letters to surfers

how can you believe the exclusive words of jesus: "no one comes to the father but by me" (john 14:6)?

by robert brow

Dear L.,

Before explaining how I understand those words, I have to reject what is often added to this statement. Some evangelists tell us that no one can be saved unless they hear about the death of Christ, believe he died for them, repent, and make a decision to accept Jesus as personal savior. If that was true then we would have to consign to eternal damnation Abraham, newborn children, retarded persons, the ignorant, and all people born into other religions. None of them could make a decision to accept Jesus as personal saviour.

What the text actually says is that every single person who is taken through death to enjoy the Father's heaven will discover that he or she only got there through the personal intervention of the Son of God.

Those who assume that there are many ways to heaven forget the hugeness of what has to happen to us when we die. Imagine you have been shredded in an atomic explosion, or have been devoured and digested by sharks. You have no surviving brain cells to think or do anything. Personality is impossible without feelings, thinking, and emotions. So you not only need a body to be reconstituted, but your new body needs to be suited for life in the city of God. But that is still not sufficient. Your personality needs to be so changed that you bring none of your bad habits and attitudes to foul up the perfect love of heaven.

By the time Jesus spoke these words he had come to know he was the eternal Son of God (see Matthew 3:17; 17:5). He was the Son of God who originally designed us (Genesis 1:26-27; compare John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17). He invented the incredibly complex computers needed for every cell of our body to work together for us to be in the image of God. And he alone has the power to reconstitute us with a body that is perfectly equipped for heaven. To picture how this could happen, see the article "My Android Helen" elsewhere on this web site.

Does that mean that every person will be forced willy-nilly into heaven? That is morally impossible because no one can be forced to accept the love of God and enjoy loving for ever. God's love does not exclude us because of human ignorance or imperfection. The Son of God can raise Abraham, and others before New Testament times, little children, retarded persons, the ignorant, people with wrong ideas and even wrong religions.

But there is also an awesome freedom to prefer darkness to light, eternal death to eternal life. "This is the krisis, that light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:19). No one is too bad or too misinformed, but no one, literally no one, will be raised to eternal life except through the eternal Son of God.


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