From a Christian point of view it makes sense that we would have the mixed experience of pain and pleasure that we do.
We can expect of God to delightfully adorn the mortal world with hints of heaven, pointing our passions, and stealing our thoughts away to those infinite places in which we were meant to dwell. We can see the portraits on heaven’s walls, and picture the infinite heaven’s hall. We first learn of heaven on earth. We first prepare for glory in the dim light of now.
Hell also is known first through its heartening hints, here and now. Suffering and evil in this world are measured warnings for that unknown moment when we leave for the next world. God is just as much the author of heaven’s signposts as of hell’s howls. Both are to prepare us for the inevitable end we all must face. Sure we may scorn God for allowing evil in this world, but when we’re lain in the grave and our souls sink us lower by the weight of our sins, we cannot say we weren’t warned.
Perhaps the essence of heaven is to live beyond yourself and hell is to live within yourself.
3 thoughts on “Earth and Hell and Heaven”
From an atheist point of view the mixture of pain and pleasure in life are not confusing at all.
I can grant that, though I’m not sure how an atheist can justify deriving any meaning or morality from pain or pleasure.
I don’t understand your criticism. Recently a four of five members died in a house fire. The only meaning I get from it is that there was a lack of fire safety and that it is a tragic, accident. I can see how a belief in a benevolent god would raise many questions, but I cannot understand how it could answer them. From the Bible, God’s answers seem to be showing up and saying “who are you to even ask that why I would do this?”. What is the meaning there?
If it was part of God’s plan, does that mean that having a smoke detector on each level and preventing the tragedy would have been contrary to the plan? Does that mean I should be less fastidious in safety precautions? After all, if God has a plan for me to die or be injured, it will all work out. It is his plan! Or, was it God’s plan to kill the four to teach us to be more fastidious with fire safety? If so, could he not have killed only 3 of the 4 or 2? Or why not kill the 5th? Or was he punishing the survivor for his, or someone else’s sins? Or, was he having another wager with Satan? Without access to the plan how can we get anything from this? Or is the god simply not benevolent at all?
I can understand that it might be slightly comforting to delude oneself that there is some meaning and larger plan, but comfort is not meaning. And if it is false comfort, wouldn’t you want to know?