Preface:These views are not coming from something a pastor said in Michigan. These views are coming from things that I deeply thought about after reading the book. I don’t believe things just cause some cool hip pastor says them.
I recently read the uber controversial book Love Wins by Rob Bell.
It challenges the modern lessons that we teach about both destinations and makes us think….well is what I’ve been told, Is what I believe, is what everyone says….true?
Naturally right then and there you have alot of people putting up some red flags. I will admit that the book made me truly think about where I stand on these matters. And that, is the exact purpose of the book. To make us decide what we believe.
First off. I believe there is a heaven. I believe there is a hell. I believe they are both places. Where they are…I have no idea. Does where they are matter? Not at all.
I agree with the book on a few things. One big one being, I think we spend so much time thinking about how to “get in” to heaven or who “get’s in” that we lose the whole meaning of what Jesus came here to do. Why do we do what we do? To get into heaven? Or to show the love of our creator to people who have never experienced it.
My “lead follower” Brian Brown once asked my church a question. I may mess it up a little bit BUT this is the jist. If heaven didn’t exist, would you still want to believe in God. If all the treasures that we are “promised in heaven” were to not come to us. Would we still chose to live according to the Bible. Would you if there was no heaven, still care enough to follow the ways of Christ. His essential point of that question is to make it aware that the prize isn’t heaven. The prize is Christ and Christ alone. And that should be the only thing that matters. I think we get so caught up in what will heaven be like and who will get in that we in a large way make heaven out to be an idol. We make heaven into a false god. Chew on that.
Why does one minister to people. To get them into heaven? To keep them from hell? Or to SHOW them that God is love and that there is nothing you can do to escape it. To show them the joy that you have found in living for God. To show them the best relationship they could ever experience.
My biggest issue with “Love Wins” was that in a way it seemed as though Rob Bell was saying that there isn’t a “place” called Hell. And maybe he is saying that but after some research and discussion I don’t think he’s saying that at all. I got irked by the fact that whenever he was asked about the place Hell, he avoided the question in some sorts. Then I realized…it…doesn’t…matter. He dodged the questions because it’s not important. He dodged the questions because it’s not what we need to be worrying about. Who cares what hell is like and who for that matter cares what heaven is like. It’s not what matters. I care, what God is like. Life is not about living a life good enough to get into heaven. It’s about sharing the love of God to the world. It’s about bringing this view we have of Heaven and putting it here on Earth. “Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.” We need to make the most of the life we have. But not out of fear of hell or the desire for heaven but to bring GOD glory. Heaven is a gift. Better to give than to recieve.
My friend Trevor and I talked today about many things in this book and many things Rob Bell. We both stumbled upon an interesting point that we then later realized is in a way in the book “Love Wins”. What we concluded was if what we should be worried about was getting into heaven, why isn’t there a clear definition of how to get in? If heaven is what was so important why doesn’t the Bible tell us EXACTLY how to get in. If we knew exactly how to get into heaven that is ALL we would ever teach. As christians as church goers we would more than likely ONLY focus on that.
Think of the florida FCAT. The reason so many students struggle in school nowadays is because they are taught the bare minimum so that their school can make a good grade on the FCAT and the school can get a nice paycheck. SO MANY schools only teach the FCAT and miss out on teaching the other MORE important things that kids need to be learning. That test if done right get’s the school money. And the schools know this. Therefore all they teach is the test. And the student misses out.
This is what I think would happen if we knew how to get into heaven. We would only focus on that and miss out on the more important messages of the Bible.
God did not come down in the flesh to teach us how to get into heaven. He came down to tell us how to please him. How to love unconditionally. How to share this love. God is love. The bible does not give us any guidlines SPECIFICALLY on how to get into heaven. What it does tell you time and time again is how to please God. How to live life like he wants you to, how you are supposed to live it. We live to bring glory to God.
What good does focussing on Heaven and Hell actually bring us. In the end we have absolutely NO say in who get’s in to either. Who are we to say “Oh I deserve to be in Heaven.” There are specific guidelines and countless rules on how we should live life and as far as I’ve checked not a soul on this planet follows them all. We all sin. We all deserve death. Who are we to say we are worthy of God’s gift.
That’s the best part about it. God made the decision for us. He sent his only son to die for those sins. To give our life meaning.
Love. The Bible says that this is the single most important thing you can do. Out of the ENTIRE Bible. THAT BIG HUGE GIGANTIC book that you know you should read but instead picks up dust. It says the most important rule. Is to love the Lord. and the second he said is to love your neighbour.
