Here are some questions that you might have about the afterlife. I will answer them as well and as scripturally as I can.
- How can a loving God send people to Hell? The easy and pat answer is that God sends no one to hell. People are judged based on their own choices. Those who do not get to enjoy eternity with God are those who chose not to live with him in life. God is loving, but he is also just and fair.
- Will my dog be in heaven? (I cannot believe that I am even tackling this one.) I do not know. But I do believe that heaven is a place of eternal joy and bliss. If it requires a pet to have that joy, Fido will probably be there for you. However, my hunch is that we will be so excited and fulfilled to be in the presence of the King of Glory that other concerns will seem unimportant.
- Where is heaven? I am not sure where heaven might be now, but I know where it will be in the future. Jesus told the disciples that he was going to prepare a place (John 14.2). So heaven is somewhere. It may be in a spiritual place rather than a physical or geographical location. I compare the current location of heaven to “warp factor 2” on Star Trek. It may be that heaven is all around us and we just cannot see into that dimension. Eventually, after the second coming, the New Jerusalem will rest on the New Earth.
- What about my saved family and friends? Will I know them in heaven? Jesus teaches that there is no marriage in heaven (Luke 20.35). However, I believe that when reaching heaven we will recognize one another and remember good things and good times.
- Will I think about or miss my unsaved friends? The Bible teaches that there will be no crying in heaven. All will be peace and joy according to the hymn writer. That means that we will not remember, or dwell on all those who are not in heaven. The best answer for us is to pray hard and share consistently with those who are not Jesus followers now.
- How can I be sure that I will go to heaven? The Bible teaches that all people are sinners and need the work of God through Jesus Christ in their lives. To be sure that you are going to heaven, confess your sins and your need for Jesus in prayer. Ask God to save you and he will. Then, get involved in worship, prayer and Bible study. Only through consistent effort can you maintain the faith.