"Hell is usually seen as the full manifestation of God's wrath. The theological issue concerns the nature of that wrath. God is not like some pagan deity with a bad temper who may 'lose it' at any moment. New Testament scholar Chris Marshall writes that wrath
designates God's fervent reaction to human wickedness. God's refusal to tolerate, compromise with, or indulge evil...wrath is not a chronic case of ill temper on God's part but a measured commitment to act against evil and injustice in order to contain and destroy it...it is not so muc a matter of direct, individually tailored punitive intervention as it is a matter of measured withdrawal of his protective influence and control, a refusal to intervene to stem the deleterious effects of human rebellion.
A key biblical foundation for the idea that wrath is primarily God's withrawing his protection is found in Romans 1:18-32, where God's wrath is revealed from heaven when God gives people up to pursue their self-destructive sinful desires. The wrath IS God's letting them slide down the path to destruction. In Joel Green's words, 'wrath is...God...handing people over to experience the consequences of the sin they choose (Rom 1:18, 24, 26, 28; cf. Wis 11:11-16; 12:23).'
If we think of hell as the state in which God allows the painful reality of sin to hit home, then we can understand both the terrible imagery used in Scripture to portray such a fate and the urgent warning to avoid the wide road that leads in that direction. It also removes the objection that God is being presented as a cosmic torturer hurting people until they agree to follow him. God does not torture anybody - he simply withdraws his protection that allows people to live under the illusions that sin is not necessarily harmful to a truly human life. The natural (though none the less God-ordained) consequences of sin take their course, and it becomes harder and harder to fool oneself into believing the seductive lies of sin anymore. In this way hell (while temporary) is educative and points us towards our need for divine mercy.
Once we see that God's justice is more than mere retribution but is also restorative, and once we see that divine punishments are more than deserved but also corrective, then a way is open to see God's final punishment as another manifestation of this very same justice and not something qualitatively different. It is retributive but also restorative. It is deserved but also corrective. Divine wrath can be seen as the severe side of divine mercy. It is just as much an act of God's love as his kindness. Granted, it is a side of God's love it would be better not to experience but it is none the less loving for that."