Friday, September 9, 2011

FINAL: If There Were No Heaven.....Josh's Response

If there were no Heaven or Hell would you still be a Christian?

If you are just joining me, today I am sharing the 10th and final response to the above question.  Josh of Re-Everything will be closing out the series.  

Here were the parameters given to those whom I asked to respond:

Answer the question:

If there were no Heaven or Hell would you still be a Christian in 350 words or less.  Your answer should begin with one of the four choices below.
  1. I absolutely would still be a Christian....
  2. I think I would still be a Christian....
  3. I'm not so sure....
  4. I definitely would not still be a Christian.... 
Photos taken by Amber Cullum and Ashley Sisk (top right) and Katie Lloyd (bottom left).
Josh wrote:

When my dad heard this question, his answer was as immediate as my own, except he answered in opposition to me.  He answered “Yes” saying that he would still follow the teachings of Christ even if he died and found out there was no heaven or hell.  He said he believes the life of Christ is the best possible way to live in this world.
In contrast to that, my first reaction to the question was “No.”  The primary reason I answered “no” right away is because of how much Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven throughout the gospel of Matthew.  It’s the first thing we hear him preaching to the crowds.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  My understanding is that Jesus came to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God in Mark and Luke) is how God desires the world to be, where God is King and everything gives Him glory and operates according to His love. 
This kingdom stands against the powers of darkness and in Jesus’ death and resurrection has brought about a decisive victory over sin and death, making it possible for all men to believe in Christ, accepting Him as Lord and be a part of His kingdom both in the present life, where we partially realize the fullness of heaven, and in the life to come, where we fully realize the fullness!
Here’s another way I see it: if there is no heaven, death has the final word on this life.  If death has the final word, then Jesus’ resurrection had no power.  If Jesus’ resurrection has no power, his death was pointless—merely an example to follow.  If his death was only exemplary, then his teachings fit in the pantheon with other great teachers.  But no! Jesus’ resurrection shows that He is more than an example, but our King!  And I follow Him not just because He’s a great teacher, but because He has made a way for us to follow His teachings by defeating that which stands against it, sin and death.


Timothy Miller said...

Thanks Josh.

Casey Martinez said...

I love how this question is such a great discussion starter and a great thing to chew on for a while! The responses are all awesome!