Is the Idea of Heaven a Paradox?


How can Heaven be Heaven if it’s nearly certain that everyone in Heaven will have many family members getting the hot foot in hell?

If we take Jesus word we can assume that many many more people go to hell rather than Heaven. Unless you come from a super family it stands to reason that sons, daughters, wives, mothers, fathers, etc… will be burning in hell while you’re living the high life in Heaven. It seems to contradict itself on the most basic levels of what spirituality, religion, and altruism is supposed to teach us while on Earth.

How can I be eternally happy in Heaven knowing my son, wife, or daughter is burning in hell with weeping and gnashing of teeth? It seems very selfish on the surface.

If we can refrain from canned answers like “God is so great you won’t care about your family burning for eternity” let’s do so, because that makes zero sense to me. No matter what if I knew my daughter was burning in hell I could never be happy.


I suggest the book:

“Everything you ever wanted to know about heaven but never dreamt of asking” by Peter Kreeft.

That should answer this and a lot of adjacent questions on heaven.


Peter Kreeft gives some insights into your question … specifically look at 3,4 and 7 … Kreeft is good at explaining complex philosophical and theological topics.


I’d also recommend C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”. He also gives some excellent insights into the question.


That is an awesome book …


Laudatur Iesus Christus.

This is an element of the Faith that is very tempting to compromise or deny:

"If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke (RSV) 14:26f.)

It is easy to think: “Oh, He didn’t really mean that. He likes families. This just doesn’t mean what it says.”

The original post seems to explicitly reject this “hard” teaching. It seems to amount to saying “if I had to choose between God and my family, I would choose my family.”

At its very root, this rejection makes love of God – as well as love of one’s family – impossible. Love is grace – gift – not need or attachment. Until one is objective, one cannot know another person. Without knowledge, one can only love an image interposed between the beloved and oneself.

For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. (Song of Songs (NAB) 8:6.)

The damned are damned justly. They are damned for who they are. To love a damned person, one must know who he is, not who one wishes him to be. God loves the damned; therefore they are damned.

We must love as He does – we must be agents and conduits of His love itself – if anyone or anything that we love is to be saved.

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (Cf., John (RSV) 6:60.)

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner


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