How Can God Let Bad People Into Heaven?

Some people, when first considering the truth that Everyone Is Going to Heaven, and before they have had enough time to really think it through, are troubled by the idea that bad people get into heaven.  If you are one of those people, you need to first acknowledge that compared to God we are all bad people.

That’s right.  He’s good and we are not.  He’s pure and we are not.  He is without sin and we are not.  We are like children who have played in the mud so long we have forgotten what clean looks like.  Jesus of Nazareth – that’s clean.  How does your life measure up to His?  If you and I don’t measure up to Jesus, what right do we have to point the finger at someone else whom we deem to be less righteous than we are?  There is a lot more difference between God’s behavior and yours and mine than there is between yours and mine and whoever we think we’re better than.

Sooner or later, we come around to acknowledging that if we receive God’s mercy then we have no business denying that mercy to anyone else.  Even so, someone might still ask, “What about really bad people like brutal tyrants and mass murderers – shouldn’t they be left out of heaven?”  I can only respond with another question:  Even if someone has led what seems to us to be a depraved and worthless life, should our limited awareness of the circumstances and issues of that life be accepted as that person’s final judgment?  Here on earth we humans can conduct trials and punish crimes, but the whole of a person’s life is beyond us.  We can never know all of its details.  Because of a mother’s enormous personal investment in each child, she knows where to look for the good in the worst of her children.  Because of God’s even greater investment in every single human, He can find a shred of us worth saving – a shred that our horrible behavior may have hidden from everyone else.

The Cleansing Effect of Death

So, is heaven going to be populated with brazen criminals?  Not in a million years!  The removing of the veil of flesh at death brings every person face to face with the blinding light of pure truth.  Jesus told a parable that reveals the dramatic effect death has on the most hardened human attitudes.

The story goes like this:  A rich man lives a lavish and self-indulgent lifestyle while a poor man covered with sores lies at his doorstep wanting no more than the scraps from the rich man’s table.  The dogs lick the poor man’s sores but the rich man will do nothing for him.  In the afterlife, it’s the rich man who’s begging from the poor man, for their places of honor are reversed.  The poor man is being comforted for all the misery he endured and the rich man is tormented by the memory of his own greed and miserliness.  Here’s an example of how “many who are last will be first and many who are first will be last,” and of how our behavior here on earth has consequences even in heaven.  Worldly riches and pleasures have no meaning in heaven – but memories of how we lived here will linger on.

Not only is the rich man miserable that he didn’t show more mercy in this life, he desperately longs to tell his brothers to avoid his error lest they end up burning with the same agonizing regret.  This parable reveals the justice of God in the realignment of the rich man and the poor man, the mercy of God in the inclusion of the rich man in afterlife, and the wisdom of God in the attitude adjustment that overcame the rich man.  His punishment was redemptive, and brought about the desired spiritual change.  He’d have felt even better about it if he’d changed before he left earth, and that’s why he wanted to get word to his brothers still on earth so they could repent.  You will not see evil people in heaven, only people who might be very ashamed of what they have done on earth…and who wish to spare others the remorse they’re feeling.

How can God show mercy to the human race and yet be fair in His treatment of each individual?  The answer, seen in the parable, is a heaven that embraces all and yet in which special compensation is awarded victims of earth’s unresolved injustices.  There are perhaps not as many of these unresolved injustices as you might think, for God’s workings of justice in the earth often go unnoticed by us.  Nevertheless, there are inequities…and heaven is designed to rectify them.  Cain killed his brother Abel for no good reason.  All other things being equal, Abel will enjoy a better place in heaven than his brother.  God won’t have to forego His desire to show mercy to Cain in order to show justice to Abel.  God knows how to be fair with all His children!

