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Christian author Ray Comfort may have a point when he says atheists know there is a God.
In his book: “You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can’t Make Him Think“ (WND Books, 2009), Comfort said, “We don’t have to prove that God exists to the professing atheist. This is because he intuitively knows that He exists. Every person has a God-given conscience. The Bible tells us that this is the ‘work of the law written on their hearts’.”
Just as every sane human knows it’s wrong to lie, steal, kill, and commit adultery, Comfort says, they also know that God should be first in their life.
Comfort’s reasoning is this: People don’t fight against something that doesn’t exist, or something they don’t believe exists.
That’s why you don’t see groups rising up to fight against the tooth fairy. You don’t see professors in universities ridiculing the existence of Santa Claus. You don’t see organizations mobilizing troops to denounce werewolves, bunyips, or leprechauns.
What’s different with atheists?
So what’s different in the atheist’s brain? If God doesn’t exist, why do atheists such as Richard Dawkins care so passionately that some people believe in Him? Why do they bother writing books against the existence of God? Or waste time preparing videos for YouTube that ridicule God? Or fund ads on the side of London buses?
In fact, why do atheists bother acknowledging that people believe in God at all? People believe all sorts of ridiculous things that atheists don’t care about, so why does it matter to them if one of those things is God?
Interestingly, the Bible gives some answers to this.
Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” Atheists may be brilliant scholars or academics. They may be wonderful inventors, surgeons, or scientists. But if they say there is no God they are declaring themselves fools in spiritual matters. This is why atheism is sometimes called the fool’s philosophy.
The Apostle Paul pointed out in Romans 2:15 that God has written intuitive knowledge of His law in our human conscience. In a wonderful passage in Romans 1:20 he says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
There is abundant evidence of God’s handiwork written on our conscience and in nature all around us, and there is no excuse for not recognizing God’s work in this.
Justifying our actions
So, what is at the core of the atheist’s concern?
As sinful humans, we have an amazing tendency to try to justify our actions. This is something that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. We do something stupid and try to invent plausible reasons why we did it. Sometimes this is to fool others; sometimes it is to convince ourselves that we are not as stupid as our actions indicate.
Sometimes people who have taken a strong point of view on something wrong think it is their duty to get others on side, because there is safety in numbers. This is how cults form, and how dictators get away with murder.
If atheists know in their hearts that there really is a God, but they don’t want to be accountable to God for their actions, then it starts to make sense why they try so hard to convince others that God doesn’t exist.
This also explains why no-one bothers speaking out against belief in mermaids, pixies, and werewolves. People do not have the truth of these mythical creatures written in their hearts or on their conscience. Nor does nature declare anything about the majesty and power of leprechauns or hobgoblins.
So atheists must know intuitively that God exists. They just want to convince themselves and others that He doesn’t exist because if He does it means they have made the worst decision of their lives to reject Him. And that has eternal consequences that are too horrible for them to contemplate.
God wants us to come to Him. He offers salvation to all, and has given two magnificent evidences of Himself. One is the overwhelming evidence of His physical creation all around us, and the other is the imprint of His existence in our conscience.
There should be no atheists. The fact that there are shows human rebellion and arrogance — not an intellectual discovery
Atheism is, essentially, a negative position. It is not believing in a god or actively believing there is no God or choosing to not exercise any belief or non-belief concerning God, etc. Whichever flavor is given to atheism, it is a negative position.
In discussions with atheists, I don’t hear any evidence for the validity of atheism. There are no “proofs” that God does not exist in atheist circles, at least, none that I have heard, especially since you can’t prove a negative regarding the existence of God. Of course, that isn’t to say that atheists haven’t attempted to offer some proofs that God does not exist. But their attempted proofs are invariably insufficient. After all, how do you prove there is no God in the universe? How do you prove that in all places and all times there is no God? You can’t. Besides, if there was proof of God’s non-existence, then atheists would be continually using it. But we don’t hear of any such commonly held proof supporting atheism or denying the existence of God. The atheist position is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove since it is an attempt to prove a negative. Therefore, since there are no proofs for atheism’s truth and there are no proofs that there is no God, the atheist must hold his position by faith.
