Heaven’s Hell

2 02 2009

that-thing-in-my-attic

Made in the image of God.

As sinful as Satan, himself.

You handsome devil, you.

Imagine if God had sent Jesus to Hell, to be ripped apart and destroyed, for no other purpose than to open the gates of Hell and unleash the dead and the devils upon the Earth.  It would seem senseless.  Rather, it would seem worse than senseless.  We would be left in shock and dismay, wondering why God would do such a thing.  Yet, Jesus did go to Hell to set the captives free.  That was after he came to Earth to set us free.  No doubt, the angels in Heaven did not know what to think of it.  Setting people free seems reasonable to the human mind, because we are people.  We see ourselves as entirely normal.  Devils are another matter, entirely.  However, what we must consider is that people aren’t in Hell because they’re good any more than the devils are.

An ordinary human is a devil relative to a holy angel.  Earth, likewise, is Hell, relative to Heaven.

line

Zero is an interesting number.  It is neither positive, nor negative, yet it is, conceivably, both.  It is the exact midpoint between positive and negative infinity.  Relative to infinity, all finite numbers are the same as zero, as every number is zero percent of infinity.  Everything in our world is finite, which means that this place is, effectively, the land of Zero.  Perfection, however, is an infinite thing that can be approached but never reached in our world, but perfection is exactly what one needs to reach the perfect world of Heaven.

That life in Heaven is grand and lasts forever is a thing that people can easily accept.  That life in Hell is horrible and also lasts forever is a thing that people have a very hard time accepting.  The only difference between the two, though, is that we like one and hate the other.  If Heaven can last forever, then so can Hell.  We say that people don’t deserve Hell, but we overlook that people also don’t deserve Heaven.  On a mathematical line, there are three points that matter most.  These are positive and negative infinity and zero.  If we see negative infinity as death, and positive infinity as life, then where we are is a world of life and death.  Our world has both good and bad, baby showers and funerals, fortune and misfortune.  The easier direction, though, is toward death.  Therefore, a simple line graph (above) may not do our plight justice, for it places both positive and negative infinity as equal opposites, whereas good and evil are not.

approach-1

From a human perspective, perfection seems not too difficult.  Human (h) approaches a mathematical point of perfection (X).  The word, “approaches” is a good choice, because that’s all it is doing.  We have nothing to measure the distance with, and no scale to base it on.  Our only frame of reference is other humans.  From the diagram above, the human would appear to be on a direct collision course with X.  However, what may actually be the case is that we’re standing too far back to tell.  Let’s zoom in a bit to see what really happens.

approach-2

Because X (perfection) is an infinitely small mathematical point, no matter how far in we zoom, it never appears any bigger.  The distance between X and the line of travel for h appears to get bigger as we look more closely at it.  Look closely enough, and h appears to miss it by a mile.  The reason that X is an infinitely small point, is because perfection is, by nature, an exact thing.  Therefore, only one exact path of travel can lead to perfection.  All others lead away.  Some religions teach that all paths lead to the same Heaven from all different directions, but this is misleading.  While it is true that different people may be coming from different backgrounds, giving a different direction of travel for each person, the precise endpoint can only be one thing, and the way to get there is an absolutely unique path of travel.  All others eventually lead away, no matter how close they come to the true course.  To get to a perfect point, one must follow a perfect path.

To put it on a more practical level, one might attempt to clean a very messy room.  Eventually, with enough work, one might even stand back and admire one’s own handiwork and call it perfect.  Then, bring out the magnifying glass, or, better yet, the microscope, and examine the surfaces of the place.  The immaculate room becomes a pig’s sty.  The closer one gets to perfection, the harder it is to get any closer, and the harder it is to see the difference.  In the earlier diagram, above, where h appears to be on a collision course with X, eventually, he arrives at a point where he thinks he’s perfect.

approach-3

Upon closer inspection, he realizes that X sits at coordinates 12.45235:34.97867, and that he’s at 12.45234:34.97870.  It looks the same from a distance, but it isn’t really the same.

approach-4

So he must refine his direction of travel and head straight toward X again.  Once again, he appears to be on a collision course with perfection, and the story repeats itself.  Like a fractal image, a person can zoom in forever.  In a sense, there really is no such thing as “close” when it comes to perfection.

Say you’re an angel in Heaven, and you’re already sitting at X, the point of perfection.  Looking at the human race, you see a pathetic exercise in futility.  Those who try to reach perfection never get there, and most aren’t even trying.  For the angels, the entire Heavenly realm is contained within that mathematical point.  Take the timeline and fast-forward all the way to the very end.  In fact, dispense with the finite thing altogether.  At one time a person dies and can no longer attempt to reach perfection.  The opportunity to refine or adjust his direction of travel ceases altogether.  He leaves the world of time and space, for time is a finite thing for finite people.  H runs its course, and will have ultimately accomplished one of two things.  Either it will have finally reached X, or it will have traveled forever away from it.  Either his direction of travel leads to X, exactly, or it leads away, infinitely.

A key component of this life is time.  The most definitive characteristic of time is the capacity for change.  All events are matters of change, and the pace of those events is relative to other events.  But most important is the opportunity for change.  In this life, we can change our course.  In the next life, we can not.  When h can no longer change direction, it will, unless by a miracle, point infinitely away from X.  Hell, therefore, is that destination, which is infinitely far from X.

Relative to Heaven, this is Hell.  Relative to the angels, we are devils.  To anyone standing exactly at X, all other points could be a few inches or a few light-years away; there is no practical difference.  One point is just as much not X as any other, except for X, itself.  Atheists ask why a loving God would allow so much evil in the world.  One might just as well wonder why there is so much evil in Hell.  Likewise, one might wonder why a God of justice would allow so much good in this world, for people who have not deserved it.  Relative to Hell, this is Heaven.  Relative to the devils, we are angels.  The miracle of Christ is that we have a point of reference and a divine way to Heaven, which we, otherwise, would never find on our own.  Left to our own efforts, we fail.  This finite life is a point somewhere between the perfect world of Heaven and an infinite distance away from it.  Because of this, there must necessarily be a mix of good and bad in life, and the propensity is toward bad.  Unguided, all things tend toward bad.  Random behavior makes a mess.  Beyond this life is the second birth…or the second death.  Either we become like the angels, or we become like the devils.

oldsig

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