Heaven and Hell

What is heaven? What is hell? In this essay, I will attempt to answer these questions. First, I will start with the assumption that everyone wants to be happy–everyone wants joy. However, we don’t always know the best way to attain joy.

Here is what some people believe about heaven and hell:

After death, some people will go to heaven, and the rest will go to hell. Heaven and hell are eternal, that is, they are never-ending. The people in heaven will experience peace and joy while the people in hell will experience pain and torture.

Here are some of my thoughts on heaven and hell:

If we believe that some people will not go to heaven, but instead will go to hell, can we ever be completely happy? If we believe that our fellow (human) beings will suffer for eternity, can our joy be complete? Or will we feel a little guilty that we have happiness while others suffer? If we reject our fellow (human) beings as being unworthy of heaven, we are rejecting part of our own mind. Each being that we have come to know is represented in our mind as a thought, and if we reject this thought, we are rejecting part of our own mind, part of our own self. Thus, all of our being cannot experience joy while one part of our being is rejected by another part. If it is impossible for us to experience complete joy while separated from others, then it must also be impossible for God. God created us by extending the love that he is. Love is spiritual union, and love cannot be what it is while there is separation within God’s creation. It is God’s will that all of his creation be united.

Within time, we can wish to be separate individuals and we can attack each other when we get too close to each other. However, our wishes within time are powerless to cancel God’s will in eternity. Eventually, we will accept God’s will as being our true will, and time will end. On this earth, some people are currently working for separation and selfishness, while others are working for love and spiritual union. We cannot tell who is who by observing outward actions, for each person has a unique role to play. Hell is the movement towards selfishness and spiritual isolation, while heaven is the state of perfect oneness. Our joy in heaven cannot be complete while one being is excluded, so eventually all beings must join heaven if heaven is to exist for anyone. In this world, we have the choice between accepting heaven and making hell, but when we have learned how painful hell is, and that there is another option, we will all choose heaven. When we come to the limits of how much pain we can accept, we will start to look for a better way.

One reason that we choose hell is that we are afraid of heaven. We might be afraid to lose our individual identity by joining with others in heaven. However, in heaven we can only gain, and what we gain is our identity–the knowledge of ourselves as the unlimited extension of God’s love.

In summary, when we reject others, we reject parts of ourselves. Our joy cannot be complete while our being is fragmented. In this world of time, we sometimes prefer hell and nonexistence to heaven. However, we will eventually learn that being in heaven is the only way to be happy and to know our own identity.