Saturday 28 October 2023

Heaven is a choice, not a reward

I am very dismayed when (which is often, usual) I come across Christians who conceptualize Heaven in terms of a reward of some sort, and God as some sort of spiritual examiner - allocating salvation on the basis of performance. 

And threaten the agents of evil with exclusion from Heaven; or express delight at the misery to be caused by their exclusion.*

This asserted scheme is a terrible, false, and deeply aversive misrepresentation. 

The reality of the situation is - surely? - much better expressed by presenting Heaven as a choice? 

To enter Heaven is a choice - and, because Heaven is a situation utterly without evil (or else it would not be Heaven) - to exercise that choice entails leaving behind all this is evil in us... 

Discarding at the porch all that is evil; heaping each and all of our sins and defects "in a pile on the doorstep"; before proceeding through the gates of resurrection, and on to Heaven. 

Anyone can enter Heaven who wishes to do so - so long as he will pay the price of admission; and everyone capable of wanting Heaven is capable of paying the price of admission - because that price is (simply) to disarm himself of all that is not-Good. 

Those who insist on holding-onto their sins, are denied admission whether they want Heaven or not - which is a simple matter of coherence, because insofar as they 'want' Heaven, those who will Not discard-repent all their sins have decided that (in fact) they want their sin/s more than they want Heaven. 

But that reality is not well expressed in terms of God's allocating places in Heaven, and each Man being brought to the bar of God's judgment'. 

We choose or reject Heaven and what is needful to become a part of Heaven; we are not barred from Heaven by anything except our own choice.  

In a salvation-focused sense; all our mortal life can be boiled-down to that point on the threshold of Heaven when we decide whether irrevocably to allow our-selves to be made-Good... or Not.  

But, it is a choice

Jesus came to give us this chance, to offer the gift of Heaven. Whether we take that chance, and accept that gift, is up to each-of-us. 

*Rhetorically speaking, this is actually counterproductive. The majority of unbelievers regard such threats as a lame joke made by pathetic losers. And, more generally, those who do not go to Heaven overwhelmingly don't want to go to Heaven - are repulsed or bored by the whole idea of Heaven. So there is not much reason to suppose they will regret being "somewhere else" - at least, not at first.    


Ann K. said...

Indeed! That is one difference between Eastern Orthodoxy and the schismatics who came later.
We believe Heaven is ontological.
If we reject Beauty and Truth and Life in the present day, then it will seem hellish to realize that “God is everywhere present and fillest all things” even in our eternal lives when we are forever in His presence.

Francis Berger said...

" And you don't get to choose to follow Christ. The Father does."

If that is true, then I suppose it's safe to say that the Father doesn't seem all that interested in "drawing" people to Jesus anymore.

Nor does He seem all too keen on granting people the desire for salvation or Heaven. To put it bluntly, God no longer appears to be in a "gift-giving" mood.

In light of this, we can't really fault people for not wanting Heaven. I mean, it's not like they ever really had a choice in the matter.