Faith, however, is not something atheists like to claim as the basis of adhering to atheism. Therefore, atheists must go on the attack and negate any evidences presented for God’s existence in order to give intellectual credence to their position. If they can create an evidential vacuum in which no theistic argument can survive, their position can be seen as more intellectually viable. It is in the negation of theistic proofs and evidences that atheism brings its self-justification to self-proclaimed life.
There is, however, only one way that atheism is intellectually defensible and that is in the abstract realm of simple possibility. In other words, the atheist would have to propose that it may be possible that there is no God. But stating that something is possible doesn’t mean that it is a reality or that it is wise to adopt the position. If I said that it is possible that there is an ice cream factory on Jupiter, does that make it intellectually defensible or a position worth adopting merely because it is a possibility? Not at all. Simply claiming a possibility based on nothing more than it being a possible option–no matter how remote–is not sufficient grounds for atheists to claim viability in their atheism. They must come up with more than “It is possible,” or “There is no evidence for God,” otherwise, there really must be an ice cream factory on Jupiter, and the atheist should step up on the band wagon and start defending the position that Jupiterian ice cream exists.
At least we Christians have evidences for God’s existence, such as fulfilled Biblical prophecy, Jesus’ resurrection, the Transcendental Argument, the entropy problem, etc.
There is another problem for atheists. Refuting evidences for the existence of God does not prove atheism true anymore than refuting an eyewitness testimony of a marriage denies the reality of the marriage. Since atheism cannot be proven and since disproving evidences for God does not prove there is no God, atheists have a position that is intellectually indefensible. At best, atheists can only say there are no convincing evidences for God that have been presented so far. They cannot say there are no evidences for God because the atheist cannot know all evidences that possibly exist in the world. At best, the atheist can only say that the evidence presented so far has been insufficient. This logically means that there could be evidences presented in the future that will suffice. The atheist must acknowledge that there may indeed be a proof that has been undiscovered and that the existence of God is possible. This would make the atheist more of an agnostic since at best the atheist can only be skeptical of God’s existence.
This is why atheists need to attack Christianity. It is because Christianity makes very high claims concerning God’s existence, which challenges their atheism and pokes holes in their vacuum. They like the vacuum. They like having the universe with only one god in it: themselves.
Some might think that atheists would be content with simply not believing in God and leave the theists to themselves. After all, if God doesn’t exist, then what’s the big deal? Why not let the theists believe in God the way a child believes in the tooth fairy? To the atheist, neither exists. So why bother?
Even though many atheists don’t care if people believe in God or not, others feel obligated to fight what I have often heard them label as “oppressive religious bigotry.” To this end, many of them are active in politics, social groups, the internet, and even use lawsuits to change society into a more atheistic temperament. They often consider Christians as a threat to freedom, common sense, and a good life. Consider this quote I found on an atheist website at atheists.org:
“We are constantly being overrun by people trying to get their ticket to Heaven at our expense, and if we don’t stand up and be counted we will lose the very freedom we hold most dear; freedom of thought . . . “
This kind of statement is quite common in atheist circles. It is inflammatory, illogical, and paranoid. Many atheists I’ve spoken to tell me that I cannot think logically and am deluded and that I believe in myths. They tell me that I am bound by foolish antiquated beliefs and that I need to abandon my religious bigotry and become a “free thinker” like them. In other words, they don’t want me to think the way I do.
Additionally, after reading much atheist material and debating with them over the internet, I’ve discovered they often use mockery of God, religious leaders, and the Bible as weapons to further their agenda. This isn’t the case with all atheists as I have had very good conversations with some of them, but ridiculing attitudes are surprisingly prevalent and strong. Character assassination, half-truths, and out-of-context Bible quotes are typical tools used by many of them in attempts to make Christianity look bad.
Now, I am not trying to dismantle the atheist position with a generic character attack aimed at them. I am only making an observation. In the majority of my dealings with atheists, I have encountered great arrogance, rudeness, and condescension. Atheists have told me that religion is only a giant con-game designed to get peoples’ money and that clergymen are in business for themselves and that I was mentally ill for believing in God. Following are some of their comments:
- “I do not want to be bound to archaic mythologies.This is the 21st century.”
