Posts tagged ‘Heaven’

November 7th, 2013

CS Lewis’ Idea of Heaven

by Max Andrews

Pleasures are to last forever in some form or another.  According to Lewis, a pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.[1] This full knowledge and complete fruition of pleasure will only be in the fulfillment of one’s telos.  This lapse in knowledge, the separation between the subject and object (the epistemic gap between the subject and the object of desire that full one’s pleasures) is removed in heaven.  In Narnia, The Last Battle is the battle of the real forms—a draw to a close between this epistemic gap.  Digory, looking at the new Narnia, seeing that it is a fuller, more real version of the old Narnia, comments that, “It’s all in Plato, all in Plato.”[2]  Lewis’ Platonism is one in which ideas becomes concrete forms.  In heaven, Lewis says, is where heaven is a place where subject and object come together: thought and form become one when subject experiences object.[3] 

July 31st, 2013

Purgatory: Do Our Souls Demand it?

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest post by Shaun M. Smith. Shaun is a Masters level student of philosophy and a Graduate Assistant serving as an online philosophy instructor for Liberty University. I do not agree with Shaun’s position and this is not an endorsement of his views.

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There is no doubt to me, or perhaps to any Protestant Christian, the term “purgatory” is followed with such nail biting disgust.  Seemingly so, almost every Protestant dismisses the doctrine without even coming close to understanding the essential nature and properties of the doctrine of purgatory.  Due to the Catholic Church’s overly corrupted use of such a doctrine, most in western theology have grown bitter towards the doctrine of purgatory, as Martin Luther once did (perhaps, rightly so!). 

May 20th, 2013

Q&A 23: Heaven, Paradise, and Resurrection

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hi Max!

I’m in your philosophy class. I have been trying to process what we talked about in class today and I am stuck on something you said. You mentioned briefly that you do not believe there is a Heaven and Hell yet and that we all go to Paradise until God makes the new heaven and new earth. So under your view point do non-Christians go to paradise until they are judged? Where are you basing this off in the Bible? What exactly is Hell then and where are Satan and his demons now? What about those who have already died who are not Christians? I have never heard this concept before and I’d love to hear your expanded version.

The whole idea of paradise is very interesting. I grew up thinking when we die we go to heaven then the Lord creates a new heaven and new earth where we actually live forever. But paradise..as kind of a waiting place is interesting. The point I am stuck on is when you said that believer and unbeliever go to paradise.

My first thought was in Numbers 16 when Korah rebelled. How the Lord opened up the Earth and it says they fell into Sheol. They were taken down to Sheol with their family (realm of the dead as NIV says it). In your view is that a place where demons and Satan reside and not unbelievers and that was just a special case?

Also, when Jesus was on the cross, why did he only turn to the one criminal and say that you will join me in paradise if both non-believer and believer go there? It would make sense for him to say that to the one criminal only if he was going to paradise and the other one wasn’t.

But then what exactly is paradise if both non-believer and believer are there? Wouldn’t it confuse non-believers because then they think that they are actually in heaven and that they won’t be going to hell? The passages I have found that mention paradise are very vague especially Paul’s little side note about 3rd heaven). Revelation 20:11-15 also talks about “and Hades gave up the dead that were in them….” The context of this passage talks about the judgment of the dead but how do you see this passage in light of your view on their being no Hell currently?

Thanks,

Becky A.

May 17th, 2013

Why this Life First? Why not Heaven?

by Max Andrews

This is a legitimate question. The claim that God could have created us in the state of heaven avoiding all this evil and suffering in the world is a nuanced version of the problem of evil.  If we are going to heaven and our telos, our purpose and end, is to worship God and enjoy him forever in heaven then why didn’t God skip this earthly step?  Surely, one may think that there’s a possible world in which we all exist in heaven.  It’s my contention that the instantiation of heaven alone is not a possible world.

Aside from other theodicies and defenses such as soul-making, perhaps the most relevant to this question, I think it’s critical to understand that heaven isn’t some lone possible state of affairs by itself.  Heaven is, necessarily, a contingent state of affairs.  It’s a consequent, if and only if, there are prior antecedent conditions or states of affairs.  Heaven is a result of our choices during this life.  In other words, this earthly life is a necessary condition for heaven to be brought about (aside from the salvific will of the Father and saving power of Christ, I’m merely stating that this life must precede heaven.

