Yes, everyone is going to heaven. This is not a clever statement that means something other than what it seems to say. Everyone who dies is going to heaven. I say this on the authority of the Bible, and of Jesus Christ to whom the Bible faithfully points.
The most common objection people offer to this idea is that they cannot imagine God letting bad people into heaven. But if He denies heaven to bad people, how would any of us get in? It’s as if people think God grades on a curve and all they have to do is be able to find someone worse than themselves. Yet God hates this kind of thinking because it makes us judges who look down our noses at other people. If anyone was ever entitled to a holier-than-thou attitude it would be Jesus. Since He doesn’t think that way, He doesn’t want us to think that way either.
The first reason we have for believing that everyone is going to heaven are the promises made in the Bible. For example, we’re told there would be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. Well, Jesus was deemed the only truly righteous human ever to have lived (at least the only one who met God’s standard – that is, perfection). Therefore, He is “the righteous” that gets resurrected and the rest of us are “the wicked.” We’re also told in the Bible that He’s the Savior of the world; and that He died not just for the sins of believers but for those of the whole world; and that as in Adam all die, in Christ shall all be made alive; and so on the promises go.
The second reason we have for believing that everyone is going to heaven is the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Assuming you know something of the life Jesus lived on earth, can you imagine Him consigning people to an eternity of fiery torment? Yes, there is judgment for sin in the earth and Jesus took pains to warn us of it graphically, but even the worst life on earth eventually comes to a merciful end. It would be entirely inconsistent with Jesus’ nature to put us in a place where repentance was impossible. Repenting is the thing He most wants us to do.
The third reason we have for believing this truth is that God’s message of Jesus Christ is called good news. It would not be good news if some of our fellow human beings had to spend eternity separated from us and punished mercilessly. Don’t feel that way? Then you’re not loving your brother as Jesus told us to.
Lastly, according to the way the Bible describes the construction and reconstruction of the universe, there’s now nowhere else for folks to go but heaven. The original universe had people dying and going below to a place called Sheol in Hebrew (called Hades in Greek). This was the place to which all the dead went – good and bad. Even Jesus went there. (After all, how could the dead be raised unless they were below to start with?) So when Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended in to heaven, saying we would one day join Him there, well, that was stunningly good news that none of His disciples had ever expected. They were thrilled with the notion of resurrection – to find out that they’d be raised not just to earth but all the way to heaven, where God lived – well, that was more than any of them would have asked for. At the coming of the kingdom of God, and the consummation of that age, Sheol was done away and dead from that point began going up to heaven instead of down to Sheol. Don’t think that happened? Then you must believe everyone is still going below to Sheol when they die. In that case, no one but Jesus would be in heaven at this point. But don’t fear, the reconstruction of the spiritual side of the universe occurred on exactly the timetable that Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles said it would (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again). There is no more Sheol; there is only heaven for those who die.
Since we know we’re all going to be with God in heaven one day, what sort of people ought we to be while on earth? When you’re there in heaven with God, what do you want your memories of your time on earth to be like? He indicated to us in the gospels that it will matter very much to us how we lived on earth once we’re finally in heaven. Live in such a way that you won’t have to hang your head in shame when you see Him. Repent.
For more context, see this overview.
For those who would like a fuller explanation from the Bible that everyone is going to heaven, I have posted online a book: The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.
For those who would like to reflect what everyone going to heaven means for life here on earth, I have posted a series of Essays on the Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven.
See also these related posts: Judgment Is Upon Us