Q: Someone close to me is adamant that there is no God; no heaven; no life after death. All arguments to the contrary are met with disdain and disbelief. In spite of this attitude and rejection of God, will this person go to heaven?
Thanks so much for writing to us here at TruthBook with this very important question. I do hope you are a reader of The Urantia Book; if you are, maybe your exposure to its truths will help you to inspire your unbelieving friend down the road.
I am not in any way qualified to judge whether your friend is a candidate for eternal life; only God can rightly judge this person’s heart. But having said that, I can give you some personal opinions, and some Urantia Book teachings that may help both of us to understand and try to see it God’s way.
You assume that your friend has rejected God … but is that really true? Has this person had personal experience of God? Did s/he find God at one time, and, after knowing him and experiencing the truth of him, then reject him and his love? In order to make such a choice, one has to have good information and know what they are really doing. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but your friend may just be rejecting the IDEA of God, simply because s/he can’t wrap his/her mind around the concept; s/he may be the kind of person who, like many, relies heavily on only the material experience of things and anything outside of that seems unreal.
If you are a reader of the revelation, you know that the heavenly Father rules the universe by the power of his love … a love that is generous and merciful to all. We have the perfect example of his loving nature in the life of Jesus, so you can be sure that God is forgiving and tolerant of his erring children. I don’t know anything about your friend, but maybe you’ve noticed whether s/he is a good person, a kind person, a person who tries to live a good life. These attitudes may bespeak an inner longing and orientation for goodness that could be taken into account when assessing this apparent rejection of God.
On a world such as ours – a world darkened by sin and seared by rebellion – finding God is difficult for many. There’s a leap of faith that has to be taken, and material reality that has to be transcended in order to develop such a faith. Many people have a hard time making that leap of faith. On a normal world, we would have a cultural center of advanced civilization led by a faithful Planetary Prince; we would have a resident Adam and Eve still with us, radiating their teachings throughout the world; the spiritual circuits would be wide open, with universe broadcasts keeping us abreast of universe happenings. In short, there would be no question about whether God exists, or whether heaven is real.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Our world was dealt a few serious blows that have retarded our progress significantly. There are many, many souls who walk in darkness because of this, but we know that God is not willing that any should perish, and he understands our sorry plight. So, how should we approach such a person? Should we warn them? Should we be afraid for their soul? What do you think God would do? What would Jesus do?
Personally, I like to stand on this teaching from The Urantia Book. This is from “Survival of the Human Self”
(bolding is mine)”Though the cosmic circles of personality growth must eventually be attained, if, through no fault of your own, the accidents of time and the handicaps of material existence prevent your mastering these levels on your native planet, if your intentions and desires are of survival value, there are issued the decrees of probation extension. You will be afforded additional time in which to prove yourself.
“If ever there is doubt as to the advisability of advancing a human identity to the mansion worlds, the universe governments invariably rule in the personal interests of that individual; they unhesitatingly advance such a soul to the status of a transitional being, while they continue their observations of the emerging morontia intent and spiritual purpose. Thus divine justice is certain of achievement, and divine mercy is accorded further opportunity for extending its ministry.
“The governments of Orvonton and Nebadon do not claim absolute perfection for the detail working of the universal plan of mortal repersonalization, but they do claim to, and actually do, manifest patience, tolerance, understanding, and merciful sympathy. We had rather assume the risk of a system rebellion than to court the hazard of depriving one struggling mortal from any evolutionary world of the eternal joy of pursuing the ascending career.
“This does not mean that human beings are to enjoy a second opportunity in the face of the rejection of a first, not at all. But it does signify that all will creatures are to experience one true opportunity to make one undoubted, self-conscious, and final choice. The sovereign Judges of the universes will not deprive any being of personality status who has not finally and fully made the eternal choice; the soul of man must and will be given full and ample opportunity to reveal its true intent and real purpose.”
Remember, Jesus told us about God honoring even the “faintest flicker of faith…” Who knows if, in your friend’s heart-of-hearts, such a faint flicker is smoldering? I would say that, if your friend is just confused and unable to step out on faith just yet, it is best to have a positive view that, when given that final chance to survive, s/he will. And who knows? Maybe continued association with you, as a caring associate, may yet be of great benefit to him/her. As you become closer to God and show the way, this friend may just become a believer like you!
Thanks again for writing to us with this great question. I hope that my reply has been of some help to you today. And, feel free to write back any time!