New bodies await us in heaven? How could Billy Graham know that?

April 28, 2011

Here’s the question this time around:

I’m confused, because on Easter our pastor said that not only will our souls go to be with God, but we’ll also be given new bodies in heaven. Is this in the Bible? Why would we need new bodies there? — C.D.

I had to look this up because it’s an odd concept. What heavenly reason would there to have a corporeal form there? After death, isn’t the soul supposedly all that’s left? Would these bodies have to eat or sleep or anything? How can anyone even state as a fact that we’d get a new one?

A quick Google netted me a list of bible verses somebody put together “proving” this is the case.

Although we do not know exactly what our new bodies will be like, we know that they will be like Jesus. 1 John 3:2-3

Which one, the one on the pizza or the chewing gum?

According to the list, those who believe this bunk can look forward to being incorruptible, glorified, spiritual, eternal and powerful. Is it fair to say these people want to die so they can become gods in their own image?

We should earnestly desire to be clothed in our heavenly bodies. 2 Co 5:1-5

We should be confident and walk by faith not by sight, knowing that while we are at home in this body, we are absent from the Lord. 2 Co 5:6-7

Therefore, we should make it our goal to please God. 2 Co 5:6-11

We should eagerly wait with perseverance for the redemption of our bodies, even though we cannot see them now. Ro 8:23-25

We should seek insight and desire to lead others to God so that they, too, can be partake in God’s righteousness. Dan 12:2-3

We should keep our focus on the better resurrection – even to the point of receiving torture. Heb 11:35

We should be ready to suffer for Christ. Ro 8:16-20

The last three are the most alarming and troubling. I think these people are working under a delusion and encouraging more people to buy into it with them will cause nothing but trouble.

Graham’s response to this letter is to remind people that Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan into being sinful and punished them with death. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Adam supposedly lived to the ripe old age of 930 (Genesis 5:5) so God must have really punished him with life. Since all we are supposed to want is death and resurrection by his side forever, making Adam wait so long for that “gift” was particularly cruel and very much in line with the vengeful behaviour of the Old Testament God in general. Assuming those early Hebrews actually thought that was the life that awaited them after death. Did they? I know they had the concept of Sheol, a world of the dead, but their early idea of heaven doesn’t look like it has anything to do with the way Christians later defined it as a reward for service.

According to Graham, we have to have bodies in heaven to better serve Jesus (Revelation 22:3). What, I ask you, would we have to serve Jesus, a cookie? A volleyball? What possible needs would he have? He walked (Lk 24:15-16) so he can get up off his ass and get his own damn cookie.

So much explaining winds up going into these stories of the afterlife, but what’s the motivation to having them in the first place, to impress? To reassure? To make people who’ve never had a good life feel more relieved that it’s finally over? What about all the people who already lived a life of servitude and learn more of that is their reward for it? Thanks for all the good work, now do more and be happy to do it? Living to serve sounds bad enough, but now you don’t even get a break when you’re dead.



51% is not most; barely half of those surveyed believed in a god

April 27, 2011

18% are reported to have no beliefs of that nature and the rest (17%) remain undecided, according to a recent survey done in Britain that spanned 23 countries and polled over 18,000 people. Similar results occurred with questions about an afterlife. From the Christian Post:

According to the survey, “definitive belief in a God or Supreme Being” is highest in Indonesia (93 percent) and Turkey (91 percent), followed by Brazil (84 percent), South Africa (83 percent) and Mexico (78 percent). Those most likely to believe in “many Gods or Supreme Beings” live in India (24 percent), China (14 percent) and Russia (10 percent).

People who don’t believe in God or a Supreme Being(s) are most likely to live in France (39 percent), Sweden (37 percent), Belgium (36 percent), Great Britain (34 percent), Japan (33 percent) and Germany (31 percent).

They add a few more stats, like 13% of Hungarians think reincarnation is likely and Swedes were more likely than anyone to admit ignorance when guessing about the afterlife. Of those surveyed, South Korea and Spain had the highest ratings for belief that people “simply cease to exist.”

They also noted some stats for creationism and evolution:

41 percent believe in human evolution, 28 percent believe in creationism and 31 are uncertain of what to believe in.

Creationism, or the belief that human beings were in fact created by a spiritual force such as the God, is strongest in Saudi Arabia (75 percent), Turkey (60 percent), Indonesia (57 percent), and South Africa (56 percent).

It certainly makes a difference where a person is raised, educated, and living when it comes to this stuff. Sweden, China, Belgium, Germany and Japan topped the list for countries with more acceptance of evolution, with more than 60% of those surveyed. Sadly, neither the Post or MSNBC note how Canadians rated. I only found one mention in Mother Nature Network:

Mexicans were the most likely to accept the idea of an afterlife, but not heaven or hell, followed by Russians, Brazilians, Indians, Canadians and Argentines.