Life, Afterlife, and Resurrection

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-life-afterlife-and-resurrectionWhat exactly happens after we die?

Here is what happens. I start out my book Resurrection with an anecdote, and that anecdote is personal, it is the death of my dad in 1997. What happens is the body goes to the ground, but when my dad breathed his last his soul went to be with the Lord. That’s what Paul talks about—absent from body present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).

Now my dad is incomplete. He’s in the presence of the Lord but he is incomplete. He’s awaiting something. The Christian faith is not platonic. It is physical. So we await the physical resurrection of the dead. One day my dad’s soul will return to his body. According to 1 Corinthians 15, the body will rise immortal, imperishable, incorruptible, and that body will be changed from mortality to immortality. My dad will be clothed in a resurrected body for all eternity. He is going to be a body-soul unity for all eternity. That happens when Christ’s returns. This is, of course, exactly what Jesus said. He said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29, NIV).

We have a picture of the afterlife in Luke 16. Remember the Lord told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? There is a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus lying at his gate. A time came when the rich man died and Lazarus died. Lazarus ends up in Abraham’s bosom or paradise, which is a way of talking about being in the presence of God. But the rich man dies and he ends up in torment. There is a gulf between the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is in torment and he is awaiting the resurrection just like Lazarus is awaiting the resurrection.

What happens when Jesus comes back is that will be a separation that takes place for all eternity.

Do the saints absent in the body yet present with the Lord waiting for the resurrection experience time in the same way as those living on earth?

I can’t really tell you what the answer is to this question in that I do not know what existence will be like in the state of being non-corporeal beings. That is what happens when we die. If you die right now prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, your body goes to the grave, and the non-corporeal aspect of your humanity—the soul or the spirit—is with the Lord. The way the Bible talks about that is the sense of relationship to God rather than any locational place. It is not locational language it relational language. The reason I say this is that souls by definition are non-physical; therefore, where-ness does not apply. We know that they are in relationship to God, and they are awaiting in some sense the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ or the time that their souls will return to their bodies.

Can we anticipate seeing pets in heaven?

We do not know that petted pets will be in heaven; though there is nothing in the Bible that precludes that notion. What we do know— I think—from the consistency of Scripture is that there is warrant to believe that there will be animals in heaven. Animals are among God’s most avant-garde and creative creations. There is no reason to suppose that if there’re animals in paradise lost there would not be animals in paradise restored. We just do not know that the same set that lived on this planet will also live in the world to come. There is no biblical evidence for that, but there is certainly no biblical evidence against it either. There are even a lot of people from C.S. Lewis to Joni Eareckson Tada that think that that might very well be consistent with the nature of God.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from “What happens to us when we die?” and “Will we see our pets in heaven, and what is it like for those awaiting resurrection?


Helping Children Make Sense of Lucifer Sinning in Heaven

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-sin-heaven-fall-satanHow do I answer a child that asks, “If there is no sin in heaven, how did sin get into Lucifer?”

Well that is a good question. Here is how this works: God created angels and human beings with choice. God created perfect angels but he wanted them to love Him not because they were forced to love Him but because they wanted to love and obey Him, which is the same thing that your mom and dad want with you. They want you to love them not because they are forcing you to love them, but because you want to love them.

When you give your dad and mom a kiss before you go to bed, it is not because they say, “If you do not give me a kiss, I am going to beat you up.” They want you to give them that kiss because you love them. Then that kiss really means something to them.

That is the same way with angels. God created angels in such a way that they could love him and serve him or they could choose to disobey and rebel against Him. So they had freedom of choice, and without that kind of freedom of choice love does not mean a whole lot.

Now the angels did not all do the same thing. Some of the angels rebelled against God. They did not want to love and obey Him. They wanted to do what they wanted to do. They wanted to disobey Him, because they thought they knew better. And sometimes even kids think that they know better than their parents, but later on when they grow up, they think: my mom and dad knew what they were talking about. That is the same thing. Satan and the angels rebelled against God, but you know what, they knew what they were doing, because they had a lot of knowledge, and they were in the presence of God, but still they chose to disobey God. And that’s how sin comes into heaven and earth.

Adam and Eve did the same thing. God gave them the ability to choose, and they chose to do the wrong thing, and as a result we now have sin in the world. But the beautiful story of the Bible is that God has given us a way out of sin, and that way out of sin is Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ comes into our heart, then we have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers us so that we can have a relationship with God again.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth …And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Rev. 12:3, 7-9, NIV).

This blog adapted from “If there is no sin in heaven how did Lucifer fall?