Clergy Corner: Imagine no Heaven? No way!

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Susan Beckett.

■ Susan Beckett / Contributed

I love listening to “oldies but goodies.” It’s amazing how this sixty-something year old brain of mine can remember all those older songs and lyrics, actually singing along with great gusto most of the time. Matter of fact, I listened to a Fourth of July special this year that had the Temptations and the Beach Boys on stage, singing their old tunes. There I sat, on our brown leather sofa, singing along at the top of my lungs, loving every musical note.
I recently heard the Beatles song Imagine, John Lennon’s signature song released back in 1971. I can’t, of course, hum it for you here on paper, but I’m sure many of you will have the melody going through your head as you read these words: “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today…”
The song was a big hit for the Beatles, but I always wondered if people really listened closely to the words. One of the things Lennon also wanted to imagine was a world without religion. With no heaven, no hell, and no religion — I think one can rightly come to the conclusion that if a person is imagining this then they must also be imagining no God. I’m not the only one who has come to this conclusion, as many people embrace this song as their “atheist anthem”.
But how sad is that? Why? Because I Timothy 6:13 tells us that it’s God who gives life to all things…” John 1:3 reminds us that “All things came into being through Him (God).” And it gets better as James 1:17 says that “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, it comes down from the Father of lights…”
Only God is the giver of life — the originator and giver of all things good.
So why would anyone want to try and dismiss the existence of heaven or hell or God from people’s lives? There are, no doubt, many reasons. I think Robert Laidlaw nailed it when he said, “God exists whether or not man may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.”
Bingo! That’s it exactly. Everyone has a choice — you, me and even John Lennon. I always tell people that eternity is a long time to spend in the wrong place, so get this one right. Making the wrong decision here is bigger than picking out a lemon for a car or picking out the wrong color of paint for your kitchen. All roads do not lead to God and much to the dismay of many, ‘we’ are not God either! As Johann Goethe has said, “The greatest act of faith takes place when a man finally decides that he is not God.” Funny line, but how true!
But, hallelujah, there really is an amazing God and the way to Him is pretty simple. It’s a saving belief in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work for us on the cross. That legendary verse of John 3:16 pretty much says it all. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
I will finish with a simple yet profound sentence from Pastor Rick Warren that I wish John Lennon could have understood: “You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor the Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet. For more information you can visit their website at

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