- “Christianity is an oppressive system used to control and manipulate people.”
- “Logic demands that religion be proven wrong.”
- “Christians should all be in mental wards.”
- “We are free thinkers and not bound by outdated and oppressive myths.”
- “Christians are sycophantic sheep.”
Atheists often imply that reason is best used by them and not by Christians who, as many say, need psychological help for believing in God. This condescending attitude is a fountain for derogatory comments. I have been called stupid, absurd, illogical, and a slave to my religion. I get the impression from atheists that they are so convinced they have the truth that no other options are available to them and that if you don’t agree with them that you’re not smart. Of course, they will deny this and say I am being ridiculous, but this is what I have observed–right or wrong.
Consider some of the terms atheists use to describe themselves: “Free thinkers,” “Free from religion,” “Rational,” etc. They use these self-descriptive terms in juxtaposition to statements of Christians as religious bigots, losers, and brainwashers. On the atheist.org website I read,
“Critical thinking, objectivity, scientific methodology, and peer review are all hallmarks of Atheism. Submission, fear, credulity, and insupportable claims are the hallmarks of religious belief.”
When I read statements like this, I cannot help wondering which religion to which they are referring. It can’t be Christianity because the Bible teaches us to love God and love our fellow man. It teaches that the fear of the Lord is wisdom and that truthfulness is a way of life and that eyewitness accounts of the miraculous is one of the evidences for its validity. Of course, the atheist would argue with all of this because he must in spite of the facts. But still, if an atheist wants to attack religion in general and Christianity specifically, he should, at least, do so objectively. But this doesn’t seem to be the hallmark of the atheistic movement–at least not from what I’ve seen so far.
Matt Slick considers the following statements from Atheists:
- “Godism is consistent with crime, cruelty, envy, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness.”
- “As long as religious purposes are served, ethics, inquiry and reason are abandoned.”
Are these the statements of tolerance, impartiality, truth, and sound judgment? Not at all. It seems to me that if the atheists who authored the above quotes were in power with their views of religion being cruel, evil, and unreasonable, would they then either imprison the “offenders” or legislate complete and total annihilation of all things religious? Who would then be full of hatred, malice, and bigotry? It is something to ponder. Does atheism really teach freedom? No. It teaches bondage for its adherents and for those who disagree with it.
Before we can discuss atheism, we need to define it. According to an official atheism website, atheists define themselves this way: “Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.” Those who identify as atheists prefer to emphasize their lack of belief rather than the refusal to believe. They consider atheism to be intellectually superior to faith in God. However, this definition clashes with the biblical worldview, which states, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Since atheists can agree with people of faith that every human being has the freedom to choose what he or she thinks or believes, we will define atheism here as the choice to disbelieve in any kind of Supreme Being to which mankind is accountable.
Statistics show that atheism is on the rise in countries that have historically had a strong Christian influence. These statistics include those raised in godless homes, but they also show an alarming increase among those who once held to some form of religious faith. When we hear of a prominent figure in Christianity renouncing the faith he or she used to claim, we are left wondering, “Why?” Why would so many people stop believing in God when His handiwork is everywhere (Psalm 19:1; 97:6; Romans 1:20)? Every culture on earth recognizes some form of deity, so why are so many people claiming they do not believe in any god at all?
There are several reasons people may define themselves as atheists. The first is ignorance. Due to lack of correct information, a person may conclude that nothing exists beyond this universe and man’s experience of it. Since there remains a great deal we do not know, ignorance often invents ideas to fill in the blanks. This often results in either false religions or atheism. Sketchy information about God is often tainted by mythology or religious superstition to the extent that anything supernatural sounds like a fairy tale. Exposed to a mishmash of confusing claims, some people decide there is no truth to any of it and throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Disillusionment is another reason some people become atheists. Due to negative experiences, such as having a prayer go unanswered or seeing hypocritical behavior in others, a person may conclude that God does not exist. This response is often fueled by anger or hurt. These people reason that, if God existed, He would behave in ways they could comprehend or agree with. Since He did not respond the way they wanted Him to, they conclude that He must not exist at all. They may stumble over complicated concepts such as hell, Old Testament genocide, or eternity and conclude the God of the Bible is too confusing to be real. Disillusionment propels people to find comfort in what is seen and known, rather than an invisible deity. To avoid the possibility of more disappointment, they abandon any attempt at faith and find a measure of comfort in deciding that God simply does not exist.
