Before I start, those that know me and have read some of my other work, realize that I like to hypothesize and ponder different points and ideas. It does not mean I agree or disagree with an idea. Sometimes this confuses people just learning about Our Creator or those that are not truly secure in their faith. My intent is not to confuse nor hinder but rather explore the possibilities of an idea. Some of the areas below will not be biblical but rather opinion based, I will try to make the distinctions clear. As with many of my writings, I ask not that anyone agree with it, but simply consider the strengths and weaknesses of the information presented. Reevaluating areas of ones faith that may need refining and strengthening the areas that are pure.
A common belief that is taught (directly and indirectly) these days is that when we die that is it. There was nothing before we were born and nothing of us that will exist after we die. According to the teaching, all we are, everything we will ever be, is what we have right now, while we are alive in this mortal body.
There are a lot of opinions and ideas as to what happens to someone after death. However, I want to explore a possibility about what happens to someone that does not believe in Our Creator in any shape form or fashion; what happens to those that totally dismiss God as a Myth?
A common verse that is quoted and most likely everyone has heard is
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
and seems like a very good place to start.
The first very important thing to note about this verse is that it tells how one obtains ever-lasting life, how to keep ones soul from being destroyed. It DOES NOT say how one gets into heaven.
Read the verse closely . . .
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,
that “whoever”, some versions say “whosoever”, others say “everyone that”
believes in him,
should not perish (Cease to exist/be destroyed),
but have everlasting life.
The verse does not say you have to follow Jesus, nor do you have to accept Him as your Savior, you just have to accept/believe IS The Son of God. Which of course would also mean one accepts that there is A Supreme God that sent Jesus.
It is very important to understand that point. Because, the devil and all the demons have everlasting life but they are obviously not making it into heaven. Yet they all believe that Jesus IS the Son of God.
For instance, in Mark chapter 5, Luke chapter 8 or Matthew chapter 8 where Jesus was entering the country of the Gadarenes and came across a man (some translations say two men) possessed by many demons. The demons call themselves “Legion” since there were so many demons in the man.
Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee torment me not.
(Other verses stating what the demons said are Mark 5:7 and Matthew 8:29)
Note the part of the statement “thou Son of God most high”. This statement is very important to pay attention to. For obviously the demons accepted and believed that Jesus is the Son of God. However they did NOT accept Him as their Savior.
A verse in the book of James that is much more direct about the point:
James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and tremble.”
As we know Satan and the demons have eternal life. But why? Could it, amazingly, be the all-encompassing Love of Our Creator? That WHOSOEVER, ANYONE, EVERYONE be it saint, sinner, angel or even the demons WHOEVER believes in Him shall have ever lasting life. Again, it is very important to note, I really want to make this distinction very clear, the verse DOES NOT say believing in Him will get anyone into heaven, it simply says our souls will have everlasting life.
This brings us back to the original question. If one must at least accept that God exists to have ever-lasting life, what happens when one rejects the idea totally and firmly 100% believes that there is no God? What happens to someone that truly believes The Bible is fiction, there was no Savior, and there is nothing that happens after this life?
Something that surprises many people, The Bible says that Jesus IS NOT the judge of people that do not believe in him.
In John 12:47-49, Jesus is speaking:
John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken from myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
While Jesus may not be the judge of non-believers as it says in John 12:47 “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not”, non-believers are still going to be judged. For verse 12:48 says non-believers get “their own special judge”: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him”.
So who is that judge?
The last part of John 12:48 says, “the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”. With John 12:49 implying that the judge may very well be God Himself.
However that is a little cryptic for my taste. For most parts of The Bible tend to be fairly clear and straightforward once we understand all the subtle references.
It seems a little strange that Jesus would say that His word (or the word that His Father commanded him to speak) would be the judge of the nonbeliever. How could words, something that is inanimate either spoken or written, be a judge?
Throughout The Bible, there seems to be a limitation to what Jesus could do, not would do, but COULD do, based on the faith of the people he was dealing with.
For instance two extremely different examples, one regarding lack of faith the other showing great faith. Both of which caused Jesus to “marvel”, be surprised, or maybe simply deem the free will choices of the people involved remarkable.
In Mark chapter 6, it talks about Jesus could do no mighty work because of the peoples unbelief. While he wanted to help everyone Jesus could not because the people did not have faith or were not willing to accept His glory. He could only do as much as the person was willing to believe he was able to do. Or perhaps more appropriately stated, the people could only receive as much of Jesus’s Glory as THEY believed Jesus could give to them.
Mark 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick persons, and healed them.
Mark 6:6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went around the villages teaching.
On the other hand in Matthew chapter 8, a centurion had such great faith in Jesus that the centurion was certain that Jesus could heal his servant without even being in the same location, no need to touch or even lay his hands on the sick person as Jesus did in most other instances.
Matthew 8:5 And when Jesus had entered into Capernaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him,
Matthew 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick with the palsy, grievously tormented.
Matthew 8:7 And Jesus saith to him, I will come and heal him.
Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant will be healed.
Matthew 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Matthew 8:11 And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into utter darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said to the centurion, Depart; and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And his servant was healed in the same hour.
Two very different examples showing how our own belief, in what The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit can do in our lives really does directly effect what they are able to do for us, or maybe more correctly stated, what we allow ourselves to receive. Perhaps the statement in Matthew 8:13 is really the key: “. . . as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. . . . ”
Could our own faith, or lack of faith, effect how long or even IF our soul exists after the death of our body?
The Bible does talk about what happens to non-believers, however the text seems to be a little different than most groups teach. While I believe my interpretation is valid, being a mere human, I will admit to the possibility that I could be interpreting the text incorrectly. Either way, right or wrong, I do believe the idea is worth considering.
Revelations 21:8 seems to be fairly clear about the fate of the unbelievers.
Revelations 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and lewd men, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Most people confuse the lake of fire (the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone) with hell and eternal torment, which it is not. Hell and the Lake of Fire are two very different and distinct locations.
This is clearly stated in Revelations 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.”
Revelations 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelations 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Since hell will at some point in the future be cast into the Lake of Fire Revelations 20:14 it clearly shows that they cannot be the same location.
Hell is the location of torment. The lake of fire is the location where everything cast into it is destroyed and comes to an end.
How could all this fit together, to explain how an Atheist could be correct about their being nothing at the end of their life?
My hypothesis is:
At some point perhaps even before the angels were created or before anything existed except Our Creator, God gave His word, regardless of any free will choice to follow Him or not, if anyone, if any entity (spirit, angel, saint, demon, human, etc) simply believes that He is God that they will have eternal life. However, as time went on and the universe was created, we eventually started taking for granted that graciously loving gift of eternal life, forgetting who granted it to us or in some cases forgetting that the gift even exists. Thus, the reminder in John 3:16 that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. However, if one does not believe, totally rejecting God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit, “the word”, the promise, the one single condition of God which grants eternal life, will be the judge of the non-believer, at the death of the physical body.
At the time when the soul separates from the physical body, the first death, there is apparently a moment after death when “the records are checked” to see if ones name is found in The Book of Life (revelations 20:15). During which time many things could happen. Many people say they saw their life flash before their eyes during near death experiences. Perhaps the soul of the non-believing person is shown all the possibilities of what might have been during their life, and maybe after death as well, had the person simply believed in God. Not follow His teaching nor even accepting Jesus as Our Savior but all the differences that could have been in their life by simply believing God exists.
However, because the person does not believe that there is any god or anything after this life, their name is obviously not found in the book of life, and thus their soul is destroyed in the lake of fire, the second death.
Regardless if one believes that the soul is literally destroyed by fire, dissipates, simply ceases to exist or even if through lack of faith the soul (“the mist” that makes us alive) ends when the body dies, sadly the Atheist does seem to be correct. According to The Bible after the death of their body, because of the word/promise Our Creator made and their disbelief; there really is nothing of the Atheist’s soul that exists after death.
Or perhaps, there is another much simpler explanation to why atheists could be correct with their faith/believe that there is nothing after death, that of all one is, everything one will ever be, is what one has right now in this mortal body. Remember what Matthew 8:13 said, “ . . . as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee . . . ”
Some might think that is ok if everything ends right after the death of our body, it’s quick and easy. Though this is hardly the easy way out. For what could be worse than realizing just before ones soul is obliterated, that had the person simply changed one single thing, one single idea, not even an action just a single ever so simplistic idea, one could have had everlasting life?