Where will I go when I die? Many people believe all dead people go to a better place. Why is this the case? On yesterday, in Part One, I said that the rise of psychics is one reason why some people believe this. Today, I want to give you two more reasons why people think all dead people go to a better place.
Near death and experiences and the belief that God grades on a curve are two more reasons why people believe that all dead people go to a better place.
2. Near-Death Experiences
Some people claim to have died and returned to their bodies to give information on the life beyond. Most near-death experiences about which I have heard are positive experiences, whether the person believes in Jesus or not. So, are near-death experiences real?
- One Description of a near-death experience
Betty Eadie, in her bestseller, Embraced by Light, gives an account of her visit to the “other side.” She claims to have seen Christ and thus even dedicated her book to him:
To the Light, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom I owe all that I have. He is the staff I lean on; without Him I would fail.”
At first blink, this sounds consistent with Scripture. As you continue reading, it becomes apparent that the Christ she tells us about is not the Jesus of the New Testament. Eadie’s Jesus is a benevolent being of light that surrounds her in such a way that she “could not tell where her light stopped and where his began.” Whoa! I smell new age thinking here.
Jesus, she tells us, is separate from the Father and would do nothing to offend her. There was no reason to regret past deeds, for we as humans are not sinful creatures; indeed, human “spirit beings” assisted the heavenly Father at creation. Thankfully, the world is not filled with tragedy as we suppose, and in the presence of Christ, Eadie concluded, “I knew that I was worthy of embracing him.” (p.41) This brief description is inconsistent with Scripture on so many levels. I will highlight one:
Human beings are sinners from birth – Romans 3:23; 5:12.
If we are not sinful creatures, as Eadie supposes, then there would be no need for Jesus to die for our sins. We are not fundamentally good people who occasionally do bad things; we are fundamentally bad people who occasionally do good things. But, if we smoke what Eadie and others are selling, then, in the end, everyone would go to a better place.
- The Problem with Near-Death Experiences
The problem with near-death experiences is we cannot accept them without scrutiny and questions. Near-death experiences may or may not reflect real conditions of life beyond death. They must be carefully evaluated to see whether they are consistent with and conform to the biblical picture of the New Testament Jesus and the hereafter. I do believe near-death experiences can occur, but we must not normalize them.
Also, the prior beliefs of those who report what they have seen and heard, are essential in evaluating what they experienced. Remember – and this is important – Satan would try to duplicate the same positive experiences for unbelievers that God gave to Stephen (Acts 7:55-56) and Paul (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).
The great deceiver wants to have people think that one’s relationship with Jesus has no bearing on their eternity and beauty and bliss of “the better place.” If it is true that angels await those who have been made righteous by Christ, it is understandable that Satan and demonic spirits would expect those who enter eternity without God’s forgiveness (2 Corinthians 11:14).
3. God Will Grade on a Curve When We Die
Some people believe that God grades on a curve when we die, and we will go to a better place. According to one author, many people think that life beyond the curtain operates like a scale. God weighs all of our evil deeds – murder, stealing, cheating, pride, lust, etc. Then, he weighs all of our good deeds – going to church, giving money to charity, being helpful to people at Christmas, etc. And, if the good deeds outweigh the bad deeds, then we can expect things will go well for us when we die. So, we make sure our good deeds always outpace our evil deeds.
Or, we believe that God has a comparison chart that compares ours to other people’s acts. We say to ourselves: “I can’t be the worst one in the world. There must be more people who are much more sinful than I am. I may not get an A, but a least I didn’t get an E. Based on my “now and then” church attendance and giving money to charity, I should have gotten a C. I didn’t fail the test outright. I wasn’t like John or Mary, who didn’t attend church at all, not even for Easter or Christmas.
So, when we die, God will not evaluate us based on our relative goodness – in comparison to others, or based on our sincerity. People tend to say: I am a sincere person. It doesn’t matter what I believe, as long as I am sincere in what I believe. We hear people say all the time: I may not believe in Jesus, but I have a kind and sincere heart. That has to count for something with God when I die. God will not send me to hell if I don’t believe that Jesus is the only way. My sincerity in whatever I believe has to have a place in God’s system of compassion and justice.” Sorry to burst your bubble. But, God does not grade on a curve, and he does not give out hall passes to the sincere:
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23-25
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6
A holy God has a holy standard. He does not base that standard on how sincere we are or how bad other people are. The only standard is his complete holiness, and we fall short of that. Our complete trust in Jesus’ death on the cross is what gets us to a better place when we die.
What are some other reasons people believe that all dead people go to a better place?
If missed the first post, you can read it here: What Happens the Moment We Die: Why We Believe All Dead People Go to A Better Place.
Next post: What happens the moment we die? What does the Bible say about heaven and hell the moment we die?
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