|Back to Chapter 17,
While doing door to door
came to the door of a man who through conversation showed us clearly
that he had a Deterministic view of reality. Before I
get into the conversation Gene (Real Person, Fictitious Name) and I
(Real Person, Real Name. Ha! Ha!) had, it is necessary for me to
share with you his response to the survey we gave. It will help you
to understand the value of a survey and how it helped us get to the
root of Geneís problem and how best to approach sharing the Gospel
Pastor Kruse (PK):
Does your household attend Church?
Are there any problems you see in the Church in General today?
Yes. The Church is not addressing the need of the community. They
are not addressing the drug problem or alcoholism or child abuse.
If you could make changes in the Church, what changes in the Church
would you like to see take place?
Address real needs, become more socially aware.
If you were to consider going to a Church, what would that Church
need to be (qualities) for you to go their?
It would need to have group unity and real information of how to get
in touch with God.
If a new Church were to start in your neighborhood, would you
consider going to this Church?
Who is Jesus Christ according to your understanding?
A martyr who claimed to be the Son of God who was put to death by
If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure whether or not you
would go to heaven?
I donít know.
If someone were to come up to you and say, "I want to go to heaven!
What must I do to go there?" What would be your answer to him?
Well it would depend on your definition of heaven.
What do you think heaven is?
It is an eternal place of God consciousness.
If you could know for sure how to go to heaven and have eternal life
would you be interested in knowing how?
Who wants to live forever? You would have to convince me that heaven
was desirable and living forever is desirable.
The reader needs to
understand what is taking place at this point. Gene assumes that
what we see in the world today is the normal, that it is what has
always been. Gene assumes that manís condition is what it has always
been and because it is, manís future is hopeless because there is
nothing man can do to change his condition. Because man is what he
has always been, Gene makes the assumption that heaven could be no
different since man would be there. That is what Determinism
is. Francis A. Schaeffer defines Determinism as "The
doctrine that human action is not free but results from such causes
as psychological and chemical make-up which render free-will an
illusion."51/177 Our conversation continued as follows:
I know what you mean Gene. When I was a Junior in High School I was
heavily involved in the Ecology movement. I still am a
conservationist. During that time after I had preached the problem
for a year, I came to the conclusion that preaching the problem was
not the solution. Men were educated. They knew what the problem was.
They just werenít responding.
I looked in the mirror one day
and said to myself, "Dale, the reason why people are not listening
to what you and your associates have to say is because you are not
living what you are preaching." The end result was I tried to live
according to my convictions. The only problem though was I found
that being perfect wasnít all that easy (All the while Gene is
nodding in total agreement to my conflict. He understood because he
himself was going through this kind of conflict).
When I realized that if I with
my convictions as strong as they were could not live according to my
convictions, there was no way we were going to change a world who
did not care to begin with. I realized that manís problem was not
his head but his heart, his will. How does one bring his heart into
conformity with what he knows in his head. At that time I did not
have the answer. I could not change my own heart. I figured it was a
matter of time before another Hitler arose and used the bomb and it
was all over.
Gene nodded with
great enthusiasm. It was obvious he himself had come to these same
conclusions. I then went on to explain the following to him.
Gene, the first thing you need to understand about man is that what
he presently is, is not what God originally created man to be. Manís
present condition is not normal. When God first created man, he
created him in His image. This referred primarily to Godís moral
character. It also means that man was not ruled through his soul or
his flesh, but through his spirit by the Holy Spirit of God. There
was no unrighteousness in him. There was no conflict, no hatred, no
resentment, no anger, no thoughts or plans of violence and no impure
thoughts in conflict with Godís thoughts. Thus, man was able to have
a relationship with God and
commune with Him. But God did not create
man deterministically. What I mean is that man was not created to be
a robot. He was not created without freedom of choice, will.
God wanted man to have a
choice as to whether he wanted to have relationship with Him. To
have relationship with God simply means to allow God to rule over
oneís self, to walk in obedience to God. To not want relationship
with God simply means to not walk in obedience to God. God provided
this choice for man by designating a tree in the garden as being off
limits. It wasnít that, that tree necessarily had some special
properties. It was just a tree. It was just that God said to man,
You shall not eat of that tree. God gave man a way to choose
whether he wanted to have relationship with God and to have God rule
over him or not.
When Adam and Eve chose to eat
of that tree they told God they did not want Him to reign over them.
They said they wanted to rule over there own lives. The end result
was they died spiritually. This means their spirit died and they
lost their ability to have relationship with God which is the
function of the spirit of man. This also resulted in the corruption
of their soul and flesh and their coming under the domination and
bondage of their flesh. This means that since their spirit is now
dead and because they are now in bondage to sin in their soul and
flesh, even if they wanted to come back into relationship with God
they could not through their own efforts. There is no means of
having relationship with God except through oneís spirit. Manís
spirit is dead. Therefore, he now has no means of having
relationship with God no matter how good he is or how religious he
The end result was that when
God came to them in the Garden and manifested Himself to them, they
found that in their fallen corrupted state they were not able to
endure his presence, so they, not God, hid themselves from God. So
God having mercy on them, withdrew his presence from them, thus the
symbolism of God driving Adam and Eve out of the garden.
