Earlier I have written posts called Love First and Love Now. Now I have to write a post called Love Last. This is probably for some the most controversial of the three posts, since it communicates an inclusive view on the afterlife and eternity. So if you want to hold on to your traditional view of Heaven and Hell, or if you would like not to be provoked, read no further. And for the rest, keep your minds and hearts open.
We have heard that the Christian message is the Gospel, also called the Good News. Now in my later years after going through valleys of darkness, the thinking, reading, listening and rethinking has brought me out into an open landscape of, in my view, truly good news.
Karl Forehand, a friend of mine and an author of several books, and among them the book Apparent Faith, asks the question, can God’s love be any less than the parent’s love for his child? The point is that a parent would do anything for his/her child and never give them up or leave them for good. Why would God leave people for good and let them go to a place called hell? A parent would never do that. Why our Creator?
Let’s get things out of the way, I do not believe in hell as a place in the afterlife anymore. I believe there are enough hellish experiences and suffering in people’s lives and in our world. Going to hell for an eternity (eternity!!) makes no sense. And heaven for just a few chosen faithful people, is that truly heaven Off course both Karl and I are only trying to find answers that make sense, and off course we do not have “God’s mind” and understanding. So we can’t claim we get it right 100 percent. But some would not even want to work with the question, and some would rather hide behind the biblical phrase, “God works in mysterious ways”.
I already mentioned Apparent Faith by Karl Forehand. Another good read is Love Wins by Rob Bell. I think Rob has the same message in Love Wins, that I try to communicate in this post, Love Last. I would also say, for the Gospel to be truly good news, it must be good news for all, it must be all inclusive. Love must win in the end. I do think Richard Rohr’s book The Universal Christ also speaks about this.
I say, we are created by love first, to live our lives in love now, and early (for some too early) or late we will find rest in eternal love at last! People and the Bible talk about the good road to be a small road. But what if this small road actually is very wide, if we only had a change of heart and understanding? I will not go into details here in this small text, but also remind us all, of the words of Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms”.
Off course not everyone chooses the path of love in this earthly life. There are many reasons and explanations for that. And there’s only one Judge. Yet, can you imagine being judged by the Lover of Souls?
If there’s any truth to going to a spiritual reality in the afterlife and for an eternity, I do think people also somehow choses their direction after death. And for those now living a life in pain, of evil and destruction, why would they not choose or search for love and restoration in the spiritual realm? Would a God of Love really close the door for all eternity? Sorry, if this makes you think, I am lost and far gone. I feel safe that I am not, and that’s enough for me.
I believe we are eternal souls and the bodies are our huts. Our deepest selves are also the Spirit of Love and of God. This Spirit will, at least when it freely can, and when it is released from our decaying bodies, travel back to the Loving Source it came from.
Love first, Love now, Love last, I do believe this is for all of us. Yes, it is all inclusive! Yes, the Bible even talks about a new heaven and a new earth, a great recreation. So salvation is not only for you and me, but for all, even for the whole Earth and the whole of creation. The Colossians talks about everything (every single thing!) coming together in Christ! This for me, is the good news. This gives me hope. This casts out fear of living and fear of death. It is true freedom! I truly believe in a loving Creator or even Creational Energy loving us all. This love is as the Bible talks about, strong enough for a earthly life, but also even stronger than death.
Last I would add that coming to these thoughts and conclusions in such a way that I can see this as the Truth I believe in, has not been an easy road. Still, I do believe it is a road from fear to love. It also is a road into freedom and the joy of living now and with a real hope for the future. It’s like the the prodigal son coming to his senses and knowing he had always belonged to this his Loving Father. It is the greatest news for all! All you truly need is love, and love is first, and it is now and yes, it even is the last there is and will forever be!