Just a midweek question for anyone to answer–What are the biggest factors in your life that prevent you from sharing your faith, and what strategies have you implemented to avoid them?
“There is no heaven without hell, which means that God had to create hell to create heaven.”
There are several issues with this statement, but let’s start at the beginning of this sentence—“there is no heaven without hell”. Many Christians will actually agree with this statement, which I find interesting. At first it seems very true, but if you question it a little you might be able to see the flaws.
Firstly, the gist of this statement is saying that “if it doesn’t have an opposite, the thing doesn’t exist.” Which is quite an odd statement. If light didn’t exist, we wouldn’t say “well there is no darkness, because light doesn’t exist.” There would still be darkness, absolutely. It would just be much, much harder to see. If there was only darkness, we would never know anything else, and we wouldn’t have any perception of what darkness was, which I think is very different from saying darkness doesn’t exist. If there was no hell, heaven would still exist, we would just perceive it differently than we do now.
In Genesis 1:1 it says “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and that is all there was. Remember how he then separated the light from the dark, and the land from the waters, and he grew plants and created animals? It says nothing about “and God separated the heaven’s from the hells, and then he made puppies and evil puppies, and he made good animals and bad animals.” Do you know what is said about everything God created? God’s catchphrase in this first book of the Bible is “AND IT WAS GOOD.” God saw all that he had made and it was good. God saw the plants, and they were good, and the waters, and they were good, even the darkness, and it was good (Side note: if we didn’t have darkness, when would we sleep? Sleep is definitely good. I agree with God on this one). Everything at this point in the Bible is good, and guess what? No mention of hell yet. Everything is amazing! And that doesn’t mean that the good doesn’t exist, because it obviously still does. Everything is good! God says it’s good! We say it’s good! Good is everywhere and there is no evil! In fact, the word “evil” isn’t used until Genesis 2:9, when God creates the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This is what brings me to my second point… “which means God had to create hell to create heaven”
This tree is a highly debatable subject amongst many scholars and I won’t try to touch it because I’m not a baby genius (sadly). However, I will say that speculation on this tree goes into speculation of God’s intentions, which is extremely dangerous ground considering different theologies and varying views in different churches. I will, however, give you my opinion, which I have to stress is different from a lot of other opinions and even different from the opinions of some theologians who are much smarter than me. But I digress.
To me (and many others), the idea of this tree is to present us with the knowledge of good and evil and to give us free will to choose whether we would obey God or be selfish and go on our own, which is super cool of him because free will is something that I (personally) absolutely love. It doesn’t seem very practical of him, to give us free choice, but he loved us enough to give us an opportunity to disobey him. He put an extreme, insane amount of trust in us because he loved us and wanted the best for us.
So of course this is where we messed it up, right? God loves us and trusts us and gives us this insane opportunity, and then this snake is like “dude hey God is keeping things from you, he doesn’t really love you he just wants to feel better about himself” and we were like “I knew it! This guy who created everything for us is lying to us and being mean! We should have known!” and then we ate the apple… and NOW we’re NUDE. Like, completely naked.
Also we just betrayed the guy who would later go on to die for us, love us unconditionally, and give us everything we need… But we’re more concerned about our naked butts than betrayal of the Lord of Hosts.
So we sew fig leaves, and we hide and we lie.
Did God create evil there?
I’ll let you decide. In my opinion, he didn’t. Look at all the evil in the world—who is doing it? Look at thieves and murderers, wars, weaponry and politics. God isn’t doing those things. God isn’t sitting behind a desk having nuclear bombs dropped on innocent civilians, God isn’t shooting at schools, he’s not abusing and losing and intimidating. Who’s doing that?
Who’s egging us on? Some little snake who slithers and hisses about how if we just do one more thing against God, if we just inch a little further away from him, we will be happy. (What a jerk. I hate him. I hope he loses the final battle.)
But God isn’t behind the evil in the world, because we did the first bad thing. We threw the first stone, we got egged on by a lunatic and committed sins. In fact, we committed a lot of unforgiveable sins, but that’s a subject for a later paper.
So in conclusion, (because this is how my tenth grade English teacher taught me to finish a paper) there is a heaven without a hell. There is good without evil, and light without dark, it is just much harder to see without the opposite extreme. And even so, God didn’t create evil, we let it in. We didn’t let it in once tens of thousands—or even millions—of years ago, we let it in every single day and with every single breath. But God forgives us, and I’ll write about that in a later paper. God created heaven, but there is no way a good and perfect God created hell. Hell is something that we allowed to happen through sin.
1 John 4: 7-9
I hope you enjoyed, have a great weekend
Signed LJ Castle, 2018
Hey all! My name is LJ and I am super excited to start this site. I wanted to create a small domain where I answer common questions atheists–and other Christians–have about Christianity. I do try to be objective and not discuss anything I’m not qualified to, given that I’m not a theologian or scholar. I am just a real-time student who is trying to figure out her faith in imperfect ways. I’m not the best Christian, I haven’t studied the Bible extensively, but I have my basis of knowledge and I would love to share it. So if you have questions for me–great! If you disagree with my theology, let me know! Jesus is my favorite conversation topic, and no matter what your opinions I would love to have an open discussion with you. I hope you enjoy this site!