This is why man, if left in
his fallen state, would not want to enter heaven. He would not want
to enter heaven because in his corrupted twisted state, he would be
absolutely miserable and in hell in heaven in the presence of a
perfectly holy and uncorrupted God; but the story doesnít stop here.
God, caring about and loving
his creation: Man, decided to do something about this
corrupted condition of man and correct it: God the Son, Jesus, came
down from heaven and
became flesh and lived among men. He did this for two
reasons: first, He became man and lived among us to show us what our
reaction would be to Him if He where to allow us to live with him in
heaven in our present corrupted state. While among us, He loved us,
healed us and fed us. What did we do in response? We were so
miserable in His presence that we tried to kill God by nailing His
humanity to a cross. For what reason? Because God is Holy and man
through his sin is corrupted. Sinful corrupted man cannot stand to
be in the present of a perfect holy God.
What you see going on
in the world today is not what God created man to be or Godís doing.
What you and I see in the world today is what man is without God.
The misery, cruelty, and violence we see in the world today is the
result of the lack of Godís rule over man, not because of His rule.
It is because man has pushed God away and insisted on ruling himself
and trying to solve his own problems through the initiative of his
soul and flesh rather than through the initiative of the Holy Spirit
through his spirit. Unfortunately, because manís spirit is dead,
even if he wanted God to rule over him through his spirit, there now
is no means to. God is Spirit and can only relate to man through his
spirit. Because manís spirit is dead and therefore he has no means
of knowing God or his answers for him, all man is left with is the
finite corrupted reasoning of his soul and the appetite and desires
of his flesh.
What does this have to do with Heaven and eternity?
There is a second reason why Jesus became man. As we already
discussed, the first reason why Jesus became man was to show us why
in our present corrupted condition we could not be happy in Godís
presence in heaven. But He did not show this to us just to show us
why we would not be happy in heaven, but second, so that we would
understand why His death on the cross was the only solution to manís
dilemma. Manís problem is not his behavior, but his dead spirit and
corrupted soul and flesh. What needs to be corrected in man is not
his behavior but man himself. This is because no amount of right
behavior will bring manís spirit back to life and back into
relationship with God. Adam and Eveís original sin was that they
acted out of the initiative of their soul and flesh rather than out
of the initiative of the Holy Spirit through their human spirit. The
reason why right behavior does not solve the problem is because all
our behavior now whether good or bad is also initiated from the
soul, not by the Holy Spirit through manís spirit.
It is because of these truths
that Jesus never told man the solution to his dead spirit was
correcting his behavior. What did He say the solution was? Jesus
said in the Gospel of John chapter 3 that in order to enter Heaven
and be able to enjoy it and His presence that we would need to
receive new birth from above. Jesus told us plainly that correcting
our fallen soul and flesh will not solve the problem, that the only
thing that will solve the problem is to be completely recreated, to
be born again.
But notice also what this
passage says: not only do we need to receive birth from above, but
we need to receive birth through the Holy Spirit, not again through
the flesh. This will not solve the problem because Jesus said that
which is born of the flesh is flesh. This means to be born devoid of
spirit and under the control and domination of the soul and flesh,
not the Holy Spirit through a spirit that is dead. Jesus said we
need to receive birth from above through the Holy Spirit. Only by
being born again of the Holy Spirit are our spirits recreated alive
and our soul and flesh recreated without corruption or sin so that
the spirit is again in complete rule and dominance over the soul and
Jesusí death on the cross made
this possible. First, his death demonstrated just how much He loved
us and that He had no desire that we should be separated from him.
He loved us so much that He allowed us to beat him to death and nail
Him to a cross and did nothing to stop us. God showed us his
vulnerability. Through His non-resistance to our killing His
humanity, He also showed us that judging us and sending us to hell
is the last thing in his mind for us. God loves us. God created us.
He wants a personal one on one relationship with us. He does not
want to send anyone to hell.
Secondly, He tells us that all
we need to do to be saved is believe that, that is really Him
hanging on that cross for our sins and ask Him to save us. If we do,
He will save us and cleanse us from all our sins. He will then
recreate us and give us a new alive spirit with a nature identical
to His nature. He will do this so that we can enjoy His presence and
fellowship again and so that we can enjoy the Heaven He has prepared
for us. We cannot do this, though, in our present corrupted state.
Jesus said that in order to enjoy His fellowship and the Heaven He
has created for us, we must first receive birth from above
through the Holy Spirit.
