Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Heaven and hell, some numbers

There may be Biblical evidence that a lot more people will be with God forever than be separated from God.

First of all, there is the doctrine of the age of accountability (link). This doctrine is that people who die before an age where they can make an informed decision about Jesus automatically go to heaven. This also includes people with a mental disability or some other disability that prevents them from making an informed decision about Jesus (there's 'state' as well as 'age' of accountability).

This could be broadened to include some people who never hear about Jesus or who hear but not in a way that allows them to make an informed decision about Jesus (but if you say this, then there needs to be a reason why God wants us to tell people about Jesus, which is a problem for this view).

If you broadened it in this way, then most people who have ever lived will be in heaven, because until modern medicine the infant mortality rate was about 50% (source) and there have been a lot of people who have never heard the gospel.

Secondly, we must remember that after this age (which ends when Jesus returns) there is an 'age to come', where almost everyone will be Christian:

Isaiah 2:2-4: "In the last days, the mountain of the LORD's house will be the highest of all--the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob's God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore."

How many people will live in this age to come? Perhaps billions.

Thirdly, the good angels are happy forever and some interpret Revelation to say that 2/3rds of the angels stayed with God (Rev 12:4). Now, if there are billions of angels, then that is a large number of people who will be happy with God forever.

But what about verses like Matthew 7:13-4?:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Maybe this verse is saying that it's a narrow gate to heaven for people who a) become adults that b) can make an informed decision about the gospel that c) live in the current age. That is, our group, where the decision to accept Jesus is fraught with uncertainties and difficulties not present with the other groups. It could be that our group has the lowest proportion of people in that group going to heaven (compared to people outside the age/state of accountability, people in the age to come, and angels). If this speculation is accurate, then it raises the question of why we are in this group!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home