This perfect blend of justice and mercy will be important to all of us, for it’s not just the really bad people who will have things of which to be ashamed.  We will all be humbled and chastened when we face God at death.  A group of men caught a woman in the act of adultery and brought her before Jesus.  They pointed to her as an example of human sinfulness worthy of condemnation.  Jesus refused to condemn her.  This was a surprise because He was known to have condemned adulterous behavior.  In fact, His views on the subject of marriage were quite strict.  But while Jesus would condemn behavior, He never bullied people.  To the woman He simply said, “Go and sin no more.”

To her accusers Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  He could similarly say to us in heaven, should we object to anyone else’s presence, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw the ‘bad’ person out.”  No matter how despicably the “really bad” person in question behaved, who could answer a challenge like that?

We all have a vested interest in being governed by a mercy mixed with justice.  For if we deny mercy to any fellow human, we’ve effectively denied it to the whole race, and thus to ourselves.  Giving others a second chance keeps us entitled to the same.  There’s nothing strange therefore in the fact that we shouldn’t seek revenge where heaven is concerned.  What is strange is that God, who has no sins to cover and therefore no vested interest in showing mercy, has chosen to be so merciful.  That’s love.  And it’s strangely wonderful.

Put Yourself in God’s Shoes

So, what would you do if you were in God’s shoes?  I hope you would follow His example and be merciful.  Even one more person on earth who thinks like God would be a breath of fresh air to the rest of us.  For in a limited sense, you are in God’s place.  You were made in His image and given His sense of morality and freedom of choice.  Of course, you don’t have His unlimited power.  But you do have more than enough power to help or hurt the people around you.  The more mercy you show to them, the better for all of us.

Nest Essay:  The Reason You Exist
(Return to the Table of Contents for this series of 21 essays)
(This is a series of essays on the implications of Everyone Is Going to Heaven)

45 Responses to How Can God Let Bad People Into Heaven?

  1. What about faith, Mike? People must have faith to made right with God. Not everyone has faith, not everyone wants anything to do with God. And as such, they are not his children but his enemies who are spiritually dead and are already condemned. Unless they acknowledge Jesus through faith, a person can’t be saved, born again, and enter the kingdom of heaven. How is Christ Lord when people don’t submit to his lordship? How can people spend eternity with a person they neither know nor love? Wouldn’t that be a terrible existence for all eternity? Jesus is returning for a people waiting for Him, not those who are carried away in the concerns of this life, whether it be busyness or a pleasurable sin. Jesus is returning again for a people who are waiting for Him, who love Him, and can’t wait to see His appearing.

    I agree, we aren’t to judge. But Jesus is the judge. God has given him all authority to judge and his judgment will be fair and just and good and perfect. And it is my belief that we may be surprised at who is in the kingdom of God, without a doubt, and thus we aren’t to judge and say whose in and whose out. But what we can do, on the authority of scripture, is know without a shadow of doubt, that only those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, who have the life of His Spirit in them and those who cling to the hope of his gospel, will have eternal life. Not everyone. You may say it’s ‘logical’, you keep using that word i notice, but the bible cannot always be understood in terms of logic, especially when we’re discussing the new heaven and new earth, the life after this one, eternity. Who can really fathom eternity in heaven or hell? But again, what we CAN know from what it clearly states in scripture is that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And God gives us this gift, He chooses whom he will save. Predestination/election is something that may logically seem unfair to you or others. It seemed that way too me for a long time as well. But it’s biblically true.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      What about faith, Mike? People must have faith to made right with God.

      Yes, we should all trust in Christ.

      Not everyone has faith, not everyone wants anything to do with God. And as such, they are not his children but his enemies who are spiritually dead and are already condemned.

      This is why we who have faith should love these people and pray for them. We should seek grace from God such that our words and deeds will lead these people to the Christ who loves us all.

      Unless they acknowledge Jesus through faith, a person can’t be saved, born again, and enter the kingdom of heaven.

      Yes, faith is the path to the kingdom of heaven, but that kingdom is for this life. What happens after this life takes care of itself. It is here that we must seek to enter the kingdom that we might be spared from wrath and that we might enjoy the fellowship of God.