May 22nd, 2012

CS Lewis and Heaven

by Max Andrews

Pleasures are to last forever in some form or another.  According to Lewis, a pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.[1]  This full knowledge and complete fruition of pleasure will only be in the fulfillment of one’s telos.  This lapse in knowledge, the separation between the subject and object (the epistemic gap between the subject and the object of desire that full one’s pleasures) is removed in heaven.  In Narnia, The Last Battle is the battle of the real forms—a draw to a close between this epistemic gap.  Digory, looking at the new Narnia, seeing that it is a fuller, more real version of the old Narnia, comments that, “It’s all in Plato, all in Plato.”[2]  Lewis’ Platonism is one in which ideas becomes concrete forms.  In heaven, Lewis says, is where heaven is a place where subject and object come together: thought and form become one when subject experiences object.[3]  Thus, the object one predicates pleasure to is in full knowledge and the ignorance–the lapse–is removed.

April 13th, 2012

Why Didn’t God Just Create Heaven First?

by Max Andrews

This is a legitimate question. The claim that God could have created us in the state of heaven avoiding all this evil and suffering in the world is a nuanced version of the problem of evil.  If we are going to heaven and our telos, our purpose and end, is to worship God and enjoy him forever in heaven then why didn’t God skip this earthly step?  Surely, one may think that there’s a possible world in which we all exist in heaven.  It’s my contention that the instantiation of heaven alone is not a possible world.

Aside from other theodicies and defenses such as soul-making, perhaps the most relevant to this question, I think it’s critical to understand that heaven isn’t some lone possible state of affairs by itself.  Heaven is, necessarily, a contingent state of affairs.  It’s a consequent, if and only if, there are prior antecedent conditions or states of affairs.  Heaven is a result of our choices during this life.  In other words, this earthly life is a necessary condition for heaven to be brought about (aside from the salvific will of the Father and saving power of Christ, I’m merely stating that this life must precede heaven.

This also leads to a very important question: How does God guarantee that there will be no evil among the saved in heaven?  This is a very tough question and here are a few possible answers to consider.

April 19th, 2011

A Philosophical Case for the Existence of Hell

by Max Andrews

Questions about hell have permeated cultural discussions recently, primarily at the rise of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins.  I’m not going to look at Scriptural evidences or passages for hell; rather, I’m going to take concepts and allow them to develop on their own (I would argue that this is consistent with Scripture).  For more on the Scriptural case for hell I would recommend Four Views on Hell.  I’ll be working with an idea argued by William Lane Craig (here, here, and here).

Let’s start with God being a maximally perfect being, that which nothing greater can be conceived.  He is perfect in every way and his perfections do not and cannot contradict.  Humans freely do morally wrong actions.  This would include not doing what we ought to do and doing what we ought not to do. These sins are wrongs against an ontologically perfect being.  If God is just and justice is a moral principle to attain (such that being fair is a virtue), then God must compensate for the wrong.  There must be atonement.  There are consequences for every action, good and bad.  Good actions are rewarded and bad actions are punished (what these rewards and punishments are don’t necessarily have to be defined, it’s just that there are consequences).  Let’s modestly assume that sins require finite punishments.  I will deny Thomas Aquinas’ position that one finite sin requires an infinite punishment because it was done against an infinite God.  I’ll take a more modest approach (I’m not necessarily saying that Thomas is wrong either).

Based on experience, I believe there is sufficient warrant to believe that some people who have not had their sins atoned for by Jesus Christ die without atoning for their sins in this lifetime.  In the afterlife, this person must atone for his own wrongs in order for God to be perfectly just.  Each sin warrants a finite punishment; however, this person will not cease to sin in the afterlife since he has not had his sins atoned for by Christ.  He will not be ushered into a state of beatitude (which can be warranted based on rewards and the concept of justice and the moral beatification of atonement).  Because this person continues to sin he will always receive respective punishment for each sin and if there are a[n] [potential] infinite set of sins then the duration with last without end as well.  Punishment without beatification (because this person chose to atone for his own sin) will be eternal by the successive addition of sins.  Sins imply punishment, so an infinite duration of punishment is warranted as well.

I don’t believe this contradicts God’s love for this person either.  I’m assuming that God genuinely desired this person to be atoned for by Christ but this person freely rejected the propitiatory substitutional atonement.  By rejecting that loving offer, the only alternative, by the necessity of justice, is to atone for his own sins.  Yes, love wins and Christ’s atonement is that love, but let’s not forget that justice win’s as well since God’s attributes are equally perfect.