No One is “Sent” to Hell

We Christians need to work on our delivery.

“Believe in Christ or go to Hell” is over-simplified, and doesn’t interpret well. It’s easy, it’s marketable, but the negativity of it causes people who do convert to do so out of fear, not faith. Most times, it turns people away.

If you believe the Bible, you believe Heaven and Hell have always existed, or you believe Lucifer created Hell when he fell – even if the latter is the case, the evil element was already there. If God created the angels, if he is omniscient, that means He created evil. If He created evil, is He both good and evil Himself, or did He push His internal evil into an external source, or is He simultaneously God and the devil? Whatever you believe or debate, the Bible tells us the dichotomy of good and evil has always existed.

The purpose of our existence, according to Christianity, is to resist and fight evil by doing good (defined as humility and charity), until the day evil is nonexistent. While the devil instigated original sin according to Genesis, free will guaranteed internalized evil alongside good. Original sin was ordained. You can’t make a choice for good without the opposite option. Then you are a robot with no individuality or personality, or anything that makes you human. Now, I know I said the endgame is to eliminate evil. Do we become robots at that point? I hope not! God must have a plan beyond good vs. evil, but the dichotomy is obviously part of the path to that end.

So, yes, God created us knowing we would sin. Hell is not a punishment for the inevitable (how unfair would that be?) but the place where evil dwells and where people engulfed by malevolence are meant to exist. Disobedience and evil have no home in a place of eternal goodness and purity. It’s not that we’re being denied a “reward,” but that we choose our eternal home based on our decisions.

Christ came to deny the devil his citizens. He came so we could make the choice of Heaven or Hell throughout our entire lives – to give us the option to choose Heaven again even after we choose Hell. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful gifts God has offered. Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection is the next step after Creation towards defeating evil for good. We have the option to be purged of all our evil choices, purified, and allowed into the holiest of destinations.

In other words, it’s not that God will send you to Hell if you don’t love and accept His son. It’s that His son is the only one who saves us from our own corruption, from damning ourselves. Our own sin sends us to Hell, not God. Jesus did not come to send us to Hell if we don’t believe in Him.

It’s like this. You jumped into a pit for some reason, on a dare perhaps. It is deep and you are trapped. And arm appears and reaches down towards you and says, “Let me help you out of there.” If you scorn the arm, you remain in the pit, die, and rot there. If you accept the arm, you climb out of the hole and into the light. The arm did not put you in the pit, and the arm did not make you stay in the pit. That was all you. The arm is providing you a way out, a way past your mistake. And the arm will always reappear no matter how many times you fall back into the pit. The choice to reemerge is entirely yours. The hope is that by end of your journey, you will have learned how to not fall in again, and you will stay in the light until your metamorphosis.

I personally have faith in the following quote:

“To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.”

– C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

God bless with mother earth’s bliss.

The Afterlife — Where Is Heaven?

This is where Panentheism and the Body Metaphor falls apart.

If God is the “mind” and the universe is His “body,” where (or what?) is Heaven?

The paradox that God is both within and without the universe has to play a part here.

If God is the “mind,” then wherever He exists as such would be Heaven.

The idea that we sentient beings are the red blood cells of the universal body doesn’t make sense if this is true -– blood cells don’t “die” and go to the brain when they do. The problem here is with my metaphor and not with God’s manifestation.

Moving beyond my imperfect metaphor, how then do we understand Heaven? Ancient cultures believed the sun was god and that the afterlife was out beyond the sky. They didn’t have the technology to know what we know about space.

Yet we continue to look up.

The only way to understand the concept of Heaven is to accept the idea of an alternate dimension.

I’m not talking about parallel universes or the multiverse, which is something I can barely wrap my head around. This is reality, this is my only life, this is my soul. There cannot be billions of versions of everyone’s souls in alternate universes based on every possible decision they could have made, side by side with all the possible decisions everyone else could have made. (Whew.) While an interesting concept to ruminate over, it doesn’t make logical sense. (However, I welcome comments explaining the multiverse theory. I might consider it if I understood it better.)

Although string theory certainly tries in earnest to make the concept of the multiverse real, the truth is we cannot, in our physical bodies, experience beyond our three dimensions (height, width, depth), possibly four if we include time.

An alternative phrase for what I want to describe is “higher plane.”

I read a work of science fiction once that explained a second dimension as existing “in the spaces between atoms.” While I have no evidence this is possible, I can see how it might be. Heaven is all around us, perhaps, but in our corporeal form we cannot access it. We must wait until our souls leave our bodies to “pass through” and find the True Reality of God’s Kingdom where we are surrounded by Him. There, everything is made of His Spirit, without corruption’s interference.

C. S. Lewis had a brilliant conceptualization of what Heaven is compared to earth, which explains the higher plane much more articulately than I can. Dr. Charlie W. Starr writes:

We think of spiritual creatures (saints in heaven or angels or even God) as airy beings with no solidity like us. Lewis says we should think the other way around. We are ghosts and shadows and our world but a cheap copy of the heavenly one to come, like a landscape painting compared to the real place. In The Last Battle, the friends of Narnia enter into heaven only to find that it’s a new Narnia, like the old one, only bigger, but not really bigger—better to say, fuller, more complete. As one of them puts it, it’s “More like the real thing” (210). And because it’s more real than our world, everything in it means so much more than things do here. If you’ve ever had an experience so wonderful that it made you think, “This is how things ought to be in real life,” maybe you’ve experienced a taste of heaven, a place compared to which, Lewis says, our own world is just “shadowlands.”

Perhaps we are the ones in the spaces between the atoms of Heaven, in a temporary dimensional plane that God will erase one day as the Heavenly world evolves into the only one, once Satan is defeated.

This brings us to the question:

Where is Hell?

Is Hell even real? Returning to the body metaphor, if Hell isn’t real and Satan is the body’s cancer, where did he come from? If Satan isn’t real, why does free will provide evil as a choice? Does this make God both good and evil to provide us these options?

I will explore this in depth next week.

More information on string theory:

http://www.superstringtheory.com/experm/exper5.html

http://www.space.com/32728-parallel-universes.html

Parallel universe vs. parallel dimension:

http://mysticinvestigations.com/paranormal/parallel-universe-vs-parallel-dimension/

C. S. Lewis’s Vision of Heaven, by Dr. Charlie W. Starr:

http://www.charliewstarr.com/c-s-lewis/charlies-lewis-essays/c-s-lewiss-vision-of-heaven.html

God bless with mother earth’s bliss.

 

(Art: “Alternative Reality” by Josephine Wall)