The Concept of Heaven

The Concept of Heaven March 24, 2015

SMBC Heaven

I am pretty skeptical of ideas of an afterlife. So is one of the characters in this SMBC comic. But perhaps we simply aren’t using our imagination sufficiently. Is there a depiction of the afterlife that you have encountered that seems to you particularly problematic? Is there not one that you can imagine that would be desirable, regardless of whether you think it is something real or not?

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • That there may possibly be no shopping malls in Heaven is problematic to me. Years ago I attended the funeral of a distant friend and during the mass, the Spirit of this person sat next to me. After the service I went to a shopping mall nearby. And the Spirit followed me there. Turned out that this young female was born to shop! And that influence continued briefly after her death. To maybe say a final farewell to The Gap and Foot Locker? I do know this. That Heaven is whatever you want it to be.

  • Josh Magda

    The fourth panel is illuminating. For most of us the experience of unconditional Love is a rarity in this World.

  • Just Sayin’

    I haven’t come across any concrete descriptions of heaven. There must be some out there?

  • R Vogel

    For me the best afterlife would be spending eternity exploring all the paths untaken in my life. Something similar to the move About Time. Maybe it has an end, maybe it doesn’t. If it does have an end it is because, like in the film (SPOILER ALERT), you make certain decision that you are unwilling to see unmade. These line up until one single path exists on which you never second guess any of the decisions made.

  • John MacDonald

    The Afterlife: The last, desperate excuse for the apologist trying to defend a God that created an unloving, unjust world.

    • Josh Magda

      Wow. What a major crockload of cynical sh*t.

  • I can certainly imagine a world much better than this one, even if it’s hard to imagine one that would be absolutely “perfect”. The major problem for Christianity is the intersection between that and the problem of evil: if God can create a perfect world without suffering, one which at least some of us will one day live in, then the world we’re living in now cannot be the best of all possible worlds. It means the Christian doesn’t only need to explain why suffering and evil exist in this world; it means he has to do so while at the same time explaining how those problems can be resolved in heaven, and explain why God hasn’t applied those solutions on Earth.

  • Santino

    The problem of evil and of an unjust God who could save us, but didn’t, can be resolved by these few points. In the beginning, God created man conscious. If God loved man, He would of course given him free choice, otherwise God would be unloving of us, and would have made us robots. But, because He loves us, He gave us the ability to accept Him and love Him and understand His true character and personality that is perfect: both just and graceful/merciful. He loved us so much to not only give us a hike of life, but He also sent a Guide, to show the reality of the world, how to finish the hike, and the only way to be considered “blameless before God.” Each of us are born a sinner, due to the seed of Adam, and are not sinners because we sin, but because we are born this way. Therefore we are corrupt and deserving of hellfire. Everyone. Every good work you do is dust in the wind. No man can be justified by his own works. Because we are stuck in this sin state, and also because God loves us, He sent His Son, (another person of the divine “three-in-one-God”) Jesus, to come down and live the blameless life. He was born from the Spirit and of Mary, so He did not have the sin nature all other people have. He became sin for us, so that if you believe in His name and confess with your mouth that He is Christ, you will be saved. A kind of analogy is that you are born with a debt of your parents, that is too big to ever be paid off in your short lifetime, so a rich man hands you a “never-ending credit card” (salvation) to pay off your debts and be blameless once again. The man who accepted the credit card and realized he could never pay off his own debt is the Christian. If you don’t accept this gift, you are judged by your own works, which do not amount to anything, because you are a sinner. That is the Gospel message in a nutshell, with a bit of Theology. God is good. He loves you, He made you in His own image. Heaven and Hell are real, and you are conscious in both of them. Eternal lament and torture, or eternal peace, joy, and goodness. Those are the options. Also, Christ did rise again, three days after being crucified on the cross. That is why we celebrate Easter, He is risen!

    • Josh Magda

      I don’t deserve hellfire, neither do you, and neither do our children. Why would you want to serve a God who has to kill and torture himself in order to prevent him from doing the same to us? I mild-manneredly refer to this psychopathic entity as DoomGod the Nonexistent. Is DoomGod really worth your time? What experience do you personally have, that God is anything like DoomGod? Don’t give me the Bible. Give me yourself. If YOU would not torture your own children or mother, what makes you think that God would?

      Please, I don’t want to hear the Bible come out of your virtual mouth! For now, screw the Bible. The Bible can go to hell, if that’s what it teaches. What I’m interested in is: what prevents YOU from torturing and killing people you have issues with?

    • John MacDonald

      Haven’t you heard of evolution? Adam never existed.

  • Jason Talbott

    Heaven is for real, but…Nobody goes to heaven when they die. (John 3:16)