Closely linked to the disillusioned are those who call themselves “atheists” when, in fact, they are anti-God. Atheist is a label some hide behind to mask a deep hatred toward God. Often due to childhood trauma or abuse in the name of religion, these people are consumed by an antipathy toward all things religious. The only way they can retaliate against a God they consider cruel is to deny Him vehemently. Events of the past have left wounds so deep that it is easier to deny the reality of God than admit that they hate Him. True atheists would not include this group in their numbers, as they recognize that to be angry with God is to acknowledge His existence. But many people do, in fact, call themselves atheists while simultaneously expressing outrage toward a God whose existence they deny.
Still others reject the idea of God because they want Him to be easier to find. When well-known atheist Richard Dawkins was asked, “What would you say if you faced God after death?” he responded, “I would say to Him, ‘Why did you take such great pains to conceal yourself?’” Some people frown at the fact that God is Spirit, invisible, and found only through faith (Hebrews 11:6; Jeremiah 29:13). They adopt the attitude that the Creator of the universe owes them evidence of His existence beyond what He has already lavishly given (Psalm 19:1; 102:25; Romans 1:20). Jesus dealt with this mindset when He walked the earth. In Mark 8, Jesus had just fed four thousand people with a sack lunch, but the intellectual elites came to Him demanding that He perform a sign to “prove” He was the Messiah (verse11). Jesus illustrated this hardness of heart in His parable about the rich man in hell who longed to warn his brothers about what awaited them after death (Luke 16:19–31). From heaven, Abraham answered, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
The most likely explanation for the continuing rise of atheism has not changed since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6; Romans 3:23). The very essence of all sin is self-determination. By denying the existence of a Creator, atheists can do whatever they please without concern for future judgment or eternal consequences (Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5; Hebrews 4:13). In the twenty-first century, self-worship has become culturally acceptable. Atheism appeals to a generation raised on evolutionary theory and moral relativism. John 3:19 says, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” If human beings are self-created, self-determined, and self-centered, then there is no moral law or lawgiver to whom they must submit. There are no absolutes and no one to whom they are ultimately accountable. By adopting such a mindset, atheists can focus on seeking pleasure in this life alone.
As long as scientists, professors, and philosophers peddle their atheistic viewpoints as truth and wisdom, people will continue to buy it because the idea of self-determination appeals to our rebellious natures. The attitude is nothing new, but the changing cultural norms are making it more openly acceptable. Romans 1:18–31 details the results of this rejection of God’s authority. Verse 28 says, “God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” Our world is seeing the results of that depravity. What atheists call “enlightenment,” God calls foolishness. Verses 22–23 say, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” Since the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10), then the denial of the Lord (atheism) is the beginning of foolishness.
Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. It is the idea that how you live your life will determine the quality of life you will have after reincarnation. If you are unselfish, kind, and holy during this lifetime, you will be rewarded by being reincarnated (reborn into a new earthly body) into a pleasant life. However, if you live a life of selfishness and evil, you will be reincarnated into a less-than-pleasant lifestyle. In other words, you reap in the next life what you sow in this one. Karma is based on the theological belief in reincarnation. The Bible rejects the idea of reincarnation; therefore, it does not support the idea of karma.
Hebrews 9:27 states, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” This Bible verse makes clear two important points which, for Christians, negate the possibility of reincarnation and karma. First, it states that we are “destined to die once,” meaning that humans are only born once and only die once. There is no endless cycle of life and death and rebirth, an idea inherent in the reincarnation theory. Second, it states that after death we face judgment, meaning that there is no second chance, like there is in reincarnation and karma, to live a better life. You get one shot at life and living it according to God’s plan, and that is it.