      How is Christ Lord when people don’t submit to his lordship?

      He is Lord whether we submit to Him in this life or not. Submitting to Him means doing His will not merely proclaiming that He is Lord. Lots of people say, “Lord, Lord,” but don’t do what He says.

      How can people spend eternity with a person they neither know nor love? Wouldn’t that be a terrible existence for all eternity?

      This world blinds the minds of the unbelieving. Once they die, they are freed from that blindness. No one will consider eternity in heaven a terrible existence, though many will regret the sins they committed on earth.

      Jesus is returning for a people waiting for Him, not those who are carried away in the concerns of this life, whether it be busyness or a pleasurable sin. Jesus is returning again for a people who are waiting for Him, who love Him, and can’t wait to see His appearing.

      Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

      I agree, we aren’t to judge. But Jesus is the judge. God has given him all authority to judge and his judgment will be fair and just and good and perfect.

      Yes, and He is judging us right now because He is Lord of all creation.

      And it is my belief that we may be surprised at who is in the kingdom of God, without a doubt, and thus we aren’t to judge and say whose in and whose out. But what we can do, on the authority of scripture, is know without a shadow of doubt, that only those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, who have the life of His Spirit in them and those who cling to the hope of his gospel, will have eternal life.

      You keep speaking about the kingdom of God as if it’s something we only encounter once we die. The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

      Not everyone. You may say it’s ‘logical’, you keep using that word i notice, but the bible cannot always be understood in terms of logic, especially when we’re discussing the new heaven and new earth, the life after this one, eternity. Who can really fathom eternity in heaven or hell? But again, what we CAN know from what it clearly states in scripture is that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

      We need the Holy Spirit to truly understand Scripture, but we use our logic (i.e. common sense) to understand what the Spirit is showing us. Just as the Holy Spirit inspired those who wrote the Scriptures without violating their minds so the Holy Spirit inspires those who read and understand the Scriptures without violating their minds.

      And God gives us this gift, He chooses whom he will save.

      Yes, God chooses whom He will save to heaven…and it will be everyone.

      Predestination/election is something that may logically seem unfair to you or others. It seemed that way too me for a long time as well. But it’s biblically true.

      The words “predestined” and “elect” are in the Bible, but they do not mean what you suggest. You should read these words in their various contexts and you will have a better understanding of their meaning. The idea that God created some people to live with Him forever in heaven while others He created for an eternity of suffering is a man-made doctrine unworthy of God. Don’t let anyone sway you from following Jesus Christ and Him alone.

  2. odddisciple says:

    Brother at the preface of this comment I want to encourage you to keep on learning and seeking God! I am glad to find that there are others devoting their blogs to God. I also write this comment in love. Secondly though, I want to encourage a right interpretation of scripture and proper doctrine, for we need to protect our minds and hearts from the devil!
    You quoted and referred to a passage found in Luke, chapter 16, verses 19-30. You left out a key passage that changes everything, verse 26 “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none by cross from there to us.” Which is the words of Abraham to the rich man about his suffering in Hell. Again before I begin, we must seek to truly understand the scriptures and believe that there is an objective means of interpreting scripture and finding truth.
    First the parable is from Jesus, and it’s about Hell. Jesus is talking about a man who suffers in Hell, a church going, bible reading, righteous man. Unfortunately this man did not have saving faith, but misplaced faith in something other then Christ. So he went to Hell and suffered in torment! The rich man uses that word when pleaded to Lazarus for a DROP of water. Just a drop.
    Jesus never says that everyone will go to heaven, but that MANY will go to heaven. Later in chapter 17 verses 20-37 we find that Christ says their will be those who will not be prepared for the Lord and will not go to heaven. But the parable you are using for you primary point about bad people going to heaven does not support your blog primarily because the parable talks about Hell and how one can never go from Hell to Heaven, or visa-versa.
    May this response find you well, may we seek to refine one another in the righteousness that is predestined for His children through Christ (Romans 8). If I didn’t care about you I’d just read this blog and carry on.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      I acknowledge your good will toward me and I wish you the same.

