Heaven or hell?

The existence of hell is proof of God's cruelty? 26/05/23.

Dear Cheryl,

I am writing today. not to share obtained knowledge but to articulate a heaviness that thoughts alone cannot decipher.

I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven and hell.

I made peace with death in 2020, the Corona pandemic year. I wasn’t born-again then, and I did not care much about heaven or hell. I strongly felt hell would be a better place for me. The fires did not scare me, but the seeming boredom of the Celestial City did. I cannot even sing; how would I worship God all day?

I am born again now, and I know the life I lived before Christ was hell. I just did not realise. I read somewhere that when a bucket is thrown into a well, the heaviness of the water that fills it is not felt unless the bucket is pulled out of the water. The weight of sin and a terrible life is rarely deeply felt while one still thrives in it. Come out, and the weight will have you running to Christ to wash you again and again.

But, back to how I made peace with death. I’d read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and the author detailed an exercise that he practised which reminded him of the fragility of life. I had lost a sibling not too long ago, so death did not seem as far away as it used to. I felt that if I had to go, I would not want to go afraid. The author said he would climb up a mountain, inching as close as he could to the edge of the precipice – knowing fully well that a wrong step would send him plunging away from this world and into the next.

I’d only ever been to Olumo Rock at Abeokuta for a primary school excursion. There were no mountains nearby, either. So, I improvised. I thought long and hard about all that would happen if I died. I thought about my parents and my siblings. I did not have my friends, so I was a bit safe on that end. At first, the thoughts were painful, and I would be in tears, not at the loss of my life, but at the distress I would cause my family. You see, I’d experienced firsthand the effects of grief in my own family. I wouldn’t wish it upon the devil himself.

The more I thought about it, regardless, the stronger my mind became.

I wasn’t particularly scared of hell like I said before, maybe it was a sign of foolishness and willful blindness that I wasn’t, but I have seen that many people are.

The most common question I have heard concerning hell is this – ‘why would a loving God send humans to hell?’

The start of the answer to this is definitely that hell wasn’t created for humans in the first place, but it is by choice that some make it there. I have thought severally about this, too, and I have found fulfilment in this answer:

Heaven and hell are only an extension of our choices here on Earth. Heaven is the continuation of the decision to live by and for God. Hell is only an amplification of the life a person chooses to live without God. The fires may sound scary, but if you already live on earth without God, isn’t that hell? If you live on earth with God’s guidance and work to bring His will to performance, isn’t that heaven?

[tweet] The atmosphere will change once we leave the earth, true, but heaven or hell first begins within us, within you and me. [/tweet]

The atmosphere will change once we leave the earth, true, but heaven or hell first begins within us, within you and me. And if you’ve ever asked, ‘Why God would allow people He loves to go to hell’, the real question is, ‘Why would you want to spend eternity with Someone you spent your time on earth being disobedient and disrespectful to?‘ Does that seem enjoyable?’

Earth, here, is only a preparation for our eternal destination. The human mistake can be thinking that it all ends here. Or knowing that it doesn’t end here but living like it does.

Colossians 3:2, KJV, says, ‘Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ It means to travel lightweight in this world, free of worldly baggage. If your heart is where your treasure is, and your treasure is not in this world, then maybe you would not be so marvelled by this broken, broken world.

Maybe another time, I’ll write about the marvel that heaven is, how Earth pales in comparison, and how no one in their right mind would want to remain here over being with Him.

The choices we make on earth will reflect when we leave the earth. What choices are you making now? Do you choose Jesus every day?

I still think of death. I still wake up and make the decision to live like it’s my last day on earth – but not out of willful blindness. Not because I am trying to get rid of an unknown fear. Rather, He has taught me to number my days (Psalm 90:12) and redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16).

I will redeem the time until I see Him.

2 responses to “Heaven or hell?”

  1. Sydney Elike avatar
    Sydney Elike

    Hello, Favour.

    I’m reaching out to let you know how touched I was with this write-up.
    I stumbled upon your profile on Facebook and clicked the site attached to it.
    As a Christian who often ponders the consequences of our actions here on earth, I found that your thoughts on the subject really resonated with me.
    Like you, I have known grief and at some point wondered why a place like hell would even exist.
    The pandemic period was a moment of reflection and research for me and I got to understand God even more.
    There aren’t many people like you and I appreciate the work you’re doing.
    Thanks for echoing my thoughts and touching a stranger this Sunday morning.
    Wishing you a wonderful day.

    1. Maranatha avatar

      Hi Sydney 👋
      You’re so wonderful for taking your time to leave such a detailed and warm comment, thank you so much. I am glad that my thoughts on the topic of afterlife/eternity resonated with you and I hope that it helped you in more ways than one.

      God bless you and keep you. May you go even deeper in your knowledge and intimacy with Him 🫶

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