I’m not saying that Hitch went to heaven. Unless there was some sort of deathbed conversion [and no one's saying that's the case], Hitch definitely did not go to heaven. This is a point on which even atheist mockstar PZ Myers and I agree. Of course, we suppose this is so for entirely different reasons.
After eulogizing the loss of one of the new atheism’s more ferocious advocates, PZ Myers goes on to say the following:
“I do not say farewell to Hitch. I do not say “rest in peace”. I definitely do not say that he has gone to a better place. I actually find myself already bracing myself for the next sign of deep disrespect that is destined to appear soon: the hackneyed political cartoon that draws him standing at the pearly gates.”
Ironically enough, I likewise despise the cartoon Myers braces himself against [though to my knowledge, no such cartoon actually materialized], for it utterly misrepresents the situation to show the atheist being rejected at the Pearly Gates. In all actuality, the Pearly Gates stand wide open to whoever will confess Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in the reality of the Resurrection. There’s no lock. No doorman [not even St. Peter] stands guard against the vilest offender. Nothing stands in the way of the chiefest of sinners, except himself.
The reality of the situation is that a man who stands before the Pearly Gates is a man admiring them before entering them. No, Hitch never stood before the Pearly Gates; rather He stands before the Judgment Seat of God. I take no pleasure in declaring that Hitch is not in heaven because he is in hell, but that is precisely what the Bible teaches and I shall not compromise its truth simply because it offends. And he is not judged for how good he was, for only the righteousness of Christ could hope to stand before God as acceptable. He was judged on whether his name was in the Book of Life or not. A fellow named Dan Dehaan said it best:
“Jesus did not come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live.”
Hitch was not condemned for the things he wrote about God or Christianity. He wasn’t condemned to hell because he was a bad person. He was condemned because Light came into the world yet he preferred darkness. He had a choice. As C S Lewis put it:
“In the end, there are only two types of people: those who say to God, Thy will be done; and those to whom God says, thy will be done.”
PZ Myers, being an atheist, disagrees with any notion of the soul, an afterlife or eternal judgments. Instead, he declares the following by faith:
“Hitch is dead. We are a diminished people for the loss. There can be and should be no consolation, no soft words that encourage an illusion of heavenly rescue, no balm of lies. We should feel as we do with every death, that a part of us has been ripped from our hearts, and suffer pain and grief — and we are reminded that this is the fate we all face, that someday we too will die, and that we are all “living dyingly”, as Hitch put it so well.
As atheists, I think none of us can find solace in the cliches or numbness in the delusion of an afterlife. Instead, embrace the fierce strong emotions of anger and sorrow, feel the pain, rage against the darkness, fight back against our mortal enemy Death, and live exuberantly while we can. Confront mortality clear-eyed and pugnacious, uncompromising and aggressive.
It’s what Hitch would have wanted of us.
It’s how Hitch lived.”
But is this what Hitch would want for us now? I highly doubt it. You see, at this very moment Hitch knows he was very, very wrong.
Jesus told the following talke to his disciples:
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” [Luke 16:19-31]
In case you’re wondering, yes, I am saying that Hitch is in hell. I’m also saying that the implications of Jesus’ story are clear. Hitch would not want anyone to join him there. There are no parties in hell. Hitch would want you to repent and submit yourself to God. He’d want you to confess Christ Jesus as Lord of your life and believe in the reality and power of the Resurrection. He’d want you to escape his fate.
But many will not. Note that when the rich man asks God to send Lazarus to his brothers that they might escape the damnation of hell, that God replies: ”If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The irony is that Jesus did rise from the dead, and men ignore the message of both the Bible and the Risen Lord. Hitch did.
The horrible thing about all of this is that atheists have no excuse before God. They cannot say, Hey God, you didn’t give me enough evidence that you existed! Some atheists claim this is the case, but the Bible testifies in Romans chapter 1 that creation itself testifies of the existence and power of the Creator, so that men are without excuse, “because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Think about it. The Creator is so obvious that the Bible is forced to testify that only the fool says in his heart, There is no God! Ironically, the evidence for intelligent design is so apparent that Hitch was forced to appeal to “bad” design or design he saw as less than optimal design to keep the possibility of a Creator at bay; of course, in doing so, he was willfully ignorant of the effects of the Fall on God’s originally perfect creation and downright credulous when he expressed his faith in the power of mindless all-natural evolution create the world we see.
Interestingly enough, Hitch writes the following in God Is Not Great:
“So why should I not be tempted to… believe that the firmament is in some mysterious way ordered for my benefit? Or, coming down by a few orders of magnitude, that fluctuations of my personal fortunes are of absorbing interest to a supreme being? One of the many faults in my design is my propensity to believe or to wish this, and though like many people I have enough education to see through the fallacy, I have to admit that it is innate” [p. 75].
Yet if God exists [and exists apart from time as the Bible claims], what prevents Him from noting when each sparrow falls and the fluctuations of the fortunes of any man, since men are worth so much more than sparrows in His sight? And how does pointing out proposed exceptions to the anthropic principle invalidate the rule itself, when these exceptions are perfectly explainable as results of the Adamic Fall? Hitchens claims that man’s innate propensity to believe or wish that God watches over us is a flaw in our design, but how did he know this? Because of an education which presupposed pure naturalism from the outset?? Yet what if pure naturalism is not true, and God exists after all? Could it not be the case then that we have this innate propensity for belief because God has “set eternity in our hearts” [as the Bible declares] and desires that we should seek Him by faith?
I tell you the truth: that innate propensity for belief testified against Hitch at the Judgment Throne.
Just as Creation testifies to the existence and eternal power of the Creator, and our propensity for belief ["eternity set in our hearts"] causes us to be predisposed to affirm the existence of that Creator, a sense of universal moral law and justice tells us we are accountable to that Creator. As I put it in a debate with an atheist once:
“There IS a universal Moral sense that pervades humanity. Most people call it a conscience.The Bible calls it God’s Law written on our hearts. We know what we ought to do, even if we do otherwise. The presence of a universal Moral Law implies a Law Giver & strongly suggests accountability to that Lawgiver. The ability to ignore or act contrary to our conscience confirms that we have free will. That the Lawgivers will is revealed but not imposed upon us suggests that He values