The idea of judgement (eternal or otherwise) is rooted in the belief that God is Just, that Justice exists (right and wrong are real). The living may repent (learn) the dead may not. The downside is the wicked suffer in Hell forever (assuming we are eternal, which I believe follows from right and wrong being real. The logic of this is left as an exercise for the reader).
When you stop and think however, it seems that Eternal Damnation is an awfully steep price to pay. I mean, how many people does someone have to kill and how horribly do they have to suffer in the process to justify that killer suffering forever in Hell? If you think about how long eternity is you must begin to wonder how anyone can really be bad enough for Hell? If it’s a matter of equity (justice) shouldn’t it take eternity to earn eternal damnation?
The flip side of this is that it should also take eternity to earn eternal blessedness (Heaven). Since we don’t have eternity to earn the eternal reward (and it seems most of us are better at earning in the other direction anyway) it should quickly become clear that we can’t earn it. If we can’t be bad enough for Hell we can’t be good enough for Heaven.
This is precisely what the Bible teaches. Men are not consigned to Hell or graced with Heaven because of how good or bad they are. Jesus Christ has earned Heaven for us all if we will believe it and accept it. The only line drawn between Heaven and Hell is the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ of God.
This is entirely consistent with a God of Love, as the One True God must be. The Righteous God of Love has made a way (The Way) for us, to do what we could not do on our own (in our limited lifetimes). But, like God, love cannot be forced it must be received, which implies it may be rejected.
If we will not accept (receive the gift) that God, as the only one who could, has earned us an eternity at the source of Faith, Hope and Love, then how can we get there? And if we can’t get there where else can we go? More to the point, how would that place be different from Hell?