The world seems to think God invented Hell for anyone that will not obey Him, but the world does not know or understand God. Hell is not designed as a punishment.
God will ultimately grant the desires of everyone’s heart. Those who love God and want to live with Him forever will get their wish. Those who hate God and do not want to live with Him forever will also get their wish.
This life is the time of decision. God has granted every one the right to decide where they wish to spend eternity, but the choice will be permanent.
It helps to understand everything if you know that death is only separation. The first death is physical. It is separation from the earth and everything in it. The second death that is spoken of in the Bible is separation from God.
God does not want to be separated from anyone, but He has given us the power to decide for ourselves if we want to live with Him or not. Love is not one sided. No one can make another love them, not even God. God can make one obey Him, but not love Him. No one, not even God wants to live with an enemy. There can be no peace if you live with your enemy and the life after the first death is forever, so living with your enemy forever would mean there would be no peace forever.
Bearing this in mind, we can see the Hell is not basically a punishment, but a separation. It is described as burning sulfur, but how can Hell be described? We do not even have an idea of what it would be like to be separated from God. We have been given life in God’s universe. We breathe God’s air, drink His water, live in His country, think with the mind He gave us, and work with the hands He gave us. If I tried to list everything God has given us, I could not.
I think the fire of Hell is a spiritual fire. Notice Isaiah 6:6&7 where the live coal does not burn, but removes guilt. Those in Hell will always be reminding themselves of their guilt with no chance of it being removed.
To say God is love, as the Bible does, and then say He will punish those who do not return His love, with an everlasting punishment, for not returning that love does not make any sense to me. However, it does make sense that at some point in time those who do not want to love God will be rejected by Him. It truly would be hell, to be separated from God forever, with no hope of reconciliation.
Bare in mind that Satan himself along with the worst of the worst men will be in hell and God will not intervene. Could there ever be any rest in Hell? Would anyone want to have to watch his or her back forever? Will not Satan be the king of Hell? Will he take out his frustration on his subjects? Who would stop him?
Having said all of this Hell actually would be a punishment, if only viewed from one angle, even though it was not designed by God to be so. The people of this world cannot understand spiritual things, so to them it seems only punishment. That is the only view they can see.
No one in Hell will blame God for his or her plight. They will know and understand it and say to themselves ‘It was my own damn fault’ (sorry that was just words from a song that got stuck in my mind).