There are certain forces in this world that will always seem to be opposites and enemies.
Republicans and Democrats.
Cats and dogs.
Autobots and Decepticons.
Yankees/Cowboy fans and everyone else.
Heaven and hell.
I always believed the heaven had a counterpart and it was hell. You couldn’t have one without the other.
Another common thought on heaven/hell among the average person is a very “me” centric view.
When I die I will stand before God and He will judge me. If I was good – heaven. If I was bad – hell.”
This however presents a problem not just for heaven/hell but God because it doesn’t tell us anything about Him.
In this view, it’s all about us.
There’s no story of God’s redemptive love.
It’s about me and God is a supporting character.
The Gospel is the opposite of this story. God is at the start, middle and end of the Gospel story.
Going back to my original thought, we tend to treat heaven and hell as equals when we are in this “me” version narrative but I want you to check something out…
Head over to biblegateway.com and put in the search bar “heaven hell” to see how many times the two are mentioned in the same verse.
Here’s a hint: it’s ZERO.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
They’re not together in the Old or New Testaments.
We’ve always treated them as equals but Scripturally speaking… they aren’t.
If hell isn’t the counterpart to heaven then what is?
I’ll give another hint: it’s the earth. (I’m bad at hints)
A similar search yields 213 verses where heaven and earth are mentioned together in the same verses throughout all of Scripture and it starts immediately in Genesis with God creating heaven and earth not heaven and earth…and hell.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
When we think in terms of heaven and hell then we become obsessed with escaping earth to get to heaven and avoid hell.
However, this Easter season I keep looking at passages like Colossians 1.19-20 that says “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” and I start to see that Jesus didn’t die so we could escape earth (that “me” centered story) but he died so that we could be a part of reconciling heaven and earth.
This has become such a fundamental and important shift in my thinking.
God’s goal is not to get us out of earth and into heaven but to reconcile the two.
He’s redeeming the earth, not abandoning it.
And to redeem and reconcile the earth then it must be rescued from the destructive powers that tore it apart in the first place.
The earth must be rescued from hell.