Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Heaven Bound?

I stumbled across a television show when I was looking at Netflix’s offerings. The name of the show was Dead Like Me. While I can’t recommend the show and I don’t know that I should have watched it myself because of foul language and sex scenes, what I have seen of the show got me thinking about the perception of the world. The premise of the show is that there are grim reapers living among us who are responsible for collecting souls when people die and escorting people to their final reward. They don’t get paid for what they do, so they must find a way to support themselves, through jobs or whatever is required. But what I found most interesting is the view the characters have of God. Even though they have already died, the grim reapers aren’t sure whether there is a God or not and the writers keep bringing in this concept that “the Universe” will keep everything in balance.

In one episode, a Catholic priest dies, but before he does, he questions whether there is a God or not and reveals that he would like to see proof. I know he is just a fictional character, but it made me sad to think about the many people who find themselves in that same boat. They “believe” there is a God because their religion says there’s one or they look at the splendor of the Universe and they assume that there must be a God, but they don’t know God personally, they question their beliefs and they wonder what will happen to them when they die. “Heaven or hell?” They wonder.

Some people have said that what makes Christianity different from all the other religions of the world is that we have a risen Savior. That may be true, but that is only relevant to people who believe we have a risen Savior. Many people do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for our sins and rose from the dead the third day. To those people, there is no difference between what we believe and someone inventing a new religion that has a leader who rose from the dead. In fact, the Bible tells us that Satan will invent such a religion, the leader will appear to be fatally wounded and he will recover. So the real difference isn’t that Christianity teaches that we have a risen Savior, but that we have proof.

A big part of our proof comes from the Bible. We know that the Bible isn’t just an ordinary book because the prophecies came true. If a man told you that tomorrow at ten o’clock there would be an automobile accident at specific intersection and it would involve a blue car and a green truck, you would doubt him, but if tomorrow came and it happened exactly as he said, you would wonder about that. If he predicted another accident and it came true, you might start believing him. The Old Testament accurately predicts when Jesus would be born, where he would be born, which family he would come from, how he would die and many other things. Every detail (more than 300 in all) came to pass, just like it says. No ordinary book can make those kinds of predictions hundreds of year in the future. And for those who would make the argument that Jesus read the Old Testament and fulfilled the prophecies based on that knowledge alone, show me a man who can fulfill 300 prophecies by his own will alone and I’ll show you Jesus.

But people have their doubts, even people who believe themselves to be Christians, just like that silly priest character. I think some people have given up on the possibility of knowing that there is a God, knowing the way to heaven and knowing whether they are saved or not. This makes them miserable, but you don’t have to live that way. We have proof that God exists. This God points us to his Son as the only way to heaven. And the Bible tells us that we can know whether we have peace with God and are on our way to heaven or if we do not and are on our way to hell.

Question: Are you certain that you will go to heaven when you die?