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Heaven and Hell Revisited

Over the years, I have many times tried to discuss my faith with non-Christians. That is not to say that I try to compel anyone to believe; to my mind and heart there is no good purpose to trying to force someone to believe as you do; it is going to fail most of the time and only breed resentment, and if by some chance you do compel someone to accept your beliefs, that only means that someone stronger and meaner can and will convert them, which sort of explains militant Islam. But anyway, my point there is that while we Christians are commissioned to spread the Gospel and bear witness to Christ's authority, we must do so in the same way He taught; through love and work and no end of patience. That includes interaction and debate with non-Christians. Frankly, a lot of people get offended very easily and the discussion quickly becomes a bitter argument. I have had trouble letting go of such conflicts, but in the main I think we must let go of anyone who is not willing to have a civil discussion. I hasten to note that Christians are just as prone to show offense and bitterness as non-Christians in these exchanges, so it's not as if being a believer makes us more persuasive, or even more open-minded. Just something we all, I included, should think about.

But when a discussion does get going, one thing which commonly comes up is the question of Heaven and Hell. Aside from whether God exists and what He is up to should He be real, non-Christians are frequently upset by the notion that some people go to Heaven while others go to Hell. Two alternative suggestions are frequently offered; that everyone meets the same fate, or that everyone should be judged solely on the work they did - that everyone gets what they deserve, no more and no less. For some time I had trouble answering why those alternatives would not work, but I had a strong sense that they were false possibilities. This post addresses those contentions, and tries to explain why the Christian Heaven is the best hope for us all.

I begin with a quick overview of how God has made things. I do not presume to state this as an absolute fact, but rather as my comprehension of things, and so any flaw in the reasoning does not disqualify God, but would be only my own embarrassment. I have always accepted the existence of Good and Evil in the world, as I think nearly all people do. So far as I can see, Evil is a natural condition, in that a person who is strong may come to do as he pleases because no one can stop him, or a person who finds an advantage may use it for his own benefit without a thought about who that action harms. Goodness, on the other hand, is an unnatural condition, as it often directs a person to act in a way which helps others and costs him; it is inconvenient, personally difficult, and frankly not very common in human behavior. Poverty, for example - it seems that there are plenty of resources for food, shelter, and clothing to help those who do not have enough, were everyone to pitch in. Yet throughout History there has never yet been a time where everyone, or even the majority, did so. Some people are clearly good, more seem to be bad, and the majority just goes along without being really very good or very bad. Judge it as you will, that's been the way of things for all of human record. So why do some people choose to be good, and why do we all profess to love goodness? I believe that is the reflection of God, His love for us showing through that goodness which is done, against all self-interest and the nature of the world. The bad things are a combination of the world we know, the environment in which we are taught, and our own personal choices. While many people mock the idea, it is apparent to me that God allows us free will in our lives. Some mock that idea because they have to face limits at all, but the fact remains that we all have a range of choice in how we face things. And choices have consequences.

- continued -

So, with that in mind, we look at the first contention, that everyone gets the same thing. For the annihilationists, we die and that's all. For others, we all go to Heaven, no matter who we are or what we did. And there are a great many beliefs in between, but the point is there are many groups which believe that - in the end - nothing matters. To me, that is a horrible thought! The idea that the generous man does no better than the greedy man, that the rapist or murderer who is clever enough to never get caught will not pay for his crimes, that in the end we might as well do as we like in this world because there is no real distinction between the good man and the evil one, is to me a truly abominable idea. And I think at the heart of us all, we do not accept such a contention as valid.

The second contention initially appears to be just and fair; everyone gets what they deserve. The problems there, however, come from the fact that everyone fails in some way and at some time; such a system would lock out virtually everyone from the best rewards, and no matter how just it may appear at first glance, it does not accept that people can and do change, and so a person who does well early in life but turns to evil, may be rewarded while a man who regrets the wrongs he has done and tries to make amends, may be punished for it. And even where the consequences of works are fair and just, a system which relentlessly counts every act, word and thought will inevitably separate people from each other - when every moment of a lifetime is chalked into a column, no one is truly the same as anyone else anymore, instead the world devolves into the chaos of absolute disparity, and on the eternal level a system of unleavened justice would mean a universe barren of compassion and mercy, and ultimately banning hope. It is a system which inevitably consigns everyone to hell.

So what to do? The maltheists contend that God hates us, the atheists contend that such a possibility precludes His existence, and even the most devout Christian must wonder what purpose there is, that evil is allowed to exist and indeed flourish. And that brings me to the third heaven. I use that phrase because I have sneaking suspicion that this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he referred to the "third heaven". Heaven ultimately belongs to God its maker, and for all the arrogance of Man that God must give up His realm because we say so, it is God who designed, built, and maintains the sovereign realm of eternal joy. While the Lord created both good and evil, He made good for a good purpose and evil to allow us our choice. No one is compelled to sin, because sin always requires the choice to act against the right. And the notion that evil may be tolerated on the eternal scale, much less rewarded, is dispelled even before a man enters the Courts of God's Judgment. There are indeed consequences to every choice, and God is not poor in memory on that day. Yet it must also be understood that the Lord is merciful as well as just, compassionate as well as holy, and He knows our hearts better than we do ourselves. In the end, the choice everyone makes is simple - they are either reconciled with God or choose eternal enmity. Heaven is not the same for everyone, yet neither is it closed to all but an exclusive few. The aspects of Heaven are the same as every good aspect of the world we know, save those which are holy to the Lord. What I mean, is that there is no good thing in this world which will not be found in Heaven, but in Heaven even the good is perfected, and that includes people.

This brings up the prospect of Hell. A lot of people dismiss Hell as a fairy tale used to scare folks into behaving or staying with the church, and to be sure some folks have done that kind of thing. But Jesus warned people about Hell more often than He made promises about Heaven, and He was clear about its danger and the need to make every effort to avoid Hell. Some folks dismiss Hell as a temporary condition, until our sins are - I suppose - burned out of us or we have otherwise satisfied the debt. The problem there, is that I never saw a mention in Scripture about people finishing their punishment in Hell and then going to Heaven; the decision was always final one way or the other. That makes a kind of sense, since it would be inconsistent to say that one choice has eternal consequences and another does not. But people also argue at length that a system which produces eternal punishment for even a momentary offense cannot be just. I don't really buy that argument too far, because there are acts a person can commit in a very short time which permanently change other people's lives or end them. But I am concerned, because as I mentioned earlier everyone I know has sinned one place or another, and it seems difficult to comprehend anyone going to Heaven on the basis of what they deserve, which in turn makes it difficult to imagine a human deserving Hell. And what's more, while we Christians all confess our sins, we often repeat some of them, either out of weakness, a bad habit we have trouble breaking, or worst, we like that sin and are reluctant to really give it up. From that perspective, it seems hypocritical indeed to suggest that just being Christian gets you into Heaven, while even a nearly perfect life of goodwill and compassion would not help you if you are not Christian. The Bible seems to say the same, reminding us of non-Jews who pleased God in various places, and non-Christians whose faith impressed Jesus.

That jumbled paragraph before was my poor attempt to consider a possibility I think may happen - on the day when we stand before God, all evil will be destroyed. All that is good will be taken into Heaven. Whether we go to Heaven or Hell, then, will depend on whether our heart and desire were with the good works or the bad, whether we are aligned with goodness or clung to a badness we enjoyed. If that is so, the proper role of the Christian is to help people see what they cling to, especially our fellow Christians, so that they do not suffer for the old ways, but pursue what is truly right and good, and so enter the Third Heaven with a joyful spirit and a full heart.


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Comments (18)

You didn't finish the story... (Below threshold)

You didn't finish the story.

None of us are good enough to make it to heaven on our own. All of us are sinners. And since God is perfectly holy, we cannot stand, on our own, in His presence.

Thus, God sent His Son who became one of us, yet without sin. This Son, this God-Man, paid the ultimate penalty, the penalty that we deserved, which is death.

He took upon Himself the judgment due us. Now, for those of us who believe in Him and trust in Him, He will stand with us as our Advocate on the day of judgment. And when God, the perfect, holy God looks upon us, He will not see our sin, but the holy perfection of His Son, who stood, and stands, in our stead.

This is the core concept of the Christian faith.

MJFReeman, I kind of though... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

MJFReeman, I kind of thought most folks knew that part. I was trying to explain why the stage is set that way.

"he problems there, however... (Below threshold)
capital L:

"he problems there, however, come from the fact that everyone fails in some way and at some time; such a system would lock out virtually everyone from the best rewards, and no matter how just it may appear at first glance, it does not accept that people can and do change, and so a person who does well early in life but turns to evil, may be rewarded while a man who regrets the wrongs he has done and tries to make amends, may be punished for it."

And so god, infinite wisdom be damned, is unable to fairly judge the deserving from the undeserving?

If you believe in such things as an omniscient deity perfect in all ways, how can you limit it in such a manner?

Addendum to my previous com... (Below threshold)
capital L:

Addendum to my previous comment:

I'd prefer a rejoinder premised upon logic (Greek - logos: "the rational principle that governs and develops the universe," utilized in early Christian philosophy as "the divine word or reason incarnate in Jesus Christ") as opposed to purely Biblical-text based reasoning. I'm well versed and more or less unconvinced by books alone (A quick reread of one of my favorite sources of early Christian thought--Paul's letters-- provides an easy example of my dissatisfaction: for seemingly every reasonable and inspiring passage such as Ephesians 5:2 there's an Ephesians 5:4 to make the lord seem more or less petty.)

OK, was anyone else out the... (Below threshold)

OK, was anyone else out there as offended as I was about such a misleading headline that makes no mention whatsoever of Ronnie James Dio?!?

Sorry for the semi-hijack of your thread, DJ, but any Black Sabbath fans reading this will appreciate my comment =8^)

DJI commend you for ... (Below threshold)

I commend you for your effort to tackle one of the biggest questions in the Christian faith.

I can only recommend Romans 7:14-20, and , to our great relief, Romans 8:1-2. Thank God, literally, for that passage.

On a broader level, Heaven or Hell, I gained a lot from reading C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity (of which I am sure you are familiar) and this book:

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
by Loraine Boettner

The latter is sure to create some debate among believers but it laid out for me in very understandable language the subject of Ephesians Chapter One.

Ah, predestination! There's... (Below threshold)
capital L:

Ah, predestination! There's the rub, isn't it? It's a veritable paradox of narrowing definition: perhaps I have been personally chosen (before the very foundation of the world--or universe, no need to argue semantics) to be saved; but I have doubts, therefore those must have been foretold; and suppose I fail to fully uphold my end of the "god-contract" so to speak, and of course that too was unavoidable, and now I'm going to hell through no fault of my own.

I must concede that I have not read the book you cite, HughS, nor do I find the arguments for predestination as supported by text to be particularly compelling (for example, in such a setting what is one to make of Ephesians 6:10-17, which advocates active, personal spiritual strength and resistance?). The concept is logical from the standpoint of an omniscient creator, however.

D.J., just a couple things.... (Below threshold)

D.J., just a couple things. First of all, thank you for a thoughtful post.

I believe perfection and evil are misnomers that a lot of people are way too ready to rely on as guidelines, or perhaps goals to work toward in
attaining that acceptable state that God is looking for.

If you know to do well and don't, only then is it a sin (missing the mark), or less than acceptable. So, the idea is not to destroy evil, but to overcome sin with well-doing, or meeting the mark, or good.

I don't agree with man being inherently evil, so to speak, although you are right that many people find it difficult to do well even when they know better. "Just desserts", or people getting what they deserve, is kind of a domino effect. The idea that it doesn't matter what you do to someone else, is probably the laziest damn belief anyone could ever come up with, because the repercussions begin with the very person affected, and don't end there.

Whether we want to believe it or not, the Holy Spirit is aware the moment the idea of wrong doing enters an individual's mind and if carried out, is not resolved until a score is settled.

Call it Karma or whatever, but if those loose ends remain, the Spirit will accommodate the situation where the lesson is best learned. To me, Heaven and Hell are choices of our life path which will lead us to Darkness or Light. Nothing is secret, nothing is hidden except to us if we choose to close our eyes.

capital L I know b... (Below threshold)

capital L

I know better than to engage in a debate about predestination on a blog. That said,thanks for your comments.

I'm reminded of a comment from a preacher who found himself watching two fellows argue articulately about the meaning of the text regarding predestination. After a while, he interrupted both of them and said "There are good people going to Hell right now. Don't you think we have something more important to do?"

MJ Freeman,It's in... (Below threshold)

MJ Freeman,

It's interesting that you bring up atonement by penal substitution, since there is currently a lively debate within the Evangelical movement concerning penal substitution and the shortcomings of the Evangelical gospel based on the misapplication of penal substitution -- specifically the fact that a good portion of Evangelicals seem to think that salvation is nothing more than "praying through" and getting their Admit One ticket to Heaven, with Jesus picking up the tab.

