“Is Heaven and Hell a Reality?”
There are people in the world who do not believe – or at least profess unbelief – in the reality of Heaven and Hell.
There are also people who don’t believe in the Heaven and Hell presented in the Bible.
In fact, there are people who don’t believe in the biblical presentation of life after death.
Seven Alternative Theories of Life After Death*:
Atheistic Materialism – Since there is no God, there is no image of God or soul; we are only material, when we die all of us dies and stays dead forever.
God but no life after death – belief in a God who either does not love us enough to save us from final death or lacks the power to do it.
Skepticism – No one can ever know what happens after death.
Ancient Paganism – we die and become pale copies of the living things we were; ghosts inhabiting a gloomy, dark underworld.
Platonism – We are drops of cosmic ocean, pieces of God-stuff. At death the drop returns to the sea.
Reincarnation – After death our souls get another earthly, mortal body. The soul is like a traveling salesman going from hotel room to hotel room. After enough reincarnation to “enlighten the soul, it is freed from its alien series of bodily prison
What did Jesus say about Heaven?
John 14:2-4 = In my father’s house are many rooms; I will come back and take you to be with me
Matthew 7:21 = Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 19:14 = Let the little children come to me …for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these
Luke 10:17-20 = I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven
Jesus makes it clear that Heaven is a Reality:
It is where he came from
It is where God’s throne is
It is where Jesus will take us to when he comes for us
Some of the objections you might run into:
There is no scientific evidence for heaven. *
there is no scientific evidence for the notion that nothing exists except what is proved by scientific evidence
it is simply an assumption, a decision of the will not the intellect
Believing in heaven is escapist.*
-“Who talks the most against ‘escapism’ Jailers” – C.S. Lewis
-Is it escapist for an unborn baby to wonder about life after birth?
-Heaven is not escapist, because it is real. The idea is “escapist” only if it is a lie. To call the idea of heaven escapist is to presuppose atheism but not to have the clarity (the guts) to say so.
How can we be happy in heaven if any of our loved ones are in hell?*
-We know there will be no sadness in heaven, though we may not know how God manages this.
-God does it, he can enable us to do it.
Heaven will be boring. Nothing to do but worship – an unending church service; even if that did make you happy, without unhappiness it becomes boring. We appreciate everything only by contrast to the opposite.*
-assumes that earthly limitations and foolishness will extend to heaven.
-boredom is a specifically earthly and fallen emotion
-the idea of a heavenly church service is symbolic; Rev 21:22 says there will be no temple because God is fully present. Church can be boring but not God.
Hell usually get more objections than Heaven, even from some Christians.
People today tend to care only for the softer virtues like love and tenderness, while they’ve forgotten the hard virtues of holiness, righteousness, and justice.*
They often like to put off hell as “Gehenna” – a trash dump outside Jerusalem that at one time was the location of child sacrifice. But it was not hell.
It is just too hard for some people to accept the pain, violent, punishment of Hell.
What did Jesus say about Hell?
Matthew 5:21-22 = But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Matthew 5:27-30 = It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Luke 10:16 = …but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.
Luke 20:45-47 = They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.
Jesus makes it clear that Hell is a Reality. To believe there is no hell presupposes:*
that both scripture and the church lie
that Jesus lied
that we can change doctrines we find unbearable or unacceptable
Consequences of dropping the belief in Hell*
If there is no hell, life’s choices no longer make an infinite difference.
If salvation is universal and automatic, then ultimately there is no free will.
The same Eastern religions that teach there is no hell also teach there is no absolute morality, no real and objective opposition between good and evil.
If there is no hell to be saved from, then Jesus is not our Savior, but only our teacher, prophet, guru, or model.
If salvation is automatic, Christ’s sacrificial death was not what Christ himself said it was: necessary, planned, the culmination of his whole earthly life and his reason for coming from heaven to earth.
If there is no reason for believing in the detested doctrine of hell, there is also no reason to believe in the most beloved doctrine in Christianity: that God is love.
The exact same authority which is our only authority for believing God is love also assures us that there is a Hell.
* Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli (1994). “Handbook of Christian Apologetics”
“Objections to the Reality of Hell”
What did Jesus say about Hell?
Would a loving God really sent people to Hell?
Couldn’t God force Everyone to go to Heaven?
Why Doesn’t God Give People a second chance?
*You can find a copy of this handout on my website – http://robinwadeministries.com