      You have misunderstood Luke 16. For one thing, you have said that the setting was Hell. However, Jesus gave the setting as Hades. Hades is the Greek term for the Hebrew word Sheol – the place below the earth to which all the dead were sent. If you will read The Biblical Case for Everyone Is Going to Heaven you will find a thorough exposition of the biblical teaching on Sheol (Hades). You will also find an explanation of how Luke 16 fits into that understanding, as well as an understaning the word hell (including its Greek and Hebrew renderings: Gehenna and Ben-Hinnom) and why it applies to this life and not the one to come.

  3. Anonymous says:

    your all morons we come from outer space we dont come from earth god and the devil are make believe

    • Mike Gantt says:

      It’s hard to know if your comment is intended as serious rebuttal.

    • l.l. says:

      we come from outer space? where exactly?
      if God does not exist then why do you follow His moral codes? if that is the case lying is ok and so is killing and stealing and cheating. why is it the law that governs if us if God does not exist. EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE IS TRUE AND ONE DAY WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT YOU WILL NOT ONLY ACCOUNT FOR YOUR FOLLY HERE, YOU WILL ALSO BOW TO THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS AND CONFESS JESUS AS LORD OF ALL. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOUR BELIEVE OR NOT, IT WILL HAPPEN. GOD SAID, I BELIEVE IT AND THAT SETTLES IT. CASE CLOSED.

  4. Sam says:

    Hello again, Mike. I continue to study your various posts, and find myself impressed with not only your knowledge of the Scriptures, but also your concise writing style. However, I still have some questions.

    You point to the parable of the rich man as one which instructs how we shall all, to some degree, suffer regret in heaven over the sin we committed on earth. Elsewhere you say that “God does not grade on a curve”, but here you clearly postulate a hierarchy in heaven based on the “last shall be first” quotation. You also note that “All other things being equal, Abel will enjoy a better place in heaven than his brother”.

    Your quote — “Not only is the rich man miserable that he didn’t show more mercy in this life, he desperately longs to tell his brothers to avoid his error lest they end up burning with the same agonizing regret.” Burning with agonizing regret in heaven? How can you say in other places that when we understand God’s true nature we realize that He would not wish for us to be sad that loved ones were now burning in hell while we enjoy heaven, yet here you state somewhat of the opposite?

    Statements such as these lead me to believe that heaven will be just like this earth (i.e., imperfect, with regret and remorse and sadness), except there will exist there the “perfect Judge”. Is it your position, then, that God will somehow mitigate our “burning, agonizing regret”? How could He do this without altering the very fabric of that place and our circumstances in it?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      God does not grade on a curve, but He does grade. 100% is the fixed point of reference which is absent when grading by curve – unless one of the students happens to make 100%. Jesus did make 100%. He has thereby secured for Himself the highest place in heaven…and is in no danger of losing it. The point for us is that we are graded in comparison to perfection, not in comparison to each other. Therefore, even if I can find another human being to which I can compare myself favorably (most people choose Hitler, or someone of similar disrepute, for obvious reasons), it does me no good.

      To add a nuance, I am graded according to what I know of perfection. Therefore, the more I know about right and wrong, the higher the standard to which I am held. “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:47-48). For this reason, self-righteousness is a particularly bad bargain because it sets one up to be judged according to all the condemnations he has made of others.

      What ultimately strikes me the most about the rich man in the afterlife is not his regret but his zeal for righteousness. When his personal request is denied, he appeals that his brothers be warned so as to be spared from his torment. His selfishness has vanished and selflessness has taken its place. I expect heaven to be a place where everyone wants to do right…and that without prompting. This, of course, is a dramatically different state affairs than what we see on earth where temptation to evil abounds.