Love the Lord and our neighbours is the most important thing. The thing we should all be focused on. Not “here’s what you need to do to get into heaven or to stay out of hell.”
I’m going to give you my theories on Heaven and Hell even though by doing so I am completely contradicting what I’ve written above.
I believe in Heaven being somewhere else right now. Rob Bell’s theory is that one day Heaven will be on Earth. I like that but I will neither confirm or deny it cause there is simply no actual evidence to back that up. I agree however that we should prepare this world for the situation of heaven on earth BECAUSE it does no harm and brings God glory. Make this world the BEST VERSION it could possibly be. We do way too much to screw up this planet and it’s inhabitants. If we bring Heaven to Earth. Maybe we in turn will be like Jesus and “show the way.” (Song reference? Anyone?) Rid ourselves of all emotions we know don’t belong in heaven. We know what it is we are supposed to do. Why that heck is it so hard to do what we are told? I know EXACTLY what I’m supposed to do but the world sure does make it hard. And in that sentance right there, is proof that Satan has done a dang good job at warping us.
Hell. I believe in Hell. Is it under the Earth? Who the heck knows. Is it below? I think theres enough evidence to assume that. Is it a hot firey place where those who lack faith burn forever? Maybe. But I think Rob Bell raises a good point. Do you believe in a loving God that would commit those who never had a chance of hearing about Jesus to burn in Hell forever. Which raises another question. Is this life the ONLY opportunity we get to hear about Jesus? The Bible states that everyone has had a chance to hear the Gospel. So maybe after death many are given the option to confirm or deny. God will melt the hardest of hearts. You apparently confront Jesus before entering Hell. I have physically felt the love of God. I can tell you right now when experiencing THAT MUCH peace, it is a terryfing thing. It scared me. Trust me when I say seeing the Son of God, being in his presence would be more than enough to change any doubt that you have ever had. In that moment I think you would believe. Just seeing. Do you think that if you changed your belief God/Jesus would say “sorry too late?” I’m not sure that I believe that but who am I to say so. I believe that everyone will be given an actual choice based on knowledge. I believe those that experience Jesus and yet STILL deny him are the ones that will be condemed to Hell.
But is Hell permanent? Or is it a time-out until you realize that you made a huge mistake? Obviously I have no idea. Maybe I have no right to say it but where is the love in a permanent hell?
Some people believe that we live in Hell right now. Earth is Hell. I don’t know about that but if you believe that Heaven can be on Earth couldn’t Hell? To get crazy on that: Perhaps there is a battle for Earth going on. Hell vs. Heaven and the trophy is Earth. I know at somepoint in my life I’ve been taught that after God comes and takes us to the new heaven Earth will become Hell. I think that’s the plot of “Constantine” don’t really remember haha. Rob Bell believes that God will come down and one day Earth will be heaven. So…take these two theories and combine them. You have the superbowl for the Earth trophy.
As Rob bell states love at it’s core is freedom. If God was to get involved with what we do or believe that would be taking away our freedom and breaking the rule of what love actually is. I can agree with that but now we have our threat. If God is Love and love is freedom then Satan is……yep. I’m going to show you something because it is the most clear form of a theory that I have.
It is a scene from the final season of LOST. And yes it is a huge spoiler so If you are afraid to watch it I will recap without spoilers.
The situation is God and the Devil. God wants us to realize that we can all be good. That we can all experience heaven on Earth that we can all live with nothing but PEACE. But how can we figure that out for ourselves, how do we learn that if he forces us to see it? Thus he gives us free will and stays out of that decision. The Devil however knows that we all can be corrupted and will do whatever it takes to keep us from realizing that we can all overcome evil. The Devil does this by creating obstacles to put us off track. To hide God. To make us question his existance. Satan does not hold back he fights. He get’s involved and he get’s dirty.
It is our job to overcome that corruption. We are all capable of it. And I believe we are capable of it on our own without the assistance of God. “It’s all meaningless if I have to step in” It’s those constant gut feelings we get when we are about to do something wrong. (One could argue those gut feelings are God hahaha) We could resist it. But we choose not to time and time again. Thus Satan wins. The character in the clip says “if you don’t get involved, He will.” The reply is “If I don’t want to get involved, maybe you can.”
Thus a disciple is born. To show the good of God in a dark world. To do God’s work on Earth. To show the world we can overcome evil. Which brings us back to the original point.
What ultimately matters about our life?
Love matters. To LOVE everything. To make the world a better place. To share love with anything and everything.
In doing this you bring glory to God. In doing this you have done life right.