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Highlands Post Column Jan-2017

Highlands Post (Outreach Media)

How do you find your way around these days? Like many people, you probably use Google or Apple Maps. So, is one better than the other? For quite a while Apple Maps had Manly Beach located in the middle of Sydney Harbour!

But when it comes to heaven as a destination, which religion has the better directions? Well, even though there continues to be lots of conflicting ideas about the afterlife you may have noticed people no longer want to argue about heaven. In fact, heaven has become awkward and even impolite to talk about because it’s considered to be a silly idea.

Indeed, it can be a little intimidating to hold a contrary view when our big ideas about life come mostly from scientists who don’t believe. For example, back in 2011, while sharing his thoughts on death in an exclusive interview with The Guardian newspaper, the cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said, “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark”.

However, great knowledge and wisdom about the physical world doesn’t necessarily lead to great knowledge and wisdom about spiritual or supernatural things. Just because scientists can effectively analyse and harness physical forces and matter doesn’t mean they can be certain that heaven and God don’t exist. After all, God must be outside the physical realm in order to have created it.

The Bible makes it clear God won’t let himself be found by human wisdom, but rather only by him choosing to reveal himself to us. It says in Hebrews 1:2 that in the past, “God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” In other words God began revealing himself through his prophets, then much more fully through his Son, Jesus.

When Jesus came, he revealed that God’s purpose in sending him was to deal with a terrible barrier preventing us from being close to God – our rebellion. So, by paying for our sin on the cross and sacrificing his own life for ours, Jesus cleared the way for us to know God personally and deeply. But not by any path. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Just like we need clear and right directions for getting to Manly Beach, we need the same clarity when it comes to getting to heaven and God. Jesus, who you can meet in the Bible, provides this.

Ian Brunton

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