Is blood really necessary to bring us back into relationship with
Yes. This is because the Bible teaches us that manís soul is in his
blood.56 As long as blood is flowing through manís veins,
the potential of his soul development is possible. But if a man is
killed, if his blood is shed, the potential of his soul development
on this Earth is destroyed. Jesus gave up his soul potential as a
man for us, He shed His blood. The end result is that the Bible
tells us that whoever believes on and receives what Jesus did for
him on the Cross receives birth from above and is cleansed of all
his sins past, present and future. The Bible states, "By this will
we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all."53
You might say, "Well,
I know people who claim to be born again Christians who have been
real jerks at times." So do I. Well, how can this be if supposedly
they have received birth from above? When a person receives Jesus
Christ as Savior and Lord it does not mean, on this side of heaven,
that he will no longer have battle with sin. This is because the
rebirth experience on this side of heaven only takes place in his
spirit, not in his soul and flesh. On this side of heaven our soul
and flesh are still in bondage to sin. What this means is that
through Jesusí blood our sins past, present and future are forgiven.
This results in our being able to enter back into relationship with
God despite the present condition of our soul and flesh. But because
our soul and flesh will not be recreated in the likeness of Jesusí
nature until the resurrection, it also means that on this side of
heaven we will continue to have conflict with sin. In other words,
we are fully accepted by God and still able to have relationship
with Him despite our sin. Paul the Apostle explained it this way: he
said in the Book of Romans,
Rom 7:24-25, 8:1 "Wretched
man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one
hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the
other, with my flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
The Bible states,
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a
NEW CREATION; the old things
passed away; behold, new things have come.55
Right now a Christian born from above is saved and positionally
absolutely accepted by God without reservation even though
manifestly he is still a sinner. But the Bible says that when Jesus
calls the Church to Himself in the Resurrection that something will
happen to Christians born from above. The Apostle Paul recorded it
for us in Philippians 3:20-21.
citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our
humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by THE
EXERTION OF THE POWER that HE HAS EVEN TO SUBJECT ALL THINGS TO
You see, when you receive
Jesus as Savior and as Lord, you give Jesus the
freedom to change and force your soul and flesh into complete unity
and harmony with his nature. But this transformation is not a
miserable or unpleasant experience because the Bible says that in
this condition in heaven we experience peace, joy and righteousness
in the Holy Spirit continuously, continuously, continuously forever.
This is because our being recreated inside and out in the likeness
of Godís moral nature results in our being able to have unhindered
communion in our spirit, soul and body with God and His Holy Spirit.
Godís nature is love, joy and peace continuously all the time.
Therefore, since nothing hinders our ongoing relationship with God,
we also experience His love, joy and peace continuously without
interruption forever. This is why Heaven is peace, joy and
righteousness in the Holy Spirit ongoing forever.
So there is hope for manís
condition. What man is, is not normal.
What he is, is the
result of rebellion against God. But God has given man an eternal
solution to that problem which is the death and shed blood of Jesus
Christ in his place. When one receives Jesus Christ he is cleansed
of all his sins past, present and future and he is given a new
nature identical to Christís nature which will be fully manifested
at the second coming of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection of the
Christian who has received birth from above.
You remember I said
that the Bible teaches that heaven is righteousness, peace and joy
in the Holy Spirit, but it is a lot more. Most peopleís conception
of heaven is like the story I once heard about a man who died and
got to the gate of heaven and met Peter there. Peter explained to
the man that he had a choice: he could go down or he could go up.
The man thought about it for a moment and asked Peter if he could
check out what it was like below first before making a decision.
Peter told him he could. When he got down stairs he came into a huge
ball room where he witnessed a huge party going on with a large band
playing. When he got back up to Peter he asked Peter if he could
check the upstairs before making a decision. Peter told him he
could. When he got upstairs he saw three people sitting on a cloud
and one of them was playing a harp. The man turned to Peter and
said, "Peter, I donít understand? Down stairs they have a big band
and up here all there is, is this one guy with a harp!" Peter
replied back, "You think I am going to hire a whole band for three
Ya, that sounds about what most peopleís conception of heaven is.
Gene, the Bible teaches us that heaven is a real place as real as
this place. Actually more real. The Bible also teaches us though
that we are not just sitting around in heaven. There is work and
activity in heaven but with this difference: there is no hate or
violence in heaven. There is no sin, this is because our nature
becomes exactly like Jesusí nature. There is only love. The Bible
defines love as loving your neighbor as yourself.57 There
is peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit and ourwork is
not drudgery or boring but completely satisfying and fulfilling.
Also you do not get tired.
Gene was hearing this for the
first time. He was very deep in thought. It was obvious to us he was
not ready to make a decision. He told us he wanted to think about
what we had shared. We gave him
We also gave him our phone numbers and told him that if he wanted to
talk more about what we shared with him to feel free to call and
talk with us. Please pray for this man.
As a result of this
particular witnessing situation I committed myself to do extensive
research on Christians claimed experiences of Heaven and Hell. I
spent a year doing research on this matter and published my results
in a book titled,
which is the content of section 8 of this textbook.
- Baker, Harold Armstrong. Visions Beyond The Veil.
Minneapolis: Osterhus Publishing House, 1950.
- Davis, Marietta.
Scenes Beyond the Grave.
- Schmidt, Kenneth R. The Other Side. Folsom: Kenneth R.
Bibliography & Notes
Section 6 Chapters