The Eschatology of the Execution Chamber: A Primer
Before the execution, employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice kept asking me the same question, “Is Arthur saved?” Far more than being concerned about the eternal consequences of their own participation in the execution, they were concerned about his eternal destination. Repeatedly, I gave the same answer, “Saved from what? Y‘all are the ones who are going to kill him.” Evil can be so blinding.
Pressed against the cage, I sought to be love in the midst of such hate. In those final moments before the execution, Arthur Brown and I spoke about that which is real and that which is not. The discussion with Arthur was never about what types of prayers or eternal decisions I could extract out of him. Rather, it was about me reminding him that God loves him more than anyone ever could…and that everything else is bullshit. Love seemed to enhance his determination to go boldly out of this world clinging to what he knew to be true. A calmness beyond all understanding flushed over him. I knew that hate could not touch him. Arthur was past all that now. Truth and love were his oxygen.
Save for a few, there was a hollowness to almost everyone I encountered. Questions of salvation are so often hollow. Due primarily to the fact that such questions assume that we are all playing this cat and mouse salvation game with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God loves us. That’s it.
Even if I had the time to tell them about all of the beautiful moments I got to share with Arthur Brown, I doubt they would know what I was talking about. Their minds are too condition to believe the lies of hate. The lie that God would ever let any of us eternally perish.
Heaven is God’s love…the fullness of God’s love. Hell is separation from God…the very absence of God. Heaven exists for us to transcend such spaces. We spread the love of God to destroy such places…that we might be transformed by such destruction. In opposing the death penalty, one could say that we seek to bring the heaven (love) until we can destroy the hell (absence). Of course, such destruction can only be accomplished through love. Since God is love, I have no doubt that we will one day be successful.
Before Arthur Brown died, he reminded me that love always wins. EVIL WILL ALWAYS BE DESTROYED. For that, I am forever grateful.