This is one of the most profound questions a person could ask (there are two related posts at the end of this article). Let’s use a little deductive reasoning here and see what comes up. There are only two possible answers to the question – something, or nothing. If it is the latter, then that begs the question of what is the point or purpose of life? Materialists will say the purpose is to use your talents to do good and be productive and enjoy yourself. There should be no argument with that, but is that sufficient? Who should decide what is “good”, what a “talent” is, and what does it mean to “enjoy”, and how do you do that? Should it be majority rule? If so, majority rule brought Hitler to power, and there are at least a few people who would disagree with the rightness of his rule.
The other question it begs is what difference does the kind of life you lead make, if at the end, you die and then “nothing”? Why should someone behave, be kind, do good etc. if in the end there is no reward. Why not lie, cheat and steal if in the end there is no punishment? The materialist has no viable answer for these questions other than to insert his own wisdom into the matter, and there will be little agreement if any among them. It’s pretty much a dead end literally and figuratively.
So, let’s go to the answer “something”. If something happens, then what? The one thing that the “something” people have in common is a destination of Heaven. The way to get there varies, and so do the definitions, or should I say descriptions, of Heaven. Man is very inventive, and he has come up with thoughts of reincarnation which amounts to dying and coming back in life as another being. If you are good, ultimately you will die and go to Heaven, but if not, you may die and come back as a worm. There is not an historical shred of evidence that there is any truth to the matter of reincarnation, and yet, millions of people believe in it. Why? They must have faith, and believe what they were told.
That of course begs the question of why you would believe something for which there is no proof? Then, there are those who believe they will go to Heaven if they kill people who disagree with them and don’t embrace their belief system. Show the evidence that that is true, and it also begs the question of why you would want to be a part of a belief system that endorses murder and mayhem in order to go to Heaven? Then there are those who believe all is nothing, and nothing is all, and somehow, they will arrive at Heaven through long and great meditations.
Time now for a digression. Where did Heaven come from? What is Heaven? What’s the criteria, if any, for going to Heaven? Where is Heaven? What goes on in Heaven? What is the reason for Heaven? Who’s in Heaven? How is Heaven organized or run? There are those who believe Heaven is a place primarily for men for their eternal joy and self-indulgent pleasures such as many virgins, great food and all the pleasure of life enjoyed on earth. The general consensus of Heaven is that it is everything you would want in the temporal life, and can’t necessarily have, or at least not all of it, and that you will have it all of the time. It could be material pleasures, good health, entertainment, emotional highs and spiritual insight. Of course, everyone, with the exception of those who believe in nothing, or those who realize they haven’t made the grade and don’t care, thinks they’re going to Heaven.
Let’s address the first question of where it came from. Everyone either believes in creation or evolution. Heaven must be a part of one or the other. What is Heaven requires a definition and/or description of the place and circumstances. If Heaven exists, then it is obviously desirable, and as such, undesirables must not be a part of it. Ergo the question who may enter? Where, is a question that is very mercurial, and the reality of that is hard to ascertain in one respect, and very easy in another. What goes on in Heave must be dictated by those who are there, and those with seniority would likely have to be running things and directing traffic so to speak. The reason for Heaven has been mentioned, at least in part, already, although we can elaborate in a moment. How is Heaven organized relates closely to the previous question, and we’ll delve into that in a moment also.
Left out so far is any evidence of life after death or the reality of Heaven. Is there any evidence? People know that there was a great ice age, but nobody was there. There is evidence of an ice age, so people have assembled the various evidences as proof positive there was an ice age. Ancient underground cities have been discovered, and writings from those people have been obtained. Nobody living today knows any of the people or ever lived in any of the cities, but they believe the empirical evidence and the writings of those people. Nobody reading this lived during the times of the Emperor Nero, or Alexander the Great, but we have writings, wall art, and the trappings of civilization to confirm our belief that these people and events actually were reality at one time in history.
Have you ever thought of the word history? Without ever having studied the entomology of the word, it is my conclusion that it is a contraction of two words – his and story. Before men had the material and/or intellectual capacity to write words, they spoke them. They spoke these words and had them passed on from one generation to another. It went from his story to history. When enough people go through the hoops of confirming historical accounts, then it becomes a part of a culture and a believable past.
So, the one “What happens after you die?” belief system that’s been ignored so far, is the Christian belief system. The Christian belief system is the maturation and fulfillment of the Jewish belief system. Although not overt, the Jewish belief system did teach life after death, although it was not done in an overt and clear way. The Christian teaching is much more clear and overt. Now, I’m going to return to my earlier questions, and I will ask them of the Christian faith, and all will have answers, and all the answers will come from the Word of God in the Bible, and not from my imagination.
In the beginning, God… Those are the four most important words ever written. It sets the tone and the standard for all that follows. If God is, and He created all that was is or ever shall be, then He is the Creator of Heaven, and that answers question number one. What is Heaven? It can be described as the throne room of God. It is where He most immediately presides and holds court as King of the universe. Question number three; Scripture is clear that you must have a circumcised heart to go to Heaven. Seeing as how no man can circumcise his own heart, it must be done by God by way of the Holy Spirit working in each man’s heart. Once that heart has been circumcised (softened if you will), then that person must repent (change his sinful ways) and believe on the LORD Jesus Christ which includes the belief in God the Father Maker of Heaven and Earth, and in His only Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and that He was born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, that He descended into Hell (that is to say he was put into the ground), on the third day He arose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, from there He will judge the quick and the dead, believe in the Holy Spirit, the catholic church (the church universal; not to be confused with the Roman Catholic church), the resurrection of the body, the forgiveness of sins, the life everlasting. The initial act is a work of God, and the subsequent acts are very easy, and yet people resist submitting to what many would call nonsense. Until God works on the heart, nobody gets into Heaven, and according to the Bible, they can’t get there apart from Jesus Christ.
Where is Heaven? It is a spiritual realm which is not of this earth (Christ said as much; that His kingdom was not of this earth). He promised the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise today, so Heaven is in the presence of God. What goes on in Heaven is best described in the book of Revelation. God will be glorified and worshipped, and there will be no night there, and all tears shall be wiped away. Apart from that, we do not have clear insight as to what goes on there. Now, people who hate going to church, will not want to go to Heaven, because it’s church all the time.
The reason for Heaven is so God’s elect can be with Him and glorify and worship Him. It is also described as a “reward” for the faithful and obedient to God’s law. Additionally, Hell is described in fairly graphic terms as the alternative to Heaven. Nobody is perfectly faithful or obedient, but those whom God has chosen will hate their sin and repent of it – multiple times if need be. Who is in Heaven? It will include all of the apostles and elders of Israel plus the Triune God of Creation (Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three distinct personalities in one Godhead equal in power, majesty, and wisdom). In Heaven, the operation or organization is discussed only nominally. Obviously, God is in charge. He also tells his elect that they will be in charge of judging angels.
Now, lastly, let’s have the evidence. The Bible is replete with testimonies of eye witnesses to God’s miraculous works. In addition to that, the Book of Acts tells us that there were over 500 witnesses to the resurrected Jesus Christ. If you believe there was a Nero or an Alexander the Great, then the preponderance of evidence regarding Biblical truth is overwhelming by comparison. So, what happens after you die? Read the Bible.
Two related posts:
Pensamiento Peligroso writes the truth as he sees it, and if it upsets you, then it makes you think!