The Bible talks a lot about reaping and sowing. Job 4:8 says, “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Luke 12:24 says, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” In each of these instances, as well as all the other references to reaping and sowing, the act of receiving the rewards of your actions takes place in this life, not in some future life. It is a present-day activity, and the references make it clear that the fruit you reap will be commensurate with the actions you have performed. In addition, the sowing you perform in this life will affect your reward or punishment in the afterlife.
This afterlife is not a rebirth or a reincarnation into another body here on earth. It is either eternal suffering in hell (Matthew 25:46) or eternal life in heaven with Jesus, who died so that we might live eternally with Him. This should be the focus of our life on earth. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:8-9, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Finally, we must always remember that it was Jesus whose death on the cross resulted in the reaping of eternal life for us, and that it is faith in Jesus that gives us this eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Therefore, we see that the concept of reincarnation and karma is incompatible with what the Bible teaches about life, death, and the sowing and reaping of eternal life.
People have different ideas about heaven. Many have no understanding of God at all, but still like to think of heaven as the “better place” where we all go when we die. Ideas about heaven are often no more than vague hopes, on par with “maybe I’ll win the lottery some day.” Most people don’t give heaven much thought until they attend a funeral or a loved one dies. It is popular to refer to heaven as the place where “the good people go.” And of course, everyone they know and love is included in the category of “good people.”
But the Bible has a lot to say about life after death, and it contradicts popular opinion. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Then in verse 36, Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment.” According to these verses, everyone dies, but not everyone goes to heaven (Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23; Luke 12:5; Mark 9:43). [See: Going to Heaven – how can I guarantee my eternal destination?]
God is holy and perfect. Heaven, His dwelling place, is holy and perfect, too (Psalm 68:5; Nehemiah 1:5; Revelation 11:19). According to Romans 3:10, “there is none righteous, no not one.” No human being is holy and perfect enough for heaven. The people we call “good” are not good at all compared to the sinless perfection of God. If God allowed sinful humans to enter the perfection of heaven, it would no longer be perfect. What standard should be used to determine who is “good enough?” God’s standard is the only one that counts, and He has already ruled. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” And the payment for that sin is eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
Sin has to be punished, or God is not just (2 Thessalonians 1:6). The judgment we face at death is simply God bringing our accounts up to date and passing sentence on our crimes against Him. We have no way to make our wrongs right. Our good does not outweigh our bad. One sin ruins perfection, just as one drop of arsenic in a glass of water poisons the whole glass.
So God became man and took our punishment upon Himself. Jesus was God in the flesh. He lived a sinless life of obedience to His Father (Hebrews 4:15). He had no sin, yet at the cross He took our sin and made it His own. Once He paid the price for our sin, we could be declared holy and perfect (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we confess our sin to Him and ask His forgiveness, He stamps “Paid in Full” over our life of selfishness, lust, and greed (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 1 Peter 3:18).
When we stand before God one day, we cannot beg entrance to heaven based on our own merit. We have none to offer. Compared to God’s standard of holiness, not one of us is good enough. But Jesus is, and it is by His merit we can enter heaven. First Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” The sacrifice of Jesus covers it all.
The people who go to heaven are all alike in one way: they are sinners who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9). They have recognized their need for a Savior and humbly accepted God’s offer of forgiveness. They have repented of their old ways of living and set their course to follow Christ (Mark 8:34; John 15:14). They have not attempted to earn God’s forgiveness but have served him gladly from grateful hearts (Psalm 100:2). The kind of faith that saves a soul is one that transforms a life (James 2:26; 1 John 3:9-10) and rests fully on the grace of God.
The word for “heaven” in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word shameh or shamayim, which refers to the sky, the lofty arch above the world where clouds move, and beyond that the place where exist the planets and stars. In the New Testament, the word heaven is a translation of the Greek ouranos, which means “the sky” and “the abode of God” and, by extension, “an eternal realm of happiness and glory.” The sky in its vastness is a metaphor for the vastness and loftiness of God. It is the best earthly representation of the place where God lives.
How big is heaven—how big is the place where God lives? We know that God Himself is infinite. Heaven and earth cannot contain Him. In terms of time, there is no beginning or end to His years (Psalm 102:27); in terms of His kingdom, His reign will have no end (Luke 1:33); in terms of His character, He is unchanging (Hebrews 1:12; James 1:17). God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Of God’s creation of the stars, Isaiah says, “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).
