Monday, September 20, 2010

Do All Roads Lead to God and Heaven?

Recently someone in conversation with me raised the question if it wasn't possible that there could be more than one way to find God. Since God is a God of love and wants everyone to be in heaven with Him why could He not accept people who take a different religious path than the Christian one?

I lay awake that night thinking about it and I realized that the pat answer of "Jesus said there is only one way - a narrow one" answers the question for most Christians but everyone considers their religion to be the true path to God. Also over recent years, the teaching of Universalism is being considered by more and more people.. even evangelical Christians.

As I thought about the question, I wondered if thinking outside the 'religious box' would give me an interesting perspective. It did... and I would share my night time reasonings here.

If all roads lead to heaven …. Then …
1. there can be no absolute truth about God - Every ‘path’, every religion has its own definition of God and if all paths are valid then so also are each of their defining boundaries and statements of belief. If what each path says about ‘God’ is valid then the only authority is self-authority -- God’s ‘truth’ is moulded to fit the image of what is acceptable to the adherents of each path or religion.

If all roads lead to heaven … Then…
2. there are can be no definition of sin. A definition of ‘sin’ is based on an accepted or commonly recognized standard of right and wrong. If there are many paths to God, then there can not be a determined set of rules that govern right and wrong definitions because each ‘path’ will develop or evolve its own standard of what would, within that path, be considered ‘sin’. To have an objective and conclusively authoritative law governing what is ‘sin’ , all paths would have to hold to the same standard, which removes the freedom to determine one’s own path to heaven.

If all roads lead to heaven …. Then…
3. there can be no One Person in authority - Without doubt, the stability or worth of a company will be judged by how well that company operates according to the vision or authority of the owner/President of the company. If the owner is either an absentee boss or one who is easily swayed by the opinions or inclinations of his workers the company will soon be in chaos. For the company to be successful and respected there must be a good strong ‘leader’. And a good strong leader will uphold and insist on things being done according to his vision and purpose for the company, as well as his own benefit! If a company for any length of time leaves its employees to their own inclinations and self-employment , the ‘owner’ will soon be completely out of the picture as the recognized President of the company and probably the company itself will ultimately self-destruct.

If all roads lead to heaven …. Then
4. There can be no utopia of peace and harmony – i.e. no ‘heaven” . There is a basic misconception that lies at the bottom of the opinion that there could be many ways to heaven. The underlying belief is that ‘heaven’ is simply a destination and just like any earthly destination can have many roads leading to the same place, so also heaven. It is simply the destination that is important. But an earthly destination, such as the city of Vancouver might be, is ever changing based on the desires and inclinations and personalities and beliefs of the people who arrive there and make it their home. Vancouver today is very different than it was 50 years ago… and is filled with the varied kinds of people who make it their destination. When they arrive in Vancouver they bring to the city their own flavour of personality and beliefs and they work toward having their own goals realized. If they were a criminal entering the city, they continue to be a criminal and influence the city’s standard of life. If there is not a strong leader with high ideals for the city that are consistently enforced then the city will go down to the standard of its lowest citizens. So if ‘heaven’ is simply a destination to which all roads are equal , then heaven cannot be the utopia that the word ‘heaven’ brings to mind. For heaven to be an eternal utopia, there must be strict rules of entry and obedience to the conditions set by the King of that Kingdom, otherwise its utopia will be a myth.

If all roads lead to heaven … Then …
5. there is no inspired writing - no communication directly from God If we consider all roads and all religions being valid paths then the conflicting writings of the different paths cannot all come from One Person or One God - unless He was being purposefully confusing. We would find it hard to conceive of a country or company’s President who sent out totally conflicting memoirs or instructions or directives. He would never have the people’s confidence nor their respect.

So if we are willing to follow the above reasoning logic and realize that to believe many paths lead to ‘heaven’ is self-defeating then we have one more question to settle.

If there is indeed only one way to heaven, then how do we know which path is the right one?
While each person will have to determine their own choice…. Here are several reasons why I believe that the Bible is indeed God’s inspired truth and that it alone reveals the one path that leads to eternal life in ‘heaven’ !

1. Of all the books in the world the Bible is the oldest, containing the earliest written records of history. Even though it is thousands of years old, it is still the number one best seller in the world.. In fact, it has for so long been the best seller of all books that you no longer see it topping the best sellers lists. It is simply a given!
2. The Bible contains the historical path of the oldest religion. All other paths came later.
3. No other ancient book of religion contains so much historical and scientific and medical information , none of which has ever been proven to be false.
4. Even though the Bible has been translated and passed on from generation to generation, when the Dead Sea scrolls were found in 1948 with original manuscripts they proved to be virtually identical to the modern translations of the bible.
5. The Bible is the only religious book that is filled with prophetic predictions of what was to come many years.. sometimes thousands, in the future. Every prophecy is perfectly fulfilled … except for the few that are yet future.
6. The Bible is the only book written by about 40 men over a period of 4000 years, most of whom never met each other and yet none of their words conflict or contradict each other… but all hold to a consistent message. Ask any judge to see how hard it it to get three people who witnessed the same accident to agree on the details. And yet the bible writers agree in all details. That can only prove that they were inspired by One Divine Author.
7. Only the Bible correctly predicts a Savior, the Messiah who would come… and only the Bible tells the story of a ‘God-man’ that conquered death and was resurrected -- with historical proof.

If we settle once and for all in our mind that there is indeed only one way to God and one path that leads to heaven, would we not then , with utmost diligence, strive to make sure that we are on that path and make the Bible the most read/studied book in our hand ?



Lovella ♥ said...

Yes we would. Thank you for this Julie. You say it all so well and you make it so easy to understand. It is such important information. ..and it could make such a enormous difference in people's lives.

ellen b. said...

Good things to consider Julie. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the man comes to the Father but by me.
Now I'm singing that song "One way God said to get to heaven, Jesus is the only way..."

betty r said...

That topic came up explained it so well Julie.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Well said, Julie. I'm bookmarking this post...a wonderful resource.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Lately I have been pondering the situations where people feel a yearning for God, and recognize that there is a Creator of everything, yet have not had resources or understanding of the Hebrew God and His Son.

I wish I could say it was always a problem with Bible distribution instead of often being a case of questionable Christian ethics. As I study the faith of the Hindi people,who pray as a family each morning, and pray for blessing for each decision, and bow to each other as a form of recognizing the divinity in each person (are we not made in the image of God...yet how often do we think that with each person we meet?) I am more challenged by how anemic Christianity must appear to them.

Not sure why God is leading me to be concerned about the Hindu people, but there it is. I read a blog by a Christian missionary to India who was trying to be sure he was culturally sensitive while still bearing witness. It was quite interesting.

Marg said...

Thanks Julie for your special insight in that question...there is so much debate around that topic..and you put all things into good perspective and I will continue to use this as a resource as I speak with my New Age friends...

Kathy said...

Thank you have said this all so well. Kathy

Anneliese said...

I like how you explain how one God would not give conflicting and numerous ways to find Him.

Elsie said...

Yes, you are right! When we look at the manuscript evidence of the Bible, it is very clear that it is reliable and trustworthy. There are a total of over 24,000 manuscripts existing from the New Testament alone - more numerous and more accurate than any ancient writings. There is ample archaeological evidence to show that the history the Bible records is completely accurate. If this amazing book says that only Jesus' blood can atone for sin, there can be no other way.