The Christian faith teaches there is life after this life, as God created us as eternal beings. In this afterlife the Christian faith teaches there are two destinations described as heaven and hell. The bible has some unimaginable descriptions of both.
Heaven is described as a place of no sin, where the inhabitants have mansions, cities with streets of pure gold, gates of pearl, walls of jasper, and foundations of all kinds of jewels. God is its light and there is no sun or moon. Heaven is described as a place where everyone is perfect in pure love who enjoy perfect peace and there is no sorrow as God has done away with the former things.
Hell is described as a place of darkness where there is weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, where there is no rest, where perfect peace and joy are not experienced as the former things still exist. Hell is also described as a place prepared for the devil and his angels.
The reality is neither of those descriptions are to be taken literally, but serve as metaphors of two very different realities. I believe the biblical writers used beautiful language like gold, pearls, and mansions to let us know heaven is a beautiful and desirable place. Likewise, the biblical writers use horrific language of weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth to let us know hell is an undesirable place.
THE HARD TRUTH: Much of our ideas about the afterlife have been influenced by our own desires and culture more than the Bible. Much of our ideas of heaven and hell don’t line up with the character of God.
THE GREAT THEOLOGICAL DILEMMA: I heard a sermon a few weeks back where the preacher basically said only about 30-40% of the world’s population will go to heaven. The dilemma - Christianity teaches the triumphant, victorious, all-powerful creator God and His Christ. We sing songs about Christ victorious! However, if God in His divine plan of bringing salvation to the world is only able to rescue/save 30% of the world’s population; are we too consider that a victory? When I was in school 30% right was consider a failing grade.
I do not write this post to deny the reality of heaven or hell, but to challenge Christians to study, and to think about their ideas of this very important topic and the future state of creation. Because your ideas and beliefs shape your attitude and behavior! We may not know as much as we think we know!