More than once in recent days, I have read the sentiment that heaven will only be occupied by certain types of people. I read that sort of sentiment in J.P. Moreland’s The Soul. Moreland argued that those in hell would not fit in were they to be in heaven. Many of them are not giving, unselfish people, the argument runs, whereas heaven is a place where people are giving and unselfish. And, even if we’re talking about a moral non-believer, Jesus Christ is not the object of that moral non-believer’s affections. The moral non-believer would not fit in in heaven, where Jesus Christ is praised!
I encountered a similar sentiment in a Christian blog post that I
read about forgiveness. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that God
will not forgive those who do not forgive others. People wonder if that
means that a Christian can undo his or her own salvation by not
forgiving someone. The Christian blogger I’m talking about answered
that it means precisely that. He said that heaven is to be a place of
forgiving people, and you would not want to contaminate it with an
That sentiment makes a degree of sense. I can’t say that it makes me
feel all that good, since it seems to make salvation contingent on
one’s ability to fit in, which I’m not all that good at. I could say
that I would fit in in heaven, where others are patient and nice, even
if I am not consistently those things. But here’s the rub: why should I
be the only one with rough edges who is let into heaven? And, if
heaven accepts others with rough edges, we have conflict! It’s not
It’s odd to me that we are on this earth, learning to put up with
people’s BS, when heaven will not even be a place where people’s BS is
tolerated. What, then, are we being prepared for, exactly?
Why would God teach me patience or the need to forgive others, if I will
not even need those attributes in heaven, where people are so perfect,
or at least better than they are here?
Here’s another question: Suppose I go to heaven with rough edges. Is
it necessarily the case that I will contaminate the place? Maybe other
people’s—-and God’s—-love will rub off on me, and that will make me
Those are my ramblings for the day…
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