Discussion around heaven and hell, tends to stem around ‘What next?’ What is there for us after this life? Does what I do now, affect me later?
To believe in Heaven and Hell is to believe that God exists, and that we will be judged. We will be separated from those around us. More later, about how we are judged, first though, what does Heaven and Hell look like?
To clarify my perspective from the outset, I believe in Heaven and Hell from a Biblical context. There tends to be disagreement between some preachers (and Hollywood writers,) about the interpretation of what Heaven and Hell will look like. Frequently this is a contextual misunderstanding of the Scriptures.
The Scriptures imply that Heaven and Hell (these are the only two options,) are spiritual places, not physical places, although I concede that Jesus spoke of a place with many rooms. It is not uncommon for people to see themselves in heaven in a physical sense, however, I believe this to be incorrect.
The Bible also uses figurative language to describe truths and concepts that we cannot grasp. For example, the Bible discusses the time when there will be a new Heaven and a new earth. When taken in context of the surrounding passages, this is an example of a figurative image of a spiritual world, rather than a physical world.
The Scriptures also indicate that we only know in part, not fully. Our understandings of Godly concepts are still only in part. We still don’t know aspects of Heaven or Hell, and we are incapable of understanding parts.
To describe Heaven, it is easier to start at Hell.
Hell, from a Scriptural context, is a ‘place’ of endless spiritual torment. It is to be without God in any form, to be in a situation where His hand has not touched.
Our physical world has God’s hand upon it. As the creator, he has shaped the heavens and the earth, and all living things and set things in motion. He has given us rules to guide us, and principles to live by, which shape our society. Whether we admit it or not, we see His hand upon us and our world daily.
Hell, is to have none of this. It would be like being continually starving, yet unable to eat or die. To have cravings, that cannot be quenched. To have a longing that cannot be satisfied. It is in fact, the ultimate punishment, to be in pain and suffering with no relief.
Heaven is the exact opposite. It is not having all our earthly desires met, because our spiritual needs are different. We will be rewarded, with treasures that do not perish, but last eternally.
So, if Heaven and Hell are polar opposites, how do we know where our final destination will be?
In the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo painted his ceiling masterpiece, is another artwork. This piece located behind the altar is his final great work. In it we see a portrait of Michelangelo, illustrating his own uncertain about his final destiny. He portrays himself in flayed skin, caught somewhere between heaven and hell, entirely uncertain of where he’d spend eternity.
Millions believe that God is loving and merciful, therefore be won’t condemn a good man to hell to suffer torment for all eternity. The Bible is clear, that there is only one way to heaven. People don’t have to play a guessing game about heaven. You can have the hope of eternity. The Scriptures are very clear that it is through the Son, that we secure our heavenly place. Through accepting him as Lord, and daily following His teachings.
Want to know more? Seeking clarification? Want to debate a point? I am happy to discuss any of these concepts further. Email me at [email protected] and please feel free to comment below.
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