Scientists have not even been able to chart the size of the known physical universe. There is a photo called the XDF (eXtreme Deep Field) that was put together from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope over the course of ten years. It shows a vast number of galaxies, each comprising billions of stars like our sun. Our sun is 93 million miles away from the earth. And the galaxies are very, very far apart—Andromeda, the closest galaxy to our own, is 2.2 million light years away. To give an idea of how far that is, a shuttle traveling at 18,000 miles per hour would need 37,200 years to travel one light year. The universe is absolutely huge—and God created it all.
So, how big is heaven? We don’t know exactly. The Bible doesn’t give any linear measurements. When John had his vision of heaven, he wrote, “There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). So heaven is at least big enough for the innumerable multitude—and we can assume that there will be no crowding in heaven.
Heaven is a real place described in the Bible. The word “heaven” is found 276 times in the New Testament alone. Scripture refers to three heavens. The apostle Paul was “caught up to the third heaven,” but he was prohibited from revealing what he experienced there (2 Corinthians 12:1-9).
If a third heaven exists, there must also be two other heavens. The first is most frequently referred to in the Old Testament as the “sky” or the “firmament.” This is the heaven that contains clouds, the area that birds fly through. The second heaven is interstellar/outer space, which is the abode of the stars, planets, and other celestial objects (Genesis 1:14-18).
The third heaven, the location of which is not revealed, is the dwelling place of God. Jesus promised to prepare a place for true Christians in heaven (John 14:2). Heaven is also the destination of Old Testament saints who died trusting God’s promise of the Redeemer (Ephesians 4:8). Whoever believes in Christ shall never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The apostle John was privileged to see and report on the heavenly city (Revelation 21:10-27). John witnessed that heaven (the new earth) possesses the “glory of God” (Revelation 21:11), the very presence of God. Because heaven has no night and the Lord Himself is the light, the sun and moon are no longer needed (Revelation 22:5).
The city is filled with the brilliance of costly stones and crystal clear jasper. Heaven has twelve gates (Revelation 21:12) and twelve foundations (Revelation 21:14). The paradise of the Garden of Eden is restored: the river of the water of life flows freely and the tree of life is available once again, yielding fruit monthly with leaves that “heal the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2). However eloquent John was in his description of heaven, the reality of heaven is beyond the ability of finite man to describe (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Heaven is a place of “no mores.” There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4). There will be no more separation, because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). The best thing about heaven is the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). We will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loved us and sacrificed Himself so that we can enjoy His presence in heaven for eternity.
Few people object to the existence of heaven on moral grounds. The idea of a rewarding afterlife appeals to most people, particularly since most are convinced they’ll find themselves there (Matthew 7:13–14). Some disbelieve in heaven on spiritual grounds, believing instead in reincarnation or simply oblivion after death. The Bible describes a real, eternal, and aware eternity after death for all people. For those who have trusted in Christ, this state of being is without sickness, death, or pain in the presence of God (Revelation 21:1–4).
Objections to the existence of heaven, on spiritual or religious grounds, are best answered by comparing the truth claims of each faith. Such an effort is beyond the scope of this article.
A more common objection to heaven has less to do with spirituality and more to do with popular culture. Many people turn away from the idea of heaven as a land of fluffy clouds, harps, white robes, and so forth. Others dislike the idea of a never-ending church service. Neither of these views of heaven is a biblically supported concept, so correcting misconceptions is key to removing these particular objection to the existence of heaven.
The Bible affirms that heaven, defined as “the place where God dwells,” does indeed exist. In the Bible, the term heaven generally refers to areas beyond the earth. These areas can be the air, outer space, or the realm of God (often called the “highest heaven”). According to the Bible, after the return of Christ, believers will live with God in a New Jerusalem on a reformed Earth. The “heaven” Christians are promised is a restored garden of Eden, not a wispy cloud and a golden instrument.
While we don’t know exactly what heaven will be like, the Bible suggests that it won’t be static or boring (Revelation 21:23–24). Yes, heaven exists. And, according to the Bible, it will be the most glorious place imaginable.