      How might God mitigate the pain of our regret in the life to come? In part perhaps by the passage of time. We certainly see time healing some wounds in this life – how much more then when eternity will be in play! I also expect that we will have tasks to perform in heaven, and in the pursuit of those tasks, the pain of regret can be assuaged. Remember: heaven’s a place where everyone wants to do right, and it is definitely not right to indefinitely wallow in the indolence of excessive regret while good can be done.

  5. Sam says:

    Thanks again, Mike. I cannot envision any “awareness” of time in a place where it supposedly does not exist. So its effects would be moot. Still, because you invariably substantiate each of your ideas with specific references, I am always eager to read your responses.

    No person I have ever met has been able to do this so consistently as yourself. That in and of itself remains a great puzzle to me just now. And, truth-to-tell, it angers me as well. I take responsibility for my own lack of knowledge and insight — for my own denseness. However, people of moral authority in my life have misled me, judged me, and most importantly (to me, at least), misunderstood me. And it unsettles me to learn that I may have to deal with them again on ANY level.

  6. Pingback: Names of the Lord: Jesus Is the Standard | Current Events in Light of the Kingdom of God

  7. Chris Webb says:

    Its nice to see you think that Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Josef Mengele, Vlad the Impaler and countless others all had a chance to be with the Lord in his heavenly kingdom…………….

  8. Mike Gantt says:

    Chris,

    When you face the Lord, you will have to give an account for the sins of your own life. What you have to say about the sins of others won’t matter. God is just and does not grade on a curve. Even if He did, Jesus of Nazareth blew the curve.

  9. Linda says:

    I know that all people will not end up in Heaven, because if that was true then the Lord Jesus would have never said this concerning Judas, who betrayed Him:

    “For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”Mark 14:21

    • Mike Gantt says:

      That’s an awfully big belief to hang on a particular inference from a single statement.

    • Jeff says:

      Translation from the Greek scripture is wrong in that translation you speak of . That is why most do not understand the meaning that was really written by the 2 apostles . Dig deeper into the actual Greek text here is what you will find the true meaning to be .

      “Truly the Son of man [Jesus] goes as it has been written concerning Him [Jesus], but woe to that man [Judas] by whom the Son of man [Jesus] is betrayed! It were good for Him [Jesus] if that man [Judas] had never

      So as you can see here it’s not about it being good for Judas to not be born . He will be in heaven like everyone else . Forgiven by the mercy of God .

  10. JOHN says:

    What abut where Jesus said, many will come to me in that day saying Lord Lord, but I will say to them, away from me you that work iniquity, i never knew you. Where is he sending them away to?

    Also, what is the second death? What is outer darkness? Do you think some people will actually go to a hell for a time, to be refined?

  11. Mike Gantt says:

    Where is he sending them away to?

    To life away from Him…which is mere existence.

    Also, what is the second death?

    Life away from Him.

    What is outer darkness?

    Life away from Him.

    The kingdom of God is on this earth in this life.  Entrance to it is based on faithfulness to Jesus Christ and His ways.  Most people live unaware of it, for as Jesus said, the way to destruction is broad and many are those who go that way.

    Do you think some people will actually go to a hell for a time, to be refined?

    Hell is on this earth in this life.  For a fuller explanation, see The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

  12. richard sievert says:

    The truth is there are many mansions in heaven and some of them are not even air born ,and you will be forced to live under the elements which you are bound you will not have wings and where others will be able to fly like light doing the almighty will! Hell is allot like that just ask the forest because it will be the fuel that burns you! How do I know all these things? I don’t

  13. richard sievert says:

    Look people if your good try and find things to grow, share them with others, make friends, and save the world if not just take all your gun’s out and lie them in the cool still water , and kiss your asses goodby! OK a message from god’s best friend.

