Sunday, April 20, 2014

Heaven, Hell, and Sin

Where exactly is “Heaven”?  Where exactly is Hell for that matter?   We are told “Heaven” is “up there” – a place where God dwells, sitting on a throne and surrounded by angels.  We are told by the Bible that God created man in His Image, which leads many to visualize God in human form so Heaven must be tangible and filled with “many mansions” although nothing is said about HOA fees.  But isn’t this unrealistic?  Is the Bible wrong in its description of God, Man, and Heaven?  Isn’t it more logical to see God as pure energy and existing in a dimension not visible or accessible to humans?  If God is pure energy then doesn’t it follow that His image is nothing like a human being but instead it is our “souls” which are pure energy and are in His image.  We cannot see God nor can we see our Souls, but does this mean they don’t exist?  Of course for some – the ubiquitous Atheist -- the answer to that question is “yes” they don’t exist. For these people  Man is an animal evolved from hominids which were descended from pond scum and the origin of all life was a random event.  Nevertheless, if God is energy existing in a place not visible to mankind then it also follows that Heaven is indeed a place where God dwells surrounded by the souls of those not in body.

If Heaven exists not “up there” but in another energetic state or dimension that is without mass, intangible, and invisible, then what about Hell?  Where does Hell exist?  Traditionally Hell ( a state or place known by many names) is “down there” below the surface and in the underground.  I think modern geologic science has pretty much demonstrated that Hell does not exist in some huge underground cavern filled with unquenchable flame and inhabited by Satan and tortured souls.  But then Hell is a very ancient concept predating the Bible and extending far back in Man’s history and across cultures.  It is a place where souls go who have sinned and who are punished for those sins.  But then what is “sin” and given that sin seems universal and omnipresent then how much sin must a person incur in order to be sent to Hell for torture and retraining?

Technically “sin” is a violation of divine law or a violation of the relationship between Man and God.  But does this mean that Atheists cannot sin?  If you don’t believe in God then you are exempt from Hell and Damnation?  The logical response to this is that while the Atheist may not believe in God – God does believe in the Atheist and therefore any human being can – and undoubtedly does – sin.  But where does God draw the line between those destined for Heaven and those destined for Hell?   This is where things get a little murky because according to some Jesus died for mankind’s sins and in the acceptance of Jesus Christ mankind’s sins are forgiven.  But even here there are conditions because according to the Bible “every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven …”  When you stop and consider sin as described you can see that it isn’t as clear cut as some would have you believe so what condemns you to Hell and precisely where is Hell located – other than down there?

It strikes me that given everyone sins and sins come in various flavors so the punishment for those sins varies as well.  This leads to the logical conclusion that Hell is where we are and that “down there” is actually the Earth.  All of us are in Hell already and struggling to return to Heaven. The idea that Hell is a place of punishment is very old and crosses many cultures but the fire and brimstone Hell is a relatively new concept and one that has been created by man much like all of the others.  But within these there is a kernel of truth because the reality is that Earth is a place of learning – a place where each soul comes to perfect itself, to correct past mistakes, and to balance itself in order to reach a higher level of evolution.



No comments: