Shane Hipps, now the teaching pastor at Mars Hill, talks about the afterlife:
As a Christian who believes in the Bible and Jesus, I have found the intensity and certainty of the debate all very bizarre. It’s strange that so much passion and ink has been spilled over something that is all speculation.
Here’s what I mean: If you died, took pictures, and came back to life again, then you would know with certainty what happens after death. Of course, you would only know what happens to you, not everyone else. But if you haven’t died, you can only speculate about what happens to you and everyone else.
This speculation is perfectly fine. As long as we recognize these are only our beliefs. And beliefs by nature are not certain; they are faith based assumptions. That’s what makes them beliefs. Once you can prove them, they are no longer beliefs; they become a kind of knowing. And the funny thing is once you know, you don’t need to debate anymore.
I have never died, so I don’t have a theological position on heaven or hell. I can only entertain theological possibilities. There is a big difference….
Now having said this, I’m only aware of one person who died, and I mean really died, like three days dead, and came back to life again. His name was Jesus. Upon his return from the dead, he didn’t believe anymore; now he knew. So if I wanted some indication about what happens after I die, I should probably pay attention to what he said after he came back from the dead.
Here’s what he said about heaven and hell after his resurrection. Nothing. Nada. Zip….
If anyone had the authority and credibility to provide a coherent-once-and-for-all description of exactly what happens after you die, it would be Jesus upon his return from beyond the beyond. But he didn’t. He didn’t even seem all that interested.
If it were important to him, you’d think he would have written a book about it. Or preached a sermon or two. But he didn’t. After Jesus rose from the dead, he spends his time talking about this life.
It would seem Jesus is more concerned with this life than the next. Perhaps we should be, too.
We only get one, and it’s short.