  14. Sandra Vista says:

    While I applaud your even having a different belief system than Traditional Religion, I would like to ask you how much sense it makes to compare Jesus as being Clean when he went in the Temple and over turned the money changers tables, (Anger) then he disobeyed his parents and Religion as a Jewish child to marry at age 12 and left to learn to be the mentor, profit, healer, brother and soft place to fall, (not savior) I know in my heart. Just a thought, maybe you have an answer for me and if so you can let me know on Facebook at Spiritual Awakenings By Sandra Vista, thanks and Have a great day!

  15. Mike Gantt says:

    Sandra,

    Jesus was not only clean, He was cleansing the Temple when He disrupted the business activities taking place in it. His anger was righteous – like the anger of God at our sins.

    I have no idea what you mean about His getting married at age 12.

    • Sorry didn’t even notice you replied, okay I will explain it to you, the Bible loses Track of Jesus for 18 years. At the age of 12 Jewish boys (this was Jewish Tradition and Jesus was a Jew) whom back then aged much sooner than now were required to marry and start Families, Jesus wanted more for himself and left Nazareth, stopped working in his Fathers furniture Business and went to many lands, Turkey and studied at Byzantium, now a days known as Istanbul. He went to Afghanistan and India. He also learned about and studied and practiced Eastern ways and their knowledge. At this time in his life is when his first Miracle was performed, the healing of a boy with Leprosy in Cutta India. You see all those years the Bible loses track of the most Important Man on Earth and in the Heavens, he was studying and learning and the knowledge was so great that when he returned and started to perform miracles they turned on him, they believed this man, the son of a Carpenter who shows back up here so many years later with all these tricks and miracles is evil and must be killed! So just to clarify for you and all Bible boosters. Jesus first Miracle was not t the wedding feast in Cana where he turned water into wine, oh no these miracles were being practiced in many other Countries for years. We now know through the many books that were purposely left out of the Bible that are surfacing such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi scrolls, even the books that were found under the floor in the Roman Catholic Church by Bruno Giordano (a man burned alive for believing in many planets) through these lost books that the Church could not allow back then as corrupt as they were, we now know so much more about Jesus than ever and in his own words, “seek and ye shall find” I say if you want to continue to say Jesus was clean because he got angry, how about the whips he used on other people is that part of your Jesus? John 2;15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. In France and Turkey in the museums and archives they have the proof of Jesus writings and his presence there, else how could they have cried from lands all over that the Romans had killed their beloved Jesus if he had not known them? I don’t believe in Hell and I don’t believe Jesus died on the Cross, I believe that Abraham and Luke the Doctor and even as Joseph was allowed by Pilate to take Jesus body after only hanging for 3 hours, ( In the synoptic narrative, while Jesus is hanging on the cross, the sky over Judea (or the whole world) is “darkened for three hours,” from the sixth to the ninth hour (noon to mid-afternoon). Other men hung there for 3 or more months without dieing! I believe the hidden documents that Jesus did have a blood line and children and lived an old age. He is now known as an Ascended Master, one who has not incarnated again. Remember when the Two marys went to the Tomb of Jesus and the Angels cams and said “why do you look for the living amongst the dead?” Form your own opinion because thanks to those who turned the Bible into a crappy half hazard history book I have more knowledge on my side than they or you at this time, prove me wrong if you feel you can or accept Jesus for the Great Man he was who is now my Brother, Best Friend and Soft Place to Fall. Now as to why God does not let bad people into Heaven, you may want to converse on that or you may just want to let it go, up to you have a wonderful day.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        I trust in the Bible as the word of God, delivered by the prophets of Israel (i.e. the Old Testament) and the apostles of Jesus Christ (i.e. the New Testament). You obviously have some other source (or sources) which is at odds with the Bible. I don’t trust sources that are at odds with the Bible.

        The Bible testifies of Jesus Christ as Lord. It is Him we are to worship and serve. You do what you want. As for me, I will follow Jesus.

