Heaven, Hell, and Planet Earth
By David Johnson
On a road trip a few years ago, while changing stations on the AM dial of my car radio I heard a zealous minister loudly bemoan the wages of sin, suggest the generous tithe, and warn against the ultimate consequences of Hell. Shortly thereafter he came around to the joys of redemption at Heaven’s gates. The sins of those who repented were finally forgiven and their day of joy was at hand.
I personally, come with an inherent belief that my God isn’t an angry and vengeful God and his wish is for us to live in peace, respect and enjoy his bountiful green planet, and love and nurture all forms of life around us. Silently rejecting the good minister’s words, I continued to move the dial, settled on some soothing ‘elevator music,’ and continued my journey down the highway.
As I drove, my mind kept returning to the clergyman’s frenzied references to Hell. What if we were, I thought, already immersed in what is to be the Heaven or Hell for this specific life’s journey? What if earth (a clean slate) is, indeed, what we make of it, how we regard and carry the weight of the burdens that it places upon us, the opportunities that it extends to us, or the daunting challenges that are placed in our paths? I have heard many references to what is for some, “Hell on earth,” and to others “Heaven on earth.” What if reality proved these references to be accurate? What if the answers to these age-old mysteries have been lying directly before us since the very beginning, for all of us to see and understand? What if the objective of God’s promise was already right here before us?
For centuries people have dutifully attempted to annotate their near-death experiences. Many who have been clinically dead for minutes, or even hours, have described lights at the end of a perceived ‘tunnel,’ and witnessing the meeting of loved ones (who have passed on before them), emerging from that source of light. The variations