BACOLOD

Pacete: Heaven and hell

PRESIDENT Digong is at it again! In attacking the dark side of Catholicism, he had another Freudian slip...“There is no heaven and, there is no hell!” That came after calling “God” stupid.

Many may not like President Digong personally but he deserves a little consideration from us being the elected president of the Philippines. Let him find his own God. When he was mayor of Davao he told us at SMX during the national conference of tourism officers, “I am not running for president but if Jesus Christ would come down from heaven and tell me to run, I will run.”

One time when he was inside the airplane looking at the clouds, he said that he was able to talk to God. That could be his “God” talking to him and that God was not stupid. The president simply hates some priests and bishops for berating how he runs the Philippines as a state.

Since he is president, we do not want him to be inconsistently inconsistent with his inconsistencies, especially when he attacks the Church. He can assail the dark side of Catholicism but not the Church because we are the Church.

President Digong does not believe in heaven. He should read the Holy Bible. Even the president can understand the Holy Bible. Heaven is the dwelling place of God. Moses instructs the Israelites to ask God: “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven and bless thy people.”

Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount addresses God with the words: “Our Father who art in heaven...” In Ecclesiastes it could be read, “God is in heaven, and you upon earth.” The Holy Bible provides proofs that there is heaven. Heaven is not just a mental state.

John in Revelation describes heaven as “a city built of pure gold, clear glass whose wall was composed of jasper, whose foundations were adorned with jewels, and whose gates were made of pearl”. Genesis confirms it, “Higher still was heaven, where God reigned supreme...”

The Holy Bible has impliedly mentioned “hell.” Could it be a physical torment of scorching heat rising from the lake of fire and suffer in to which the earth’s sinners are thrown? This is according to the Book of Revelation. Or is it the total and eternal isolation from God, the hopeless despair of never knowing his love?

Jesus made dramatic use of that image in his parable of a rich man who ignored the beggar Lazarus at his gates. When the rich man died, he saw Lazarus cradled in “Abraham’s bosom.” The rich man was there wallowing in the fire of torment. He pleads to Abraham that Lazarus would come to him to dip the end of his finger in water to cool his tongue...

So far, that could be the description of hell in the Holy Bible. A ravine south of Jerusalem gave hell its name. It refers to the valley where there had been pagan hearth used to burn the victims of child sacrifice.

At the site of horrible death by fire, the valley thus provides an appropriate metaphor for the place where God condemns the evil for eternity. Jesus used this place in his teachings as a location that can destroy both soul and body (Mt. 10:28).

Someone has to tell President Digong of a personal experience based on “to hell and back” and “to heaven and back.” The belief in heaven or hell is a personal conviction. Your religion can only assist you. We do not just define heaven or hell. This could be our choice while we are still alive.


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