Monday, January 12, 2009

who's going to Heaven?

A few of my recent posts have been about Heaven and Salvation.

Here's another angle on "who will go to Heaven":

If you don't want to spend time worshiping God and walking in community with His redeemed people, why would you want to do it for Eternity?

It seems (quite) likely that God will honor the dignity of our decisions and the human person, by granting the desire to be with Him and His people-- or not.

So, which one is it for you?


At January 13, 2009 at 8:55 AM , Blogger William Lang said...

>walking in community with His redeemed people

Mark Twain's comment comes to mind: "Heaven for climate, Hell for society." <grin>

At January 13, 2009 at 1:18 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I would strongly suggest C.S. Lewis' little (100-page), easy (at least compared to many of his other works) book on heaven and hell: The Great Divorce. It's speculative but persuasive-- that Heaven is true community and Hell is where people would avoid (true) community (if that's an option for them).

In any case, it's clear-- from theology (a Trinitarian God) and practice (e.g., the call to the church in the NT)-- that Christianity is meant to be communal and relational (in addition to its more heavily advertised individual component).

At January 13, 2009 at 6:02 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

This makes Hell seem not so bad; it's just where all the not-very-social people go. But Hell is consistently spoken of in the Bible as a place of terrible regret if not physical torment (or permanent non-existence, something we all instinctively dread). That is, Hell is indeed a place/state of permanent/eternal punishment.

In your original post, you refer to people wanting to worship God and walk in community with His people—but this is descriptive of many people not just Christians. So this leaves unclear why only Christians can be saved. (Or, put another way, must a Jew or a Unitarian, etc, convert to Christianity to be saved? As a Jew or a Unitarian, etc, a person can love God and seek to live in community with other people who love God. Imagine the grief when, upon death and the Judgment, they learn they had it all wrong…)

At January 13, 2009 at 7:23 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I'm not doing Lewis justice then. He makes Hell sound very unpleasant.

The religious labels may distract more than they inform this discussion. What we know from the Scriptures is that one can only be saved by God's grace-- and that "no one comes to the Father except through Christ".

At January 13, 2009 at 10:21 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

>"no one comes to the Father except through Christ"

I recall my late Grandfather, who was a devout Catholic, saying that to be saved, you had to be a member of the Church—but only God knows who is a member of His Church.

At January 13, 2009 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

that's true but even more vague!


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