Heaven Is Where God Is
Part 2 of "Why Would A Loving God Send Anyone to Hell?"
In my previous article, Why Would A Loving God Send Anyone to Hell?, I spoke of how Emanuel Swedenborg, an 18th century scientist and theologian, explains in his book Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell, that it is not God who sends anyone to hell, but we send ourselves to hell because of the true intentions of our heart.
To understand better, consider this:
Heaven is where God is.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, humankind chose to walk his own way. Away from God and into the Darkness. Imagine a Sea of Darkness, where you cannot see anything. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were in God’s Light, but their disobedience, their decision to go their own way, sent all of humankind away from God's Light and into the Darkness.
And that Darkness is Hell, where God is not.
Jesus refers to it as "...the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matthew 25:30b
Hell is that immense, all encompassing Darkness, where there is cold, fear, suffering, misery, pain and death. Why? Because God is not there.
Before Jesus, the world was already in Darkness and there was no hope. When Jesus came to earth and lived, His Light arrived and His Light was among us. And when He sacrificed Himself for us, He made a way possible for us to get out of the Darkness and join Him back to His Love, in Heaven. He gave us a chance for salvation, to escape. We could now return to God, return to His Light.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. -John 1:1-10
Swedenborg explains that God is as the sun in the midst of darkness. When we seek Him, we face towards His Light, but when we go our own way, we turn our back to Him, facing the darkness away from Him. The closer we move to God, the Light, the more He encompasses us. Our eyes brighten, we start to understand, we see His Kingdom and His beauty unfolds before us. The colors, the warmth…the Love. That is as the Light of Jesus Christ.
For those who decide not to follow God, the more we go our own way, the further we move from the Light into the Outer Darkness. Like anything, the more we do something, the more we take comfort in it. That is why so many in the dark, do so little to get out of it. They DON'T want to change. Even those who are in misery, suffering, frustration and pain, find comfort in the same darkness that plagues them. Like a complaining person who is never happy. When something wonderful happens, they still try to find its faults, so they can stay miserable. They were miserable in this life and they will be miserable in the next because they have chosen it.
We were already in the Dark before Christ, and now that He is here, we can be saved. We can follow Jesus out of the vast darkness. Yet so many still choose to stay in the Dark.
Like a lost person floating in the harsh sea, a Lifeboat has appeared and is within our reach, but rather than swimming towards it, so many just let it go by and eventually drown.
So when one asks, "Why would a loving God send anyone to hell?"
He doesn’t. His Light is always there for those who want to seek it. But so many turn away from Him. They see Him and acknowledge Him, but they are not interested. And some expect a loving God to send them to heaven because He is all loving. Well yes, God loves EVERYONE absolutely. But love is also RECIPROCAL. We all know that you cannot love someone who doesn't want to be loved. All of us at some time in our lives has loved someone who didn't want to return our love and as time proves...it takes TWO to be in a relationship. It takes TWO to LOVE.
And the reason the unsaved cannot be in heaven is like trying to mix oil and water. The two don't mix. They are completely polar opposites. Sin cannot coexist with God and Heaven is where God is.
But "Why did God even create Hell?"
When one leaves God, he has chosen to go where God is not. Swedenborg explains, that throughout God’s creation there are always two ends of the spectrum, polar opposites. East and West, Light & Dark, Hot & Cold, Day & Night, Noon and Midnight, Good & Evil, Love & Hate.
This also applies to people. There are happy, positive, loving, kind, gentle, humble, joyful, giving and blessed people. And their opposites are sad, negative, hateful, cruel, harsh, proud, angry, selfish and miserable people.
And so there cannot be a Heaven without it’s polar opposite…Hell.
Heaven, the place where God is and Hell, the place where God is absent; the place where people who want nothing to do with God, will send themselves. The outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But the reason why Hell is a place of torment, torture, pain and sorrow is because everything that is good is of God. Love, joy and peace are all fruits of God's Spirit. But in Hell, these cannot to be found, because God is not there.
Our time on earth is between Heaven and Hell. For now we are between the two. This is our time to make a choice in everything we think, feel, say and do, as we live among the good and the bad.
We hear good news and bad news. We know saintly people and evil people. We experience love and hate. We have times of joy and times of sorrow. And we have the choice to align ourselves with either good things or bad things.
But after this, the earth will pass and Heaven and Hell will be separated from each other, and all those who love God will be in Heaven and all those who do not love God send themselves to Hell.
For those who don’t know God and whose lives may be filled with trouble, unhappiness and frustration, if they do not seek God, they will get more of the same, but worse, because in Hell, all of God’s love and goodness that has balanced out the world will be GONE, and only evil is left.
