Perhaps mankind’s greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. For this reason it is reasonable to say that life after death is not a normal dinner conversation among most families. With this in mind, it seems a bit odd that throughout the 2000 pages of God’s inspired word, more is not said about this issue. Do humans not deserve to know what to expect from the future? Why is it that more clear detail is not given about heaven and hell?

One of many reasons mankind is so often confused about this issue is that we simply could never fully comprehend heaven or hell. It would be impossible to get an unborn baby to fully understand life after birth; likewise, it is impossible for us to understand life after death. However, the Bible certainly does mention many aspects about heaven and hell which humans seemingly can comprehend. For instance, in heaven “there will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow” (Revelation 21:4), and the other end, he “shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42).

Obviously there are many more passages mentioned about life after death, but Christians must be careful of how these passages are interpreted. Because humans cannot truly comprehend life after death, human language is used to describe our future; however, it is incredibly dangerous to use human language to describe something spiritual. Far too often, people take these passages as being completely literal which can humanize God’s plan for us. The popular hymn “Mansion over the Hilltop” is a great example of this. The way we make it sound is that if we don’t get the best mansions, robes, and crowns God can make then we will not be happy. In singing the song it is so easy to forget about the fact that our mansion is not important, what is important is that we will be in God’s presence for eternity.

Obviously there are some difficulties in interpreting God’s plan for life after death. Nevertheless, he does tell us what to do to spend eternity with him. In the process of giving our lives to him through baptism and the way we live, we may not understand heaven completely, but if it is good enough for the creator of the universe, I am certain it will be good enough for the rest of us!

Clay Smith

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