See You In Hell
There are people who don't believe that there is any form of afterlife, heaven or hell, this life is it and after that we are just gone. We can romanticize our bodies returning back to nature or even ultimately returning to the stars, but those people believe that there is nothing after. I see two responses to this way of thinking, it's the YOLO thinking. One group of people just do whatever they want, you only live once right? So they seize the day and live in reckless abandon. The other group says you only live once and decides to try to be the best person they can be. It’s not about experiencing everything but about leaving the world better than they found it. By doing that they will be remembered after they are no more.
There are some who do believe in heaven but believe our ideas about an eternal punishment are not compatible with our ideas about God (there are a lot of ‘ours’ in there which makes me think it might be a little short sighted). One article I read said we don't deserve hell at all and there isn't anything to worry about. Others believe that people who don't go to heaven are annihilated, aka they cease to exist or are totally destroyed. John 3:16 promises those who believe in Jesus eternal life so annihilationism, or conditional immortality, proposes those who don't believe do not receive any form of immortality, even if it's eternal punishment.
I’d rather be annihilated.
Nihilism is good for when you want to seem cool for having no interests or ambitions.— Existential Comics (@existentialcoms) May 18, 2016
When I told my friends at Empty Church that I was going to write about how I wanted to be annihilated they all kind of gave me this surprised, “what are you talking about” look. Sarah went from “why” to “never mind, I’ll read your blog.” And what I meant was that I think nothing happening after death is easier than heaven and hell. Kristal often expresses the opinion that the idea of heaven helps people with the uncertainty of death and hell is used to keep people in line. I see where she is coming from but it just doesn't apply to me. In my mind, life would be easier to live without an afterlife. If there is an afterlife then there is a God and then everything does matter. For my philosophical mind that is always in the tension between existentialism and nihilism, if there is nothing else, I think life would be easier. I believe my problem is that everything seems to matter TOO much and the idea of nothing mattering is very appealing to me, but it doesn't work that way. It comes down to responsibility. I don't want to have to be responsible for actions I know are wrong and displeasing to God, but I am. There is a kind of freedom in the idea that after I die nothing happens, but there also is a meaninglessness that goes along with it that drives people mad. There are many brilliant philosophers who detached themselves from God and, by proxy, responsibility and then they found life to be meaningless. Freedom from God gives us the appearance of freedom from responsibility and, when taken to its farthest end, leads us to be devoid of meaning. People want to live in the in-between with meaning but no responsibilities and it doesn't work that way. If God doesn't exist, if everyone goes to heaven, or if people who ‘go to hell’ just cease to exist, there seems to be less responsibility for our actions. And it’s all a lie.
Facing God is scary.
God is very much real. Heaven and hell are both very real places.
So no wonder no one wants to face God if He will actually judge people. Think of all the things we don't want people to know about, all the things we know we shouldn't do, and all the ways we are hard on ourselves… then put the perfect judge in the picture, that's not something I even want to think about! Josh has said the quote "no one wants to be judged and found wanting," which is a take on Daniel 5:27, "you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting." People don't want to be judged unless they are found favorable and the possibility of hell means the possibility of being found lacking.
Do I think God is saving us from Himself? Yes and No. Sure God created everything knowing that if He allowed us to make choices that we would need saving. In that way then yes God is saving us from Himself. Yet, we have the choice! This is all very hard to reason around. If God did not create us because He knew what we would choose then He made the choice for us, but the same can be said for the opposite. Just one of them we wouldn’t be complaining because we wouldn’t exist. I have to believe in God according to the attributes that the Bible says He has and based on those attributes I have to believe that everything God does is just, good, and loving.
Will we see each other in hell?
I more than hope not, I pray we won’t. If people knew what hell really was no one would want to go there or make jokes about it (sorry about my title). I don't want to go there and I don't want anyone else to go their either; not even the most hated person. This is really important to me. I believe we have done wrong things that, when compared to God who is the perfect judge, means we deserve hell. God is also good and merciful which is why He sent Jesus to give us a chance to be reconciled with Him. Romans 10:9 says “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I have to believe that this is true but on that same thought I have to say that it is not just some fuzzy feeling of “oh, I love Jesus.” Really believing means that things start changing. We won’t be perfect and everything won’t happen at once but I believe that to really believe means there will be some kind of fundamental shift in who we are. If you have questions about what this all means, please don't hesitate to contact someone here at Empty Church or a local church.
I pray we are together with God in paradise.