It’s one or the other – Heaven or Hell. Or is it?


Our mind can only operate within the framework of what is often called “dualism,” which is perceiving the world through a grid of binary opposition: up/down; right/left; good/bad; happy/sad; cold/hot; day/night; etc…

Dualistic thinking is not a problem when it comes to basic human cognitive functioning. However, there is a limit to what can be known in this framework, and when we impose it on spiritual truth it becomes a problem.

Perhaps one of the most dualistic views of the Christian religion is: Heaven/Hell. In this dualistic understanding, Heaven is viewed as a perfect state of being or a perfect paradise with no pain, no suffering, no disturbance, no discomfort, no difficulty, no problems, no hardships… just complete perfection. On the other hand, Hell represents the opposite – eternal conscious torment.

Can you see the dualism in that? It’s one or the other – Heaven or Hell.

Jesus did not subscribe to this dualistic view. The primary message of Jesus was, “The kingdom of God has come.” Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was here and now. In other words, God’s kingdom – the reality of love, peace, freedom, well-being, wholeness, security, contentment – is present and available in the context of the human reality and condition. This is a non-dualistic truth that Jesus taught. Our mind can’t grasp this because we think of our options as:

a) Be on earth and be miserable
b) Die and go to Heaven and be perfectly happy
c) Die and go to Hell and be eternally tormented

Jesus says, d) None of the above. Jesus’ answer was living in the reality of God’s kingdom HERE and NOW. If you took Jesus’ words to be true, leaving this world would actually be leaving God’s Kingdom because Jesus said the Kingdom of God has come. That’s good news! You don’t have to wait to die and go to Heaven for the good stuff!

But the mind can’t accept this. Why? Because it can only comprehend one or the other. It can’t conceive of both at the same time.

Jesus main message was, “Repent for the kingdom of God has come.” The word “repent” does not mean to be sorry for your past wrongs or to turn away from a life of sin. The word “repent” (metanoia) means “beyond the mind” or beyond the way we typically process reality. In other words, Jesus said that the kingdom of God is here but you can’t get to it in the same way you are accustomed to knowing things or figuring them out. Metanoia involves a deep inner shift in terms of how one perceives what is real.

The attraction of the dualistic view on this matter is that you don’t have to do anything and can absolve yourself of personal responsibility. Right? All you have to do is die and go to Heaven. This is why Jesus said that the path to truth is a narrow road. People prefer the path of least resistance, and are willing to suffer terribly in the process. We all know Frost was right, taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Latest Comments

  1. Glenn says:

    Jim – We tend to like easy, “either, or” solutions to our dilemmas. It let’s us know who is in and who is out. Then we can feel good about ourselves.

  2. Paul Melson says:

    Well Said!

  3. Ian Williams says:

    The Hell myth is right up there with the Bible trap. But God has combined all in captivity so that He might have mercy to all.

    15. And he said, “The Age (of the Old Testament) has ended, and the Kingdom of God has arrived. Repent and believe in the Hope [of the Kingdom.]

    True repentance, as I am given to know, is to exchange your mind – your pearls for His Pearl. Your opinion for His righteous judgment.

    The kingdom of God is a state of being – it does not come by the observation of the Law – it is peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. It is the transcendent reality of the Spirit.

    If I may share a testimony. Back in 2001, during a period of intense personal revival, I was one night at a prayer meeting in the City of Christchurch, New Zealand The folk there had been talking about going up to our major City where Creflo Dollar was to be preaching. We were standing around toward the end of the night, eyes closed and just soaking in the Presence when I asked within whether I should go too.

    Immediately I had an open vision. I was standing in an open fronted freight elevator, next to the man who convened the meetings (who was actually standing next to me physically), and I was looking out across a vast throng of people in the ground floor of a huge square building. I “knew” (as you do) that they were Catholics.

    The elevator began to ascend, and at each successive level were ever evolving levels of Christianity, or perhaps Churchianity. We then came to what I was told was the 10th level of the Tower, wherein was Creflo and his congregation, and I heard, “This is where he has established himself, where he has spread out, however, this is not for you”, and at that, the elevator took off at a withering speed and came out in a place where stretched before me as far as the eye could see was a vast prairie like field, sown with what looked like wheat.

    I heard, “This is where i want to take you.” I looked to my right and my friend had gotten off at the 10th level.

    I was later to understand that this field was the kingdom, the potential that was within me in Christ, my heavenly treasure or unrealized resource. I got the sense that while on the surface it may have appeared to be undeveloped, that there was enough grain there to feed the world with the Bread of Life.

    What most call Church is in fact Kirke, or Babylonian Mystery cult Christendom – and it is all Catholic or Universal – the family tree (of knowledge of good and evil) of Leviathan and of Kirke and any one of the millions of names the devil and his mob have taken.

    Come out from among her – she is going to fall – and the merchants and the captains will weep from afar at her fall, as they all grew rich by the luxuries of her inward frills (that’s from the Aramaic scriptures). She is just an old whore from way back.

    Jesus did not say to build towers, he told us to count the cost of our futile tower building. What does it profit a man, if he should gain all the world has to offer and yet lose (sight of) his soul? Jesus is our Strong Tower, our fortress, our defense.

    Jesus said that “MY Kingdom (My Government) is NOT OF THIS WORLD”. It is of the inner life, the inner man, the conscience and Christ in us, the DNA of God, the True Vine (look at a DNA molecule and think Vine). 0(:->)

  4. Truth in Reality says:

    Thanks for this but wonder how in this context you would interpret Revelations 3:15-16:

    “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

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