What if there were no Heaven?


#1

Sort of the corollary to the "What if there were no Hell" thread floating around. A few questions and thought experiments:

1) What if God promised an eternity of suffering for all those who followed his commands and teachings? If God is the ultimate standard of justice, this would, by definition, be a just system. It would still be objectively moral to follow His commands and teachings, but this system would ensure that you are following Him out of love for Him rather than out of desire for your own personal happiness. Those who chose not to follow Him would be annihilated upon death, but those who followed Him would be able to continue to love him for all eternity, albeit in endless suffering. Would you follow Christ under this system? Why or why not?

2) (Back under the normal system) Suppose your son/daughter or other loved one suffered from depression and committed suicide, damning themselves to Hell. Now suppose you eventually die and go to Heaven. According to the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), you will now be subjected to hearing their screams of agony across the gulf to Hell for all eternity. Would this not in its own way be a sort of Hell for you? How could you cope with this situation? Would you forget or ignore your loved ones in Hell? Are we not all (those of us who have loved ones who have died in mortal sin) doomed to an eternity of either direct or indirect suffering whether we are saved or not?

I realize these thought experiments and questions don't apply to the theological beliefs many of you hold, but I'm grateful for your thoughts nonetheless.


#2

1 The system has to make rational sense morally to decide, otherwise the system would not be just. If it is not just, it is not worth following.

2 If the person suffered from depression, he may not be morally culpable for his suicide. I don't believe he would be judged as if he had full faculties. But that is just an opinion of mine. Having said that, if the person was in hell as a matter of Justice, I don't think it would be haunting. If he was in hell unjustly, it would be haunting. But the latter is impossible because God is infinitely Just.

[quote="ngill09, post:1, topic:324642"]
Sort of the corollary to the "What if there were no Hell" thread floating around. A few questions and thought experiments:

1) What if God promised an eternity of suffering for all those who followed his commands and teachings? If God is the ultimate standard of justice, this would, by definition, be a just system. It would still be objectively moral to follow His commands and teachings, but this system would ensure that you are following Him out of love for Him rather than out of desire for your own personal happiness. Those who chose not to follow Him would be annihilated upon death, but those who followed Him would be able to continue to love him for all eternity, albeit in endless suffering. Would you follow Christ under this system? Why or why not?

2) (Back under the normal system) Suppose your son/daughter or other loved one suffered from depression and committed suicide, damning themselves to Hell. Now suppose you eventually die and go to Heaven. According to the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), you will now be subjected to hearing their screams of agony across the gulf to Hell for all eternity. Would this not in its own way be a sort of Hell for you? How could you cope with this situation? Would you forget or ignore your loved ones in Hell? Are we not all (those of us who have loved ones who have died in mortal sin) doomed to an eternity of either direct or indirect suffering whether we are saved or not?

I realize these thought experiments and questions don't apply to the theological beliefs many of you hold, but I'm grateful for your thoughts nonetheless.

[/quote]


#3

As was mentioned in the 'no hell' thread, if there were no heaven, then there would be still be no distinction between why something is right or wrong to do if one ends up in the same place. If we all would go to hell (as I believe is a belief in a few religions), then what we do on earth still doesn't matter, and we would still be free to follow or not follow God's commands, because it would be arbitrary, because we'd all go to the same place. Also, there would be no point in having a God.

As with any leader, if people are to follow you, there has to be a distinction between what happens when they follow you verses if they don't, such as if the project is to run smoother or what have you, otherwise, if your commands have no merit and have no effect (beneficial or otherwise), as the project (or whatever) will end up the same, then your position as a leader is pointless.

So, if I were to summarize my position, if there were no hell or no heaven, then life is ultimately pointless and of no benefit what-so-ever. Sure, you could make an impact on what happens on earth, but if in the end it doesn't matter, then at the time it doesn't matter either (whether you realize it or not).


#4

[quote="bzkoss236, post:3, topic:324642"]
As was mentioned in the 'no hell' thread, if there were no heaven, then there would be still be no distinction between why something is right or wrong to do if one ends up in the same place. If we all would go to hell (as I believe is a belief in a few religions), then what we do on earth still doesn't matter, and we would still be free to follow or not follow God's commands, because it would be arbitrary, because we'd all go to the same place. Also, there would be no point in having a God.

As with any leader, if people are to follow you, there has to be a distinction between what happens when they follow you verses if they don't, such as if the project is to run smoother or what have you, otherwise, if your commands have no merit and have no effect (beneficial or otherwise), as the project (or whatever) will end up the same, then your position as a leader is pointless.

So, if I were to summarize my position, if there were no hell or no heaven, then life is ultimately pointless and of no benefit what-so-ever. Sure, you could make an impact on what happens on earth, but if in the end it doesn't matter, then at the time it doesn't matter either (whether you realize it or not).

[/quote]

Read my post more carefully. There is a distinction between those who follow Christ and those who do not. However, in the first scenario, those who follow Christ are not rewarded with eternal bliss, but with eternal torture. This is meant to examine whether people worship God because He is truly their standard of Goodness and gives them purpose or because they desire personal pleasure for themselves.

To summarize: in the end your actions do matter under the proposed system. But in doing what is right you are rewarded with personal torment. Do you worship God because it is the right thing to do or because you desire heavenly bliss? Would you worship God without the promise of heavenly bliss? What if there were no Heaven?


#5

[quote="ngill09, post:4, topic:324642"]
Read my post more carefully. There is a distinction between those who follow Christ and those who do not. However, in the first scenario, those who follow Christ are not rewarded with eternal bliss, but with eternal torture. This is meant to examine whether people worship God because He is truly their standard of Goodness and gives them purpose or because they desire personal pleasure for themselves.

To summarize: in the end your actions do matter under the proposed system. But in doing what is right you are rewarded with personal torment. Do you worship God because it is the right thing to do or because you desire heavenly bliss? Would you worship God without the promise of heavenly bliss? What if there were no Heaven?

[/quote]

So, you are not saying, what if there were no heaven, you are saying, what if heaven was suffering and hell was pleasure.


#6

[quote="bzkoss236, post:5, topic:324642"]
So, you are not saying, what if there were no heaven, you are saying, what if heaven was suffering and hell was pleasure.

[/quote]

Essentially. But to avoid certain theological/philosophical issues, Hell is annihilation instead of pleasure.


#7

Annihilation is a theologic belief of the Jehovah Witness.


#8

I would say get on some meds or get off of them ;) To tell you the truth, there is a Heaven and a hell. This I know (dont ask why, its a long story)


#9

[quote="kimg901, post:8, topic:324642"]
I would say get on some meds or get off of them ;) To tell you the truth, there is a Heaven and a hell. This I know (dont ask why, its a long story)

[/quote]

Yeah, I gotta know how you know there's a Heaven and a Hell.


#10

[quote="ngill09, post:9, topic:324642"]
Yeah, I gotta know how you know there's a Heaven and a Hell.

[/quote]

Don't ask why, it is a long story.:thumbsup:


#11

[quote="CopticChristian, post:10, topic:324642"]
Don't ask why, it is a long story.:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Tada!!!


#12

[quote="ngill09, post:9, topic:324642"]
Yeah, I gotta know how you know there's a Heaven and a Hell.

[/quote]

If you want to really know PM me and ill tell you why I know this to be true. Just be prepared to have an open mind.


#13

[quote="ngill09, post:9, topic:324642"]
Yeah, I gotta know how you know there's a Heaven and a Hell.

[/quote]

in order for you to know how i know, you have to know yourself
you will otherwise find yourself unable to decipher my words
one must have experience/knowledge/awareness of the divine, the spirit

C.S. Lewis:
“Son,'he said,' ye cannot in your present state understand eternity...That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man's past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man's past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why...the Blessed will say "We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, : and the Lost, "We were always in Hell." And both will speak truly.”


#14

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