        • I never asked you to do anything other than what you believe is your own personal Truth. You can be filled with as much resolve as you want concerning the Bible yet when I say Jesus said “Seek and ye shall find” and we find scriptures verified of the time period and the authorship to be some of Mosaic or Moses and some of Mary Magdalene, Jesus Brother James and so on, yet I am being asked by Christ to stop right now and say these words to you. “It is very Ironic that the very people (early Christians) those I bore testament too are the very ones who want the world to believe in the Divinity of me Jesus Christ, are the very ones whom today threaten the Divinity more and more with their editing and manipulation including omissions of New Testament Scripture that raise doubts as to it’s authenticity and truths, compounded by their closed minds and inability to understand the parables as I wrote them. Leave those who refuse to believe that more profits would come and be denounced only because I was not physically in their presence, so yet those of such little Faith who can not open their minds as they say they open their hearts shall have a tough time as the Truth shall never be hidden from the world and will be known to all men and women as their Souls transcend to heaven at the end of each lifetime.” Now please do live your own personal truth as I have not asked you to believe me, Jesus has. Namaste

  16. Jesus is my Lord and Savior and nobody can compare to him!

  17. effee says:

    What a load of garbage this is. Evil people need to be punished in an eternal hell. That is what they deserve. If you disagree then I have to conclude that you have never met evil face to face. Anything less would be a travesty of ultimate proportions.
    The only problem here is that there is no hell–no heaven and no god either. If there were this mess we call our world would not exist in the first place.

  18. TJ says:

    My favorite quote ever is
    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicurus

  19. Mike Gantt says:

    Hmm. Epicurus or Jesus of Nazareth – to which of these ancient men shall I look for wisdom about life?

    Choose whom you wish, but I choose Jesus – the one who, rather than merely philosophizing about evil, overcame it…with good (Romans 12:21).

  20. Tina says:

    Hi, what about people who have NDEs and do see hell?

  21. Mike Gantt says:

    Tina,

    I have not found people’s reports of NDE’s to be a reliable guide to the afterlife.

    Most testify to heaven. Some have said there is no hell. Some have testified to going to hell. These various testimonies contradict each other and I do not know how to reconcile them. Neither do I know how to judge the veracity of the individuals who have made these sorts of claims.

    Instead, I put my trust in the Scriptures, which are the words of the prophets of Israel and the apostles of Jesus. These men gave their lives for their testimonies. They did not make money selling books. Their character and integrity were known by those with whom they lived and who preserved their writings. Thus assured of the honesty and reliability of God’s spokesmen. Most notably, they were sent by God to proclaim what they did. They were not independently reporting on their own experiences.

    I am not suggesting that people who report on NDE’s are insincere or that they are necessarily in error. I’m merely pointing out that some of them corroborate what the Bible says and some contradict it. God has given us the prophets and apostles as His chosen messengers and I think we should therefore take their word about what happens in the afterlife over the word of anyone who contradicts them.

  22. Tina says:

    I very much hear what you’re saying. What about the harsh sections of the bible, and the mentions of people ending up in hell? I myself am trying reconcile all of this with loving Father that a) makes no mistakes b) is NOTHING but LOVE. I am struggling and feel more a seclusion vibe than love. So your writing is like a raft on open water to me… 🙂 thanks!

  23. Mike Gantt says:

    Tina, if you will read the book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, I think it will answer most of your questions in this regard.

    Here is its table of contents:

    Chapter 1 – The Problem of Death

    Chapter 2 – A Place Called Sheol

    Chapter 3 – Where Is This Place Called Sheol?

    Chapter 4 – The Heavens and the Earth and the Sea

    Chapter 5 – The Greeks Called It Hades

    Chapter 6 – Coloring Death With Hope

    Chapter 7 – The First Resurrection

    Chapter 8 – The Resurrection of the Rest of the Dead

    Chapter 9 – The New Heavens and the New Earth

    Chapter 10 – But What About Hell?

    Chapter 11 – But What About Bad People?

    Chapter 12 – O Death, Where Is Your Sting?

