So by learning more about the truth, Qvrthst had understood that there was actually no contradiction after all. We say he had “Resolved the Paradox”.
Getting back to God. It seems impossible to us that he could “predestine” us, yet still allow us total freedom of choice.
Nevertheless, when – like Qvrthst – we understand a bit more, it gets easier.
So most non-Christians can feel that they are totally in charge of whether they turn to God or not – and they ARE in charge.
BUT most Christians, when they have turned to God, have a deep sense that the God who loves them passionately has CHOSEN THEM to love Him back.
We don’t fully know, right now, how it fits together. But we have a deep sense that it does, and one day, when we have listened a bit more to the Teacher, we will understand properly.
[You can probably think of some theories – try thinking about a Being who is “outside time”.]
NOW we can get back to Judas!
Yes, he had total freewill to decide whether to betray Jesus or not.
But even this freewill could not catch God out, couldn’t “trip him up” like he had been surprised. He knew, and had planned, even for the freewill decisions of Judas.
So Judas was responsible for his sin, not God.
But God was responsible for the consequences to Judas, and the rest of the world, of Judas’s sin.
It really WAS Judas’s fault.
But God had planned so tightly that even Judas’s sinful act proved to be the origin of Salvation for everyone who turns to God of their OWN freewill.
So, now, YOU decide where YOU think Judas is.
It strikes me, as I think about the answer I just gave, that the more advanced theologian would want to pursue two points in more detail.
The first concerns the nature of Freewill and Predestination: what happens if you emphasise one to the detriment of the other?
The second is that Jesus said – “None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction” (John 17 12)
It is instructive to explore whether there is a connection between Judas’s sin and the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”, also known as the “unforgivable sin”.
Because both subjects are immensely important in their own right, I have reposted them as individual questions.