Does God stop loving those who have died in their transgressions? Is it even a matter of God loving them, if hell is complete and utter separation from God? Since God is love, and God is gone, then the soul is bereft of love. But is hell separation from God? Luke 16 implies that Hell is also a bit of psychological torture, as well as physical torture.
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
That crafty Abraham. He sure knows how to let you know that not only are you in agony, but there’s no hope of ever receiving respite from the pain. Yet there seems to be communication between heaven and hell. Now perhaps this is allegorical. It is a parable, designed to teach a lesson, but whether it depicts the literal circumstances of the spiritual planes is another topic for scrutiny.
But doesn’t Scripture say that Jesus preached the gospel to those souls imprisoned in Hell during his time in the ground? Hmmm. This is more difficult, because if He did, there are a number of theological problems that arise as a result. Here are a couple of good resources on this topic, if you’re interested in exploring. Ultimate conclusion? No, Jesus did not go to Hell and preach to dead people. For one, He could not have preached the whole Gospel, since the Resurrection is the biggest part, and it hadn’t happened yet. Suffice to say, I think the implication to studies on this matter conclude that souls who are dead have no chance of redemption, no second chance, if they had not previously been saved.
So the question remains: does God stop loving those who have died and are not held in His grace?
I don’t know. But He loves all who are still alive, that I do know.