    Appendix I – Four Key Words

    Appendix II – Summary of the Book

    Appendix III – Individual Bible Verses

  24. Anonymous says:

    <3 thanks, I will!

  25. mstair says:

    “In Jesus’ time and today, the rich get richer; the poor never do. Aggressive people have more and receive preference. People seek to expand control over others to gain advantage. The ends people achieve justify the means they choose. Moreover, anyone voicing criticism of these behaviors is in peril of silencing or elimination. Jesus’ choice for behaviors in His Kingdom seems not to include people who exhibit these.
    On the contrary, He tells three parables describing the kinds of people who receive invitation to the welcoming banquet. They are the humble, poor, crippled, blind, and lame!”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Be Attitudinal.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/fBu8y.l

  26. Mike Gantt says:

    mstair,

    Why did you pick this page to post a link to your book?

  27. Christopher Newbern says:

    I am persuaded that the parable you have referenced here has nothing to do with what happens to any of us after we die. Like you have stated, we all go to heaven when we die. And we are purified and made fit to live in His presence outside of time and space. I am convinced it was the Lord’s prophecy about what was about to happen to the nation of Israel. They were about to experience a type of death as the covenant they had with God was coming to an end, and the offer to rule and reign with God would be made to “whosoever will”. Through Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, the ecclesia and His return; The Kingdom of God (Love) was being inaugurated and the nation of Israel (specifically its leading priesthood) would no longer be in authority. It would be the least and most humble on earth who would be used by the Lord to lead His Kingdom on earth in the never ending age to come (the one we are in now).

  28. Mike Gantt says:

    Christopher,

    I think your application of the parable is a good one, but I don’t think parables are limited to a single application or can only teach us about one subject.

    As to the point of your application, it is supported well by Matthew 21:43. Without the sort of understandings like the one you offer, we can miss so much of what God is doing in the world and how He is doing it.

    Blessed be the Lord who opens our eyes to see what He is doing in the earth…that we may work with Him in it, and not against Him.

  29. Christopher Newbern says:

    Brother you wrote a whole book about how Sheol/Hades is no longer in existence and then you refer to a parable about a man in Hades and think that this has something to do with any of us who die today. Think about that for a bit.

  30. Mike Gantt says:

    You’re right that Sheol/Hades no longer exists, and therefore that the parable wouldn’t be applicable to us on that point. But the parable also reveals principles, such as the justice of God and the cleansing power of death, which still do apply to life today – just as your own application demonstrates.

    For example, even though there is no more Sheol/Hades in this age, won’t God still right in the next life any unrighted wrongs leftover from this life (as He did for Lazarus)? And won’t those who are high and mighty in this life be brought low in the next life (as was the case for the rich man)?

  31. Christopher Newbern says:

    So will those who are paying for their wrongs in the next life do so without end or until they have paid in full?

  32. Mike Gantt says:

    The finer points of God’s plan for heavenly justice are currently beyond me, but there are a few things I can say.

    – As long as we have memory in heaven of how we lived on earth, it is possible for us to carry the pain of regret for our sins.

    – God makes the punishment fit the crime; thus there cannot be infinite punishment for the simple reason that as humans we cannot commit infinite wrongs.

    – Mercy triumphs over judgment; therefore, whatever justice dictates, it will have an overlay of mercy.

    – One of the glories of heaven is that we will see there how the justice of God was at work here on earth in ways that we could not see on earth. (On earth we puzzle over the “rich man” who seems to be blessed by God and the “Lazarus” who seems cursed by Him; in heaven, no such puzzles because there will be no deceiver-in-chief to muddy our thinking.)

  33. Christopher Newbern says:

    Once we are there and we are able to see all things clearly, I think it would be much simpler if everyone had a moment or two to just forgive one another (being that is what God wants us to do) and then get down to business with whatever else it is that we are going to do in heaven. Thank you for the discussion Mike. I hope to have more with you and others on here along and along. God bless.

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