In this life, Jesus counters the world's hate with His Love. His kindness counters the world's cruelty. And His forgiveness counters the world's condemnation. Peace, love, joy, friendship, community, trust, honor, etc. are all blessings associated with God.
In Hell, God's Holy Spirit will not be there, so there can be no love, no joy, no peace, but all things that are the opposite of God: turmoil, hatred, fear, violence, loneliness, isolation, distrust, etc.
The good and the bad cannot co-exist. They must be separated.
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” - Matthew 13:24-30
And so when we choose Jesus and choose His ways, we choose the Light and we are wherever God is. And when we die, we will be with Him in Heaven, because wherever God is...so is Heaven. Without God there is no Heaven. God is Heaven. Full of Light, full of Color, full of Glory, full of Love.
Just like the metaphor of a person with a tiny devil on one shoulder and a tiny angel on the other, we all have a choice to follow God or follow the Devil in this life.
God gave us free choice, so that our love for Him will be true. He does not force us to love and follow Him against our will.
For those people who don’t know God and don’t want to know God, and don’t want God telling them what to do, after death, they will be away from God, just as they wanted. They are sending themself away from God and into the impenetrable Outer Darkness.
Today’s society celebrates narcissism, self-centeredness and going your own way. We understand that choice is what empowers us, but so many choose the path to death. When we embrace hatred, fear, anger, worldliness, we do not live in God's Light, but in Darkness.
Each time we take a step towards selfishness, we step further away from God's heart. And there comes a point where we won’t even wrestle with what is good or bad. We just do what ever we want and don't care about the ramifications or consequences of our actions.
After our death, we will go where we belong, whether with God and His angels in Heaven or with the Devil and his demons in Hell.
And though everyone is invited, only those who are dressed in the truth and righteousness of God can be in Heaven - Matthew 22: 1-14.
For those who choose the Lord, Jesus asks us to live in His Light, love, kindness, forgiveness, generosity and blessing. All the things of God that people in the world find so boring. This is the way that His people are to live…in LOVE. When our heart agrees with Him and we live as He lives, we are in His Light. We have chosen the Light.
So many think that if we just have faith and believe in God, we will go to Heaven. But our faith must be so great that it alters our heart and changes the way we think, feel and live. It's not enough to just say you are a Christian but then not live the Life.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. - 1 John 1:5-7
There are many who profess to be Christians, but live as if they don't know God. They think only of themselves, don't have love, don't care for anyone else and then use God's name to curse and send others to hell, when in fact, they are the ones who are cursed, because they have used God's name to repel others from Him instead of bringing them to Him through Love. What so many don't understand is that their very nature is what disqualifies them from Heaven. They are not loving people, yet want to be in a place with God's love.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ - Matthew 7:21-23
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. - Revelations 3:15,16
There are so many people who have never sought God or tried to form a relationship with Him. Yet somehow, they think that they might be in Heaven when their time comes.
It is like people who want to live in a big, rich mansion estate surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains, yet never try to get to know, fellowship or befriend the owner. Neither do they want to work or pay for it. They just want to live in Heaven, without it costing them anything. Well, it ain’t gonna happen.
Rather we are invited to live in the beautiful mansion because our Father owns the mansion. We don’t deserve it, we didn’t work for it, but we inherit it because we have been adopted into His family and are now His children.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” - John 14:1-4
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” - Romans 8:15
Heaven is not a reward for being good. You can be the nicest, most moral person in the world, but if you don't know God, you won't be with Him later. Salvation is a gift to those who are in relationship with God. Because of His gift, we go wherever He goes, and wherever God is, there is Heaven.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." - Ephesians 2:8,9
Swedenborg refers to this relationship as a partnership with God. We partner with Him in our journey through this life. We talk to Him, listen to Him and He teaches us His ways of Love. In this partnership, He connects with our hearts and we draw closer to Him. Our hearts become more Christ-like and when we follow Him, we do as He does and live in God’s Love.
And though Christians may be NO BETTER at being good than our non-believing brethren (and sometimes even worse), it is our partnership, our agreement with God that changes everything. When we accepted Christ, Jesus pardoned our sins. Our confession that we need Him brings about forgiveness, along with our promise to do better. Our partnership. Our acceptance that we have failed and that Jesus is the way is the faith that grants us grace and forgiveness.
So though none of us will ever be perfect, I encourage all brothers and sisters in the Lord to seek Him out every day, reflect on Him, purify your heart and follow the Lord wherever He goes, in every thought, word, action and reaction.
And for those who don't know God. I encourage you to seek Jesus Christ, because He is the Door that leads to Eternal Life and in Him is Salvation and if you knock on that Door, He will answer.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me. - Revelations 3:20
I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. - John 10:9
© 2015 Edrick
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