“Good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell…”
…you will find this myth in nearly every religion except one: Christianity. Christianity says “There are no good people (Romans 3:9-20); therefore Hell, apart from Divine intervention, is the Destination for ALL people.”
I should also mention that, in not a few religions, good and evil are considered two essential halves of the same whole (or two sides of the same coin, depending on where you grew up)…two equals that are eternally intertwined (yin and yang, darkness and light, etc.). The implication is that good cannot exist without evil anymore than evil exists without good.
It all goes back to the Garden (you remember the story)…
God planted a garden east of where He created Man and Woman, then placed the Man and Woman in the garden and assigned them the task of tending the garden.
In the garden God placed scores of trees, each tree providing some kind of fruit or vegetable that would nourish the Man and his wife.
In the center of the garden God plants two “special” Trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eating of the Tree of Life guaranteed immortality; eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil guaranteed death.
Because the Man and Woman partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, access to the Tree of Life was taken away, the Man and Woman were driven from the garden AND EVENTUALLY DIED.
And here you have, in a few ancient, Deity-inspired words, the entire history of our species.
For you see, my Friend, we are all BORN DEAD…we are “zombies” from birth. We have no perception of God, no appreciation of God, no need for God, no desire for God and very little likeness of God left where it counts: in our character. All we have left is a rather subjective sense of good and evil, right and wrong, justice and fairplay that is completely biased by each soul in its own favor.
Our concept of righteousness is relative. We tell ourselves “I’m not as bad as (fill in the blank) and I’m not as fanatical as (fill in the other blank…notice that really good people are not considered role models, but ‘fanatics’), therefore I’m ‘OK’ and in the After-Life (if there is an After-Life) I’ll be OK as well.”
I suppose it’s not our fault; We’ve never witnessed REAL Holiness or Righteousness because WE’VE NEVER SEEN GOD FACE-TO-FACE. None of us has ever been consumed with the Presence of a LOVE so bright, so hot and so intense as to melt mountains (Psalms 97:5; Micah 1:4).
Yet (believe it or not), there was a time when men and women walked with God…and were not consumed. When God appeared to Moses from the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-6) He was sending us two messages: one about the past, when Mankind knew God Face-to-face, and one about the future when, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, that precious, living Fellowship between Humanity and God would once again be restored.
For the Tree of Life, which is ABSOLUTELY INCOMPATIBLE with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, represents the GOD-LIFE…the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD Himself…the very fuel that the Godhead Itself “runs” on. That’s why He is called in the Bible the LIVING GOD (Deuteronomy 5:26; Psalms 42:2; Jeremiah 10:10; 2nd Corinthians 3:2-4).
You cannot obtain this LIFE by meditation, mantra, will power, being in the right bloodline or even living a “good” life (John 1:6-13). You can only receive this LIFE by hearing the God Emperor Jesus Christ speak to you and receiving that Living Word into your heart by Faith (Romans 10:5-13). That Living Word is the Lord Jesus Christ Who, like the first Man, was born without a human father.
“Even if what the Bible says about Jesus is true, how does ‘believing’ in Him accomplish so much in me?”
That depends on what you mean by “believing”…
…the demons KNOW that what the Bible says about Jesus is true (Mark 1:34); yet they do not “believe in” Him. When I say “I believe in Jesus” I am saying “I believe in Jesus MORE THAN I BELIEVE IN MYSELF.”
Ahhhhhhhhh! You understand now, don’t you? When Adam and Eve disregarded God’s command forbidding them to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil THEY BECAME GODS TO THEMSELVES, relegating the One True God to the role of an advisor…sound familiar? Even in the Professing Church of Jesus Christ, there are those who believe that Salvation is a decision that THEY made…rather than a decision that GOD MADE ABOUT THEM! And they spend the rest of their lives thinking that they’re “saved” when, in reality, they’re just as damned as everyone else.
I don’t believe that there was anything special or magical about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil APART FROM GOD’S COMMAND TO NOT EAT OF IT. The change in Mankind’s heart came when they placed their wisdom above God’s Word.
I know you have a lot to think about, so I’m going to stop here, and say that JESUS IS IN LOVE WITH YOU; but He’s not going to give up being God so that you can worship yourself. With all of your intelligence, wisdom, education and experience YOU ARE AS DEAD AS A BROKEN-OFF TREE BRANCH WITHOUT CHRIST.
(LISTEN to this blog-post on any of TEN podcast platforms!)