10 Is Heaven for Everyone? - Eddy D’sa

posted Jul 5, 2018, 10:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 5, 2018, 10:42 AM ]
At the end of it all, after all the cynicism, hypocrisy and suffering, what will be our final destination? We start with this question—will everyone ultimately end up in heaven? Now the belief that everyone will ultimately be in heaven is what theologians call “Universalism”. It’s popular in our culture today to believe that all roads ultimately lead to heaven. The spiritual life is often pictured as a mountain, with heaven on top of the mountain, and every religion taking its own unique path up the mountain, but all paths end up at the same destination. But if that’s true, then it must be true that all religions without distinction ultimately end in heaven. When we think about that, it poses a problem, because Satanism is also a religion, as well as some religions that practise human sacrifice. These religions must also be equally valid ways of approaching God, if every road leads to heaven. In fact, we’d also have to include cultic groups like David Koresh’s Branch Davidians and the UFO cult Heaven’s Gate as equally valid ways to heaven. You see, if we can’t make distinctions between truth and error when it comes to religion, then we must include all religions, including ones that have practices that we find repulsive and immoral. Our spiritual beliefs end up being no more significant than ice cream flavours; they become strictly a matter of personal preference. In fact, even the road of non-religion must be an equally valid road.

Universalism also has another major problem. God has given us the freedom to reject His plan, the freedom to spurn His love, the freedom to reject His offer of heaven. So if everyone ultimately ends up in heaven, God must overpower some people’s will and force them to be there, even though they’d choose not to be. Oxford theologian Alister McGrath is exactly right when he says, "Universalism denies humanity the right to say NO to God."