Questions from Sunday (Sermon 5 on Heaven and Hell)
May 1, 2013
As in the past, questions were submitted on Sunday morning during my sermon that I was unable to fully answer at the conclusion. Each Sunday I am spending about 10 minutes at the conclusion of my sermon to address that questions that came in by text. Below you will find my thoughts to some of the questions that came in this past Sunday.
How can there be hell if the earth’s core is solid.
We really do not know where hell is located. Hell could very well exist on a totally different dimension that would be impossible for us to grasp with our human limitations. I do not believe the solid core of the earth has anything to do with hell.
If God knows all, couldn’t he have known that Satan was going to create Hell, and could’ve he prevented the evil of Satan and Hell? Why would God allow this?
For starters, Satan did not create hell. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:41 – “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” While Jesus didn’t say “the eternal fire I prepared for the devil…” I think his words obviously point out Satan did not create hell. I think the issue of God preventing evil goes back to our familiar friend “free will.” Relationship is a top priority for God. He does not want robots. With the option of obedience or disobedience comes the possibility of evil. While God did not create evil, he created the possibility of evil. He even knew we would sin, but the choice still had to be offered. It is all based upon God’s nature of love and love requires an object – us. If we did not have free will, we could not love God. The bottom line is that while God knew Satan would rebel, and he knew mankind would fall. He still made us because He is love.
Will other forms of believers be allowed to Heaven, such as Mormons, or other forms of Christianity?
I addressed this somewhat at the conclusion of the sermon. Only true born-again believers who surrender to Jesus Christ as the God of the universe and the Lord of their lives will go to Heaven. While I do not consider Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses Christians, I need to hasten to say that not all Baptists are Christians. Now by virtue of our doctrine, if you are a Baptist, you are supposed to be a Christian. This is different between us and Mormons. While Mormons say that Jesus became a God just like we can all become Gods, they deny that Jesus is THE God. You cannot be a Christian if you deny the deity of Christ. The only “form of believers” who will be in Heaven are the saved kind- that is the kind who have repented of their sins and surrendered the lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Will there be waiting in Heaven?
It depends upon what “waiting” means. When we wait for something, we endure the passing of time while longing for something to take place. Eternity is not limited to time as we know it, nor will we have a feeling that something is being delayed that we want. It is really difficult to answer this question because I do not believe we can understand what it means to exist in a timeless reality. It is interesting that numerous times in the Bible we find God telling us to wait (Psalm 5:3, Psalm 40:1, Isaiah 40:31). I guess my response is that while something may be delayed, we will not long for it as if God is late or we are being neglected.
Why no seas?
I do not think this means there will be no ocean or large fresh water bodies. I need to point out up front that we really do not know what this means. There are a variety of opinions; we must remember they are but opinions. The sea in the scripture presents a sense of danger or turmoil. It is possible the scripture is pointing to the fact that in Heaven there will be no turmoil. Whatever it means, it is pointing to something that is negative. The ocean to me is not negative unless I have a shark get a little too close for comfort while I’m scuba diving. Seriously, some scholars think the sea represented death as it was so dangerous in ancient times. These scholars think John was saying there is no more death. This may be one question we have to save until we get there.
Will our earthly spouse and family be our “family” in heaven?
Matthew 22:30 says, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” Note this does not say we will be angels, but regarding the issue of marriage, we will be like the angels. This also does not say we will not know our spouses nor does it say we will not have close relationships. It does say that in heaven, marriage as we know it will not exist. There is nothing in the scripture that says we will not be close to our family in heaven. It is possible that we will have meaningful relationships and even unique relationships with our families. We just don’t really know how that’s going to be, but we can be sure that whatever God has made Heaven to be, it will be better than earth.
What if your spirit goes to heaven but your family doesn’t accompany you later?
I’m sure this happens all the time. It seems that if I have family members go to hell, I will be quite sad. The Bible teaches there is no sorrow in heaven, so I’m not real sure what we will know or not know.
Is the term “sheol” in the scripture a reference to hell?
Not necessarily. It means the place dead go (like the ground or a tomb). While it could just be referring to a grave, it could be referring to heaven or hell.
Where did Jesus go for the three days when he died on the cross? Some scholars say he went to hell to preach to the lost souls.
I addressed this on Sunday. 1 Peter 3:18-20 addresses this. The Bible is not real clear exactly what this mean. This passage does say that he went to the imprisoned spirits. Again, we are not real sure who these people were. It does make a vague reference to people alive in Moses’ day. If Jesus went to those who rejected God and were in hell, this would be contrary to the rest of scripture. I think he went to followers of God who passed before the death and resurrection to tell them the anticipated sacrifice had been made and call them to believe in Him.