If you have some time to spare, I recently wrote a detailed blog entry that addresses some of these issues.

It's interesting that after 2000 years, Christians are still debating about how God will judge us. Which passage of scripture provides the best understanding of Judgment Day -- Revelation 20 (which describes judgment of each individual based on their individual deeds) or Matthew 25 (which describes corporate judgment of the nations based on how they treated the poor)?

The 20th century Evangelical movement and its contemporary successors put virtually their entire emphasis on the Revelation 20 scenario. But the description given by Jesus himself in Matthew 25 seems to be a much better fit with the Law (see Deut. 15:4-10) and the prophets (see Isaiah 1:16-20).

Heaven and hell are, indeed, real. Of that much we can be certain. But I often wonder how many of us who consider ourselves Heaven-bound would really be happy there? We brag about being "saved," and yet we could care less about emptying ourselves and beginning the process that truly reconciles us with God. If we refuse to change ourselves so that we begin to look and act like God, then how will we know what God truly looks like, or acts like? We learn to recognize God by the way we live our lives in the here and now.

C. S. Lewis famously said that Hell's doors are locked from the inside. I believe that a great multitude will walk away from Heaven simply because God and his Kingdom will look so different from themselves and their own personal kingdoms that He will simply go unrecognized. Once that happens, there is truly no hope.

You can skip the whole pred... (Below threshold)

You can skip the whole predestination paradox by just accepting Jesus' free offer of salvation. You don't have to do anything to earn it, before or after; however, once you do, God the Holy Spirit will come and live in your heart, and He will alter your conscience so that you will find it harder and harder to hurt others by choice.

In fact, His goal in general is to work toward making you the kind of person who helps others and hurts no one. You will find yourself craving to live a life like Jesus describes in Matthew chapters 5 through 7.

You don't have to join any social organization, either; however, finding a decent church is a great next step in securing your faith after you're saved. I recommend the Xenos home church denomination, or a church that calls itself "full gospel" or "bible church". I also recommend joining the parachurch organization BSF, or Bible Study Fellowship.

Hell itself is a temporary ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Hell itself is a temporary place. The lake of fire is the eternal opposite of Heaven.

I have argued predestination with folks from this blog, but by direct email. While I'm sure I didn't convince the other party they were wrong I did point out several scriptures that either server no purpose or counter the precept of predestination. That's when Calvinists resort to their fundamental precept of the sovereignty of God, but that precept is based on circular logic. When I show this they go away.

The logic goes like this. God is sovereign and He can't be sovereign if people can freely choose to accept or reject salvation, and thus, ever person is predestined for a certain outcome. The problem is that to make this statement you have to bind God with human logic, which violates His sovereignty, and thus, the precept depends on circular logic. Scripture clearly teaches that God can do all things and if He wants children rather than robots, He's well able to give them free will and remain sovereign. If the human mind can't grasp that, so what, neither can it grasp eternity. The inability of the finite to grasp the infinite doesn't rule out the infinite, it just means the finite must accept some things by faith.

God knows that beings with free will can be a big problem in His eternal kingdom, but only those beings not willingly obedient and loyal to God. God has a plan for separating the wheat from the chaff, and we know that plan as the Gospel. Human's who willingly accept the Gospel become children of God. Those that don't, well there's no place for them in God's kingdom and the only other place is the lake of fire, which was not intended for them, but that's where they must go. In the end, God is sovereign and has many willingly obedient, loyal, and loving children eager to serve their Father.

It's apparent from scriptur... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

It's apparent from scripture that there are two judgments. The first is the greatest and it's the judgment between being saved and condemned, between life and death. No human fathered by man can pass that judgment on their own merit. Only by accepting the righteousness from God can one be judged and found blameless by God. Because the righteousness from God is a gift, anyone who accepts it can know the outcome of the first judgment and then live their life to do well in the second judgment.

The second judgment is only for the saved and it's to establish a person's standing (rewards) in the kingdom of God. Many scriptures address this second judgment and many people get confused because they assume they refer to the first judgment. The key to knowing a scripture refers to the second judgment is in what's being judged. If it's a person's works or deeds, it's the second judgment.

In this life we are yet on the battlefield and I'm convinced that acts of self-sacrificing love in the face of the enemy will be judged worthy of great rewards in God's kingdom. Self-sacrificing love is what Jesus did. For us such acts include giving to the poor, caring for the needs of others, and financially supporting the work of the Church. We are still living in the book of Acts, so do your own acts of self-sacrificing love. None are so small that God won't notice and reward you when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

I always liked Carlin's twi... (Below threshold)

I always liked Carlin's twist where there is also a "Heck"...which isn't as bad as "Hell".

I personally have struggled... (Below threshold)
doubter tom:

I personally have struggled greatly with the concept of never-ending punishment, so this article is meaningful for me. You have repeated several of the arguments I've had with myself, but I came out of the wash on the opposite of the fence.

Nowadays, I'm not sure if there is a God, and if there is, if Jesus is His Son. I realize that will hinder the discussion since now everything I say is suspect, but I fervently believed these things at one time (I was even a licensed minister and led many unbelievers to Christ) and I deeply wish that I could believe again. It is a great comfort to believe that Someone is watching you, that everything has meaning, and that suffering will be explained at some point.

My understanding of Mankind's sinfulness is that this is a result of the Fall, it is an inherited condition, and that no amount of good acts or thoughts can alter that. In order to bring us to His presence, God must kill a perfect sacrifice; the only perfect sacrifice is His Son, which is Himself. I think this is fairly orthodox Christianity.

However, we usually take things a step forward and say there must be action on the part of the person, and the sinner must "believe" these things in order for it to work for him, and must repent of his deeds. Some people add baptism and good works to the requirements.

My problems with theology are manifold. First, why is all of humanity condemned for the acts of two people? If not for Jesus Christ, we would all be sent to never ending punishment. I think I should be punished, but I think it should end at some point. Maybe in a thousand years, or a million, or maybe at the heat death of the universe. A punishment that doesn't end is not designed to re-mediate, instruct, or chastise, but is just sadistic. I don't believe God is sadistic, so I can't believe souls exist in Hell without end.

This problem is easily remedied: The Bible often uses "forever" and "ever lasting" as an idiom for "very very long time." Plenty of examples of this can be found at this website: http://www.what-the-hell-is-hell.com/HellStudy/HellChart.html. (I can not fully vet the website's theology, but it does have a good exposition of the "forever" problem.)

I still have trouble with a God who would punish all of humanity for the acts of two people who didn't know right from wrong and were tricked by a talking snake that God knew was there to trick them. This sounds more like a pagan fable and not something a God would do. It could be that there is some deeper meaning that was apparent to Jewish people 3000 years ago, but that has been lost to us. I find "inherited-wrath-of-God"-ness abhorrent, especially when it involves subterfuge and ignorance on the part of God.

I also find the idea of God needing to kill something in order to be around us to be absurd. I don't know anyone who believes that infants go to Hell when the die, and yet infants are just as guilty of sin nature as anyone. Most people assume an age of accountability is reached, before which sins can not be committed since the person is innocent. This ignores the condition of Adam and Eve who were likewise innocent but held accountable nonetheless. So either God torments babies in Hell, or He allows people with sin nature into His presence. If so, why the need for a sacrifice?

I hope I've not bored you and that you can grasp my dilemma. I've struggled with this for over two years now, when the absurdity of my faith became apparent to me. There's more, too - how can I be happy in Heaven if my spouse, parents, and children are in Hell? Doesn't sound like Good News to me. Why did God have the Israelites kill the Canaanites instead of converting them? Why does the Bible say "Seek and ye shall find" when all of man's religions are a result of seeking that leads to Hell? Why did God reveal Himself to a tiny tribe of desert nomads and let the rest of humanity burn if He loves us?

I answered those questions the same way most Christians do - God is mysterious. Read C.S. Lewis. Liar/Lunatic/Lord. Those answers are hollow to me now and can be used just as well to defend Islam, Buddhism, or any other belief system.

Socrates proved, I believe ... (Below threshold)
Gary Gulrud:

Socrates proved, I believe in the Gorgias, that all men desire good and believe themselves good, if I recall the argument correctly. But this is obviously false on the evidence of the 'wise guy' alone.

I had not heard Mike's C.S. Lewis citation, "C. S. Lewis famously said that Hell's doors are locked from the inside", however, his "The Great Divorce" builds on that theme and is deceptively profound and complete.

To wit: In the end, the divide between good and evil will become more apparent when He is revealed and many will choose at that time, just as it will be seen they have always chosen, to have no part in the God who Lives.

I'm not sure you are addres... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I'm not sure you are addressing me, and as a teacher of the Gospel you're going to be hard to reach, but I'll try because you are still seeking God.

My understanding of Mankind's sinfulness is that this is a result of the Fall, it is an inherited condition, and that no amount of good acts or thoughts can alter that.

To explain this I can't start with mankind's sin, I have to start with sin itself. But before I do we have to know something about God that can only be known from the Bible. That's God's character. The best example is Jesus Himself who says that to know him is to know God. This is all Sunday school stuff, but don't be offended, I'll soon get into meat. God is love and wants to both love and be loved. Love is not an emotion in itself, nor is it the passion between a man and woman. Love is self-sacrificing for the benefit of others. Your car sacrifices itself (wares out) as it serves you, but it does not serve you out of love, it has no choice but to serve you. If it had free will it might take you to work and then leave you there rather than spending a cold wet day in the parking lot. I submit that love cannot exist apart from free will.

God has free will and so His children must also have free will in order to both receive God's love and return love in some measure. God knew before creating any beings with free will that some would turn against Him, but He also knew that others would be loyal and loving children eager to server Him. Not wanting to be alone forever with only servants, God set into motion a plan to separate beings who choose to love God from those who choose to love themselves.

Before going on we need to know what humans are. God creates human souls, which is the part that makes you, you. Human souls are a part of God and that's where the free will comes from. He then makes them into spirits and prepares a body for them. Which souls end up in which bodies is not a random process, but to be joint heirs with Christ a human soul and spirit must enter into this world through the womb. I'll come back to his latter.

The fall of the devil, Adam and Eve to Moses, to Jesus, to the end of the age are all part of God's grand plan to have many children, which the Bible says will be God's good pleasure to give them the kingdom. Such a kingdom could not long exist if it contained beings who choose to love themselves more than God.

The Earth in this age is the battlefield, not just against the devil, but against sin itself (disobedience). Humans enter this world under the sin they inherit from their fathers back to Adam. God separates the saved from the lost by a test that's so simple that anyone can pass it, but yet so hard that few of the greatest (by the world's standard) can pass. The greatest treasure is hidden in plan sight where a child easily finds it, but the intellectually proud search in vain. Paul writes "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." That test is faith in what Jesus did. Paul writes "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." By having Faith in Jesus we become righteous before God, something no amount of effort could do apart from such faith. Jesus also came to destroy the works of the devil and take back what Adam give him. That gets into a whole lot more territory than I can cover in one post.

My problems with theology are manifold. First, why is all of humanity condemned for the acts of two people? If not for Jesus Christ, we would all be sent to never ending punishment.

You answered your question yourself. It's an inherited condition or nature. Jesus did come, which was always part of the plan. God's testing you to see if you will choose to believe the foolishness of the message preached, or if your pride in self (self love) is too great.

A punishment that doesn't end is not designed to re-mediate, instruct, or chastise, but is just sadistic. I don't believe God is sadistic, so I can't believe souls exist in Hell without end.

God is not sadistic, but there's no place in His kingdom for beings with free will who don't love God. Universalists believe that God has a plan to eventually save all people. Maybe you should research that.

I still have trouble with a God who would punish all of humanity for the acts of two people who didn't know right from wrong and were tricked by a talking snake that God knew was there to trick them.

I wouldn't expect this from someone who studied the Bible. It all about free will. Without a choice there can be no free will and without free will there can be no love.

I don't know anyone who believes that infants go to Hell when the die, and yet infants are just as guilty of sin nature as anyone.

Every person's days are numbered from before their birth. God knows these souls before they are born and He controls who dies young and who dies old. Remember, they must have a body formed in the womb to be joint heirs with Christ, so to receive that blessing they must risk the curse. The world is not worthy of some souls (Hebrews) and God gives them a short round trip. All will be tested and perhaps some pass the pretest. You can bet God is good and loving and He has a plan for every human soul to choose. "You shall also say to this people, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. Deuteronomy 30:19.

Paul writes about faith love and hope being eternal and the greatest of these is love. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of love of the greatest type, self sacrificing love, something only beings with free will can do. Pass the test and teach others to pass the test. If God has a plan "B", what's that to you? You know plan "A" so you're expected to use it.

I AM THE WAY,THE TRUTH AND ... (Below threshold)







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