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HEAVEN & HELL
All right, so I have always considered myself a Christian, but lately, something has bothered me. In the Old Testament, in order to make up for the things humans did, they would sacrifice things. Jesus dying on the cross was supposed to be the ultimate sacrifice, right? So, why would a loving and caring God want/need death or Jesus to die in order to make everything right? Couldn't He have just forgiven us on His own out of the goodness of His heart?
Live And Let Live
Dear Live And Let Live,
God sent Jesus to die on the cross, so He could be both a just God and a loving God. If God had simply forgiven us of our sins without paying for them, He would be a liar because God says that sin is deserving of eternal death (Rom 6:23). It wouldn’t be right for Him to simply remove our guilt without paying for it. It would be akin to a judge letting people go free simply because he liked them – a judge like that would be corrupt.
Instead, we see that God is both just and our justifier. Jesus’ blood pays the price of our sin (1 Jn 1:7). There are two ways to pay for sin. We can pay for the sin ourselves by spending eternity in hell, or God’s blood can cover the cost of sin. The Son of God came down and gave Himself to purchase us (Acts 20:28). Rom 3:25-26 says that God sent Jesus, so He could show that He was loving and still righteous.
I have been told something strange by people I believe are sound brethren. They have given me the verses for their belief, but I don't quite go along with what they are saying. As far as I'm concerned, it is not a matter of salvation, but it's just that I have never heard this before, and I want to make sure I learn and understand ALL I can about God’s Word. They say that our souls were with God before we are born. We are sent here, so we can appreciate the love of God and make our "free will" decision to obey Him.
How Old Am I?
Dear How Old Am I,
God formed Adam from the dust of the Earth, and at that moment, He made Adam into a living soul (Gen 2:7). The Bible teaches us that a person comes into existence in the womb, not a moment before (Zech. 12:1). Several passages speak of God knowing people before they were born (Isa. 49:1; Jer. 1:5), but these verses do not refer to the person existing before having a body, just God’s plans for them.
These verses indicate that God know the plans that He has for a person even before that person exists, in comparison to how an architect would know the building he has designed before the foundation has ever been set. Only Jesus Christ spiritually existed before His physical incarnation (John 1:1-3, Jhn 1:14).
After a Christian dies, can they contact their loved ones who are still living? I need Scripture to look into. I have a friend that thinks that she hears her husband say her name. He has been gone four years, and I do not believe he is contacting her.
Stop The Voices
Dear Stop The Voices,
God does not allow people to go back and contact others once they have passed away. Jesus told the story of a wicked, rich man and a faithful, poor man named Lazarus in Lk 16:19-31. When these two men died, the rich man immediately woke up in torment, and Lazarus was escorted to Paradise (Lk 16:22-23). This is what happens when the righteous and the wicked die. There is no wandering or ghostly haunting. In fact, the rich man was specifically told that the dead aren’t sent back to the earth to preach or affect the course of events here (Lk 16:27-31). We die, and then we wait to face the judgment (Heb 9:27).
Having said all of that, it is very common for those who have lost a spouse to imagine hearing them, seeing them in a crowd, and a thousand other things that make no logical sense but are consistent experiences with all that have lost loved ones. Your friend’s dead husband isn’t speaking to her, but she is experiencing a very normal part of the mourning process.
Where in the Bible does it talk about heaven on earth? Specifically, do we have bodies?
Flesh And Blood
Dear Flesh And Blood,
When we get to heaven, our loved ones won’t look anything like what they did on Earth. When we get to heaven, we will receive spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:44). On the Day of Judgment, in the “twinkling of an eye”, we will be changed (1 Cor 15:52). In heaven, we will all look different than we do here. For more on that subject, read the entire fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians. However, heaven will not be here on earth. The earth is going to be destroyed at the Judgment Day (2 Pet 3:10-11)
A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to put our twelve-year-old boxer to sleep. He went through a few months of suffering through inexplicable seizures and had apparently suffered brain damage. He had been in my life over six years. A week and a half ago, my fifteen-year-old cat died. The vet told me she had pancreatitis. She wasn't sick very long, but you could tell she was not well, and I knew in my heart she wouldn't be with me much longer. She was a very important part of my twenty-seven years here. I'm having a very difficult time dealing with it all. I think they will both be in heaven, and a lot of my friends agree. Is there something in the Bible that verifies (or disproves) this?
Dogs and cats don’t go to heaven, but we can really sympathize with your loss. One of our AYP writers still has pictures of his hunting dogs up in his office, and another is deeply attached to his family dog. Animals are a blessing from God (Gen 1:26). Animals have the “breath of life” just like humans do (Gen 2:7, Gen 6:17). This “breath of life” is also sometimes referred to as the “spirit” of a man or animal (Gen 7:22). Animals have spirits, and humans have spirits, but humans were also made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Our spirits are eternal and will go up to be with the Father, and animal spirits are temporary and will return to the dust of the earth (Eccl 3:21). God made our spirit of a different caliber than He made those of the animal. This can feel like a very harsh truth after losing beloved family pets, but we can feel confident that God has decided wisely on this issue like all others. We may not always understand His reasons, but He always makes good decisions. We are so sorry for your loss, but we want you to know that God comforts us through all our sorrow… and He will bring you through this loss (2 Cor 13:11).