Heaven and Hell

Q. Show me proof that heaven and hell exist and I’ll believe you. Otherwise it’s just fairy tale for those who fear death and want a crutch to stand on.

A. Many non-believers have asked this or similar questions. They say they’re not superstitious. They want scientific evidence before they believe. Fair enough. Any thinking person should believe with their mind, not just a blind leap of faith. But we need to think through what type of evidence are we asking for.

Heaven and hell are spiritual entities, not material things. Science, however, operates in the physical realm. It makes observations, proposes a hypothesis to explain the phenomena, designs experiments to test the theory, then takes measurements to see if its assumptions are valid. Spiritual things are beyond the scope of science, which is simply not equipped to measure spiritual realities.

As such, the quest for evidence must follow a different path. There are two primary approaches – personal testimony from witnesses, and evidence from the Bible.  The former comes from people who have died and came back to life, who claim they have been to heaven or hell. The latter is historical because several books in the Bible describe heaven and hell (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Revelation).

While books from contemporary authors who had near-death experiences (NDEs), or seen visions, are quite popular, personally I have reservations about them, for two reasons. The first consists of direct statements in the Bible:

  • John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (God the Son) who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
  • John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.

I will explain why I believe the Bible is true in a moment, but essentially these verses state that only Jesus had descended from Heaven and can explain God. There were no other eyewitnesses. Since current authors are after NT times, couldn’t they have ascended into heaven after the Gospel of John was written? Technically yes, but their claims are not verifiable, so the validity depends on the trustworthiness of their character.

My second reservation relates to the reaction of contemporary versus Biblical authors when they see heaven. Current writers talk about amazing beauty, seeing departed loved ones, some of whom tell of things on earth that they (the writers) didn’t know before. Biblical authors uniformly write about their fear, falling prostrate because they recognize their uncleanness in the presence of the Holy One:

  • Isa 6:5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
  • Ezk 1:28b And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.
  • Rev 1:17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

Why are the descriptions so different? Have contemporary authors really seen the Lord, or Satan disguised as an angel of light (2 Co 11:14)? For these reasons I read such testimonies with caution, accepting only those portions that are consistent with the Bible.

Not so when it comes to evidence from the Bible. Although skeptics disregard Scriptural evidence on heaven and hell, they do so at their own peril because the reliability of the Bible had been attacked throughout history and had stood the test of time. I will present a more detailed explanation in a later post, but several strands combine to form an irrefutable argument that the Bible is true, that Jesus is in fact who He claims to be, the Son of God incarnate, and what He said about heaven and hell will definitely be fulfilled. These include:

  • The uniqueness of the Bible in its internal consistency, despite being penned by over 40 human authors, from many different walks of life, over a span of 1,600 years.
  • The Bible’s accuracy as confirmed by archeology and extra-biblical historical records.
  • The hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, some written hundreds of years before the events happened, in minute details, not generalities. Mathematicians have used probability to test whether such predictions are mere guesses and have rejected the possibility that they’re random conjectures.
  • The testimonies of millions upon millions of changed lives, which would be incontrovertible evidence in a court of law.

So, my suggestion is don’t take my word for it. Search out the truth for yourself. God’s word is up to the challenge. Then place your trust in Him who loves you so much that He gave up His life for you. You’ll be glad you did. I did that 47 years ago, and never regretted it. My prayer is that you’ll find Him too.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Nancy Wu  On May 25, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (God the Son) who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
    Ezk 1:28b And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.
    How do you reconcile these two verses.
    I can understand John 1:18 which is written before he wrote Rev 1:17 when he saw God.

  • Pastor Ray  On May 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    John 1:18 says no one has seen God at any time. In context “God” there refers to God the Father i.e. no one has seen the Father at any time.
    In Ezekiel 1 the prophet saw “visions of God” (v 1). Scholars interpret who he saw was visions of the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, God the Son. Ezekiel had not seen the Father. There is no contradiction.

  • Nancy Wu  On May 25, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    I find that the people who ask for show me’s are too lazy to look up for proofs all around us and in google. They are too conceited to realize we are only a 4-dimensional creature trying to figure out the more-than-eleven dimensional creator and all His creations; not to mention that most of us only have one bachelor degree in our education, a very limited educational back ground. So be humble !

  • Pastor Ray  On May 29, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Yes, many only want to win the argument that they are doing perfectly fine without God. They are not really seeking after truth. That’s why they don’t find it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: