Monday, April 28, 2014

Is Heaven for Real?

I saw the new movie, Heaven is For Real, on Saturday.

Loved it! The little boy was beyond adorable, and the family was down to earth. I loved that even
though the father was a pastor of a church, they had struggles like every family does. They struggled with kids, money, jobs, difficult people, and yes, they struggled with their faith too. Even when their son kept telling them visions he had of heaven, neither parent believed him. Yet slowly each of them had to deal with their own doubts and even question their own faith in eternity.

Is everything we believe about God and Jesus and Heaven real? Or are we just spouting myths to make people feel better? Is there a real place called Heaven where people go after death, where we walk and talk and live and breathe and eat and play and laugh just like we do here on earth? But without the pain and sorrow?  That's the question every theologian and nearly eery person throughout history has asked at one point.

Or is heaven some sort of weird spiritual consciousness we all just blend into together and lose our identities in a cloud of love and eternal existence?  Or is there a heaven at all? Are we just deluding ourselves into believing there is anything past this life?  Are God, Religion and Heaven just inventions of human thinking to keep us from giving up on everything? To keep us from behaving like animals because if this is it, what's the point? Didn't the atheist Karl Marx say that Religion was the opiate of the masses?

Yet throughout history people have declared that they have seen heaven or somehow visited heaven. Some, perhaps most, of these are hoaxes used to make money. But I sincerely believe that it's possible for God to give select people visions of heaven for certain purposes that only He knows.  The Apostle Paul himself visiting heaven.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven  And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter 2 Corinthians 12

It is widely believed Paul was referring to himself in this Scripture because he goes on to say he doesn't wish to boast.  The apostle John also visited heaven and describes his visions in the book of Revelation.

I know a man, a very Godly pastor in fact, who also says he was given a vision of Heaven. His name is John Fenn and is one of the pastors I study under. Yet, he doesn't use his vision to make money and he's not all over the news.  His vision of heaven and this young boy's in the movie were nearly identical. Also from what I know about heaven, I saw nothing in the movie that went against Scripture.

Some people are criticizing the movie because for all the talk of Heaven there was not one mention of how to get there. While I would agree with that, I would also point out that there was MUCH talk about Jesus. In fact, our Savior even made a few appearances. He's the one who took the little boy on his journey of heaven, in fact. He's also the one who introduced the boy to his sister in heaven.  Yes, it would have been good to specifically lay it out, but I believe there was enough information given for people to understand that it is through Jesus that one enters Heaven.

I saw an interview with this kid on Hanity the other day. He is 14 now and he was on with his father. Hanity asked him "So, does everyone get into Heaven?"  I stopped what I was doing to listen to the answer because based on this kid's answer, I was going to go see the movie or not go see it. This is what this 14 year old said.
"No. Only people who love Jesus are there."

All I have to say is Wow, what a great answer! It's the perfect answer. So many theologians and even Christians will say, you have to believe in Jesus and repent of your sins and receive his sacrifice for your sins. Right? Isn't that what we are taught? Yet how many people sit in church pews today who believe in Jesus but don't really know Him at all?  I would say many. But if you love Jesus, I mean truly love Him, that means you must know Him, and if you know Him then you must believe He exists and if you believe He exists and you know Him and love Him, then it follows that you are following Him and have been forgiven of your sins.

Ultimately whether you go to heaven or hell rests on how you feel about Jesus.

One more thought on the movie. One thing the kid said really struck me. It was something like "We don't have to ever be afraid. It's all going to work out."

That reminded me of that Scripture in Romans 8 that says "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose"

In other words, no matter what you are going through, sickness, unemployment, bad marriage, abuse, lost children, failed relationships, no money, etc. . .   no matter what, if you love Jesus, all of it will work out for your good in the end. And you'll spend eternity in a place like the kid described "Just like here but better."   I would add to that, MUCH MUCH Better!!

The painting at the beginning of this post is by a young girl who also claims to have gone to heaven. She paints her impressions of what she saw there. Her name is Akiane Kramarik

Your thoughts on heaven?



  1. Hi, Ms. Tyndall,

    Well, you've given me encouragement to check out this film. It sounds interesting. I was a little leery since I heard the CGI "Heaven" was a little....well....CGI! What did you think of it? Also, have you yet seen "Noah", "God Is Not Dead", or "Son of God"? If so, what did you think of them? And have you ever seen "The Robe"? That my personal favorite Easter epic!

    I am currently watching "Pilgrim's Progress: Journey to Heaven" which I'm afraid has totally underwhelmed me with cheesy CGI plus trying to modernize the glorious 17th century setting of Bunyan to our modern day. Very reminiscent of the modernized versions of Handel's operas :-/

    I don't think too much about what heaven will be like, actually, because I'm convinced it's gonna be better than I'm thinking, and I'm willing to say to God (If God willing I get that far!): "Just surprise me!" lol! If anything, I just think it will all be realer than real, and we will feel like we just woke up from a dream and now in the "real" world.

    Blessed Easter Season!

    Pearl of Tyburn

    1. Hi Pearl! Yes, I thought the CGI was a bit cheesy, but then again... how can anyone or anything possibly portray what this little boy saw. Heaven must be too glorious for us to even imagine. However, that didn't take away from the movie for me. I liked Noah, but found the rock angels stupid and silly. Otherwise, I thought (for Hollywood) they did an okay job. Hopefully it will get people to read the Bible. I also liked God is not Dead but it wasn't as well made as the other two and I wish they'd had more of the debate part instead of all the other parts.. also it seemed more like an advertisement for the Newsboys.. A bit corny and cheesy like most Christian films. It would be my least favorite of the three. And the Son of God was done really well I thought.., I just wish they'd had more scenes of Jesus's power over demons and the devil. He did SO MUCH of that while He was here.. I just don't get why people shy away from it. But I truly enjoyed all the films and am thrilled there seems to be an interest in Christianity again! May they bring many people to God. I saw The Robe years ago and loved it.! Haven't seen Pilgrim's Progress.

  2. Mon Apr 28th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Oh yes ... I'm a believer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I most definitely believe there is a Heaven ... no doubt about it ! My little finite brain cannot grasp all that Heaven will be like ... but it's sure to be more than amazing and awesome !!!
    I saw "Heaven is for Real", and absolutely loved it !!! The boy playing Colton's part was adorable ... and I also greatly enjoyed the actors playing the Dad and the Mom. Very real ... sharing all of the struggles and joys of a family life.
    Movie was so well done. Would recommend this movie to anyone.
    Next on the list: "God Isn't Dead" !!!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

    1. None of our little finite brains can fathom Heaven's beauty, Brenda.. I can't wait to meet you there one day!

  3. I believe in heaven and am thankful I made my 'reservation' years ago. Jesus is truly the only door in which to get there and I'm happy to hear this young man verifying that. I cannot even comprehend what it will be like. My mind is blown, by God's creation that only took Him six days to speak into existence. To try and picture what He's been preparing for us since He left this earth will be far more than my finite mind can take in. I do know that as I get older (even though I'm in my early 40's) and the more I see our world and country continue to push Him away.... I long to go more and more every day.

    1. Love the "reservation" Amy. That reminds me of the Lamb's book of life that God checks to see if our name is in there. Very cool... Like you I long to leave this world.. it's getting worse and worse by the minute.

  4. Ooooh, I really, really dislike the answer, “No. Only people who love Jesus are there.” I am glad he didn’t dodge the question, or give a Joel Osteen type answer, but I really think that is a horrible answer. Because if our salvation is dependent upon us loving Jesus, then every single human alive today is doomed to spend eternity in hell. None of us can ever or will ever love Jesus enough. And, it completely points to us and our works and away from Jesus. To be saved from the fires of hell, you have to realize that you need saving and are completely incapable of saving yourself. And then place your faith in the finished work of Christ on cross. He paid our ransom. It was because He loved us that we are saved, not the other way around. His love is perfect. My love is always broken, incomplete and can accomplish nothing. I am glad that my love has nothing to do with it.

    I haven’t read this book or seen the movie. My issues with things of this nature is that they are all subjective. This is one person’s experience, and while I love hearing other people’s testimonies and their experiences and how Christ brought them to a saving faith, they ultimately are just that, other people's experiences. I spent several years in despair because I felt like I wasn’t saved because I did not have some out of this world, mind blowing experience when I was converted. In fact, I can’t even remember exactly when I was converted. And that made me question whether or not I was actually saved. It wasn’t until I realized that some people have extraordinary experiences and others do not. I was converted by the preaching of the Word and Holy Sprit softening my heart to the Gospel. But, the modern church seems to push this idea that conversion has to be a huge, mind blowing event. It was mind blowing in the sense that Christ died for a wretch like me, but that is not what most people are talking about when they are talking about their incredible experience. The gospel is so simple and so amazing, that the simple preaching of it is enough to bring sinners to their knees in repentance and crying out for Christ to have mercy upon them. Christ works through simple means and amazing means, and too often we gloss over the simple means, and only focus on what our sinful flesh consider spectacular. But simple doesn’t sell no matter if you are trying to reach a secular audience or a Christian one.

    1. Emma, I respectfully disagree with you.. but that's okay, right? It's good to have discussions. I do see your point that our loving Jesus could be considered a kind or work, but I don't see it that way at all. To truly love someone you must know that person and to know that person you have to spend time with them. That's what I believe this boy was saying. It's not just a head believe in Jesus's sacrifice.. it's so much more. It's a relationship with Jesus. It's a heart relationship with Him. And yes. our flawed human love will never be adequate. We cant' work our way to heaven at all! But in receiving Jesus's sacrifice and following Him through our lives, we end up loving Him.. and that's just a by-product of our walk with Him. It's not something we do or force or conjure up. Even James said in James 2 that belief is not enough. Even the demons believe and tremble.
      Many many people didn't have a grand salvation experience.. and I completely agree with you on that point. Jesus does work through simple means with simple people and we too often focus on the spectacular. I'm sorry that you struggled with whether you were saved. I believe all of us have at one point dealt with doubts in that regard. Most people never experience the miraculous or extraordinary that this kid did.. but I believe God allowed him to experience it for our benefit and to bring others to Him. At least that is my prayer.. Hugs!

    2. I am not saying that you don’t have to love Jesus. I hope I didn’t come off as that way. It is just not my love for Him that saves me. Christ makes me love Him because of what He has done for me. I love Him with a very imperfect love. And my love for Him has nothing to do with my salvation, it is all about Him and His love. I love Him because He first loved me. It always, always points back to Christ, and never points to me. We do have to have a relationship with him, because most people who say they love Jesus have no idea who Jesus actually is. You can’t love Jesus unless you actually know about sin, and His atonement for our sin. I just hate the broad statement. I have several family member who would be saying “amen” right along with what this boy said, but they have no idea of who Christ really is. And I think you can have a relationship with him through His word, prayer, and the Sacraments. You don’t need all this extra stuff people try to throw into the mix nowadays. Thanks for the discussion!

  5. Hi, MaryLu!!

    I loved "Heaven is For Real", also!! And wasn't the little boy the cutest thing ever (well, except for our grandkids, LOL)?? I've never doubted there was a heaven since becoming a Christian at the age of 12. However, my view of heaven has greatly changed over the years as I have read and studied the Bible and other theologians views of it, and matured in my walk with God. I DO believe that heaven will be much like our existence now on earth - except without the sorrow and pain- and so much more beautiful and wonderful that it is far beyond our comprehension or explanation.

    I also believe that God DOES give some people visions of heaven and while they are perceived by many as miracles, so are multitudes of other things that He has created or done - that we observe every day, possibly without viewing them as such as we have become so accustomed to seeing/hearing them!! One has only to look at a newborn baby, or God's beautiful nature - to believe in miracles, my salvation and relationship with God and the fact that He speaks to me is a miracle in itself and given to me by the grace, sacrifice, and love of God!! Words can't describe my joyful anticipation of heaven!!

    Akiane is another who was chosen to be gifted with visions as a child - only God could have bestowed such a wonderful gift of painting as she has (along with a vision of Christ's face), especially to a child who had never heard the name of God/Jesus and living in an atheist household!! I have owned a coffee-table book of her testimony and paintings for a number of years now. I absolutely love hearing/reading stories of visions such as these and they are more wonderful reassurances of God's power, the gifts He has given us (including salvation), His love for us, and my need to live a life totally committed to Him!!

    Blessings, joy, peace, love, and hugs to you, this beautiful Spring day, MaryLu!!

  6. That's so cool that you are familiar with Akiane, Bonnie! The movie was the first I'd heard of her but I quickly went and found her website. I love her painting of Jesus. I can't wait to see Him in person!
    I agree that we probably miss a hundred miracles a day in all the little things God does for us.. things we just take for granted. But, like you, I love the visions.. the little glimpses into eternity! I just get so excited, I can hardly stand it. :-) Hugs