What Happens When We Die?
Okay…So I was watching Oprah yesterday. I was intrigued by her interview with Sandra Bullock. Bullock portrayed, as many of you know, the strong-willed, compassionate believer, Lee Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. A great movie!
In the interview Oprah mentioned Bullock’s deceased mother. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was classic Oprah-speak and went something like this:
“You felt her [Bullock’s deceased mother] up there guiding you.” Up there? Up where? In outer space, in heaven, in the balcony? With all due respect to Sandra Bullock and her deceased mother, is that really how it works? Dead people float above us, guiding us?
There is a point here and it is not to demean Oprah Winfrey. You can’t just make up sweet-sounding philosophies about what happens after you die. I know many of you love Oprah, and without a doubt, she has done many, many wonderful things—from starting girls’ schools in Africa to giving away Pontiacs to her guests (You get a car, you get a car…), but she is famous for embracing any and every type of spiritual feel-good philosophy that comes along.
It is human nature, fallen human nature that is, to make up philosophies about God that make us feel good:
“My god would never send anyone to hell.”
“I feel that when you die, you take all of the good memories with you and float in a higher state of consciousness with your friends and relatives (the ones you like…not Uncle Harry, of course).”
“My god judges you based on your good deeds versus your bad deeds. All good people go to heaven.”
“Just don’t kill anyone, and you get in.”
And amazingly, people will put their souls on the line when it comes to these invented theories of God. They will pick a philosophy or make one up that feels good and makes sense to them. People put far more thought into their 401k’s than they do into making sure they are set for eternal retirement.
How often have you shared the good news with someone only to hear them say, “Well, I believe that God … (you can finish the sentence with any feel-good philosophy of your choice).” Based on what!? Because it feels good? Sure, it would be comforting to think that Sandra Bullock’s mom is looking down on her from somewhere, guiding her to win an Oscar.
“But Oprah, on what are you basing this?”
Ray Comfort says that we break the second commandment when we do this, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything…” (Exodus 20:4) No, Oprah isn’t carving up wooden idols with Dr. Oz and bowing down to them at 4pm across the nation (check your local listings), but she and millions of others around the world create false gods in their minds, based on nothing more than what they want God to be like. They bow down to the false gods they create in their minds, just as a pagan bows down to his idol.
The fact is, the only document that explains a true philosophy of God is the Bible. “You are going to base your idea of God on a BOOK?” some might say. Well, at least a book is objective. Whereas, thoughts in my mind are subjective to whatever I want.
One dude feels we are reincarnated into better people until we do enough good stuff to get eternal life. Another believes that as long as you don’t kill anyone you are set. While still another believes that when you die, you simply die…THE END… And then there are the Oprahs who embrace anything and everything as long as it feels good. Oh…and let’s not forget the Kabala-embracing Madonna, who longs for spirituality as long as you don’t have to embrace any absolute moral law (i.e. New Age).
THEY CAN’T ALL BE RIGHT! RIGHT?
Now back to the Bible. This is no ordinary book—Sixty-six chapters over thousands of years, stating prophecies of what would come and who the Messiah would be. Think about it. How did Jeremiah know over 2,500 years ago that Jews would return en masse from a land north of Israel? (Jeremiah 16:14)
How about this—Peter Stoner has determined that the probability of Yeshua fulfilling just eight messianic prophecies is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000! That would be like covering Texas two-feet deep in silver dollars, marking one of them, and then randomly picking it up!
And this book declares that from Hitler to Mother Teresa, we are all sinners. That God in His great mercy allowed His Son to take the punishment we all deserve, just as the Jewish prophet Isaiah stated (Isaiah 53). Through Him and the blood he shed on the cross, we can find freedom, forgiveness and eternal life.
It is clear. No ambiguity. “All have sinned and fallen short,” (Romans 3:23) of God’s standard. “All” includes you, me and yes, the capital ‘O’ herself. The word sin simply means to miss the mark. We have all missed the mark — some more than others. Obviously, while we are all sinners, some have more to give an account for than others. A mass murderer has fallen further from the mark than a gossiping grandmother. Nevertheless, “the wages of sin [missing the mark] is death [no matter how badly you miss the mark], but the gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Confess your sins to Him today and receive forgiveness. Only though Yeshua can you have freedom. Sure, there are plenty of self-help tricks out there to make you feel better about life, but none of them can get you forgiven. Only through Yeshua. Today is the day!
So yeah, I base my philosophy of God on a book! Maybe one day the Bible will make Oprah’s book club :-).