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Ask a Pastor: What happens to us after we die?

Question:

I have somewhat of a silly question… I’m going to explain where i got the idea and why i want to do it…


Where: I was watching a series called Lucifer (the devil yes) its a nice series just a bit….age restricted, maybe 14 or 15 years age restriction. And it goes about the devil that came to earth but with spiritual powers for example, he had wings as well as he couldn’t die or age. But the age part i think he just ages very very slowly…. Because in one episode it shows that he was alive in Hitlers time….


Why: There’s another series called “lost in space” it goes about how the earth was getting over populated and the people had to travel to Alpha Centuari to carry on living…but the year i don’t know when it takes place exactly…


Conclusion: I was thinking if maybe one day when i die and go to heaven praying and having faith that the lord will do it, send me back down to earth to live on life same as lucifer with wings and immortality to live out the events of the lost in space series.


I came to you to ask if maybe you think through praying, having faith, living life as a almost perfect christian that one day i will be able to.


Answer:

Friend: this is not a silly question – it shows you’ve been giving serious thought to these things. So let me try to give you an answer and then we can discuss it.


So, if I understand correctly, your question is about life after death – what will happen to us after we die. As you know, this is an area of great interest and many questions – also since there are no credible/verifiable reports from anyone who has died and returned to tell about it. So in truth, no one knows (factually) what will happen… hence the many opinions and much speculation. So it makes for great movies…


The Bible, however, is the only reliable (truthful) account that tells us what happens after death. It is true that the Bible cannot be verified “scientifically” (like gravity or electricity). But as you know, we believe (faith) that the Bible is God’s Word and that what God tells us in the Bible is true. This exclusive truth-claim is central to Christianity. If you believe it (God’s Word), you are a Christian. If you disbelieve it (doubt, reject, etc.), then you are not a Christian.

So the only truthful/reliable account of life-after-death is the Bible. And the Bible does speak to this area, but it only gives us some details. As a result, many Christians add their own opinions to the Bible’s account. These are not necessarily wrong, but equally there is no way to prove they are true and trustworthy.


So it is not surprising to find much speculation about the Devil – it makes for captivating movie plots. Are these movies true, or false, or partially true AND false? The only way to accurately answer this question is to test everything you hear/see with biblical truth, and then reject what is false.


What happens after we die? The new members class in our church deals with this subject (you can read the notes I gave your brother). Basically, there are two places for all people in the end after the Final Judgment: Hell and Heaven. Hell (according to the Bible) is a place of eternal punishment. Heaven (according to the Bible) is a new universe that is recreated by God.


What will the new creation be like? The Bible doesn’t give all the details. It is a place of beauty and righteousness, and we will perfectly worship God – the reason we were created in the beginning. What will we do in Heaven? Again, all the answers are not given – we need to trust God about the future. But we will be serving God, probably by working for Him, worshipping Him, enjoying His creation, etc.


Some have pictured Heaven as a “place up there” where everyone will do nothing but sing. But I think (my opinion, after reading the Bible) that it will be more like “beautiful heaven on perfect earth” (heaven come down, cf. Revelations 21) where we will work/serve God in righteousness and joy. It is clear the Devil will not be in God’s recreated heaven/earth, since according to the Bible he will be punished forever in hell.


Will we have wings in the new creation? I don’t know. The Bible says we will have resurrection bodies (1 Cor 15) – so there will be similarity to our present bodies, but also differences and improvements. The Bible also says we will then have immortality – we will live forever for God’s glory.


It is interesting to note that the Bible never encourages us to speculate or get distracted about dreams of the future glory. Rather, the word most common in the Bible when teaching about the future is “Be ready!” We are always told to be prepared in this life and be watchful for the Lord’s imminent coming for final judgement.


Let me say one more thing too about heaven: it is by grace that we receive the privilege to being “saved” from this sinful world (and our own sinfulness) and being welcomed to live with God forever in Heaven. We don’t earn it by working hard, or prayer hard, or doing good things as much as possible. No; that is impossible, because God demands perfection. But Jesus Christ lived perfectly and He died in the place of sinners – so He promises to forgive us and give us His own perfection. And this is the gospel: if you have Christ’s perfection (clothed with His righteousness), then you are welcome in heaven. But if you don’t have His righteousness, then you will be punished for your own sins in hell (like the Devil).

Thanks again for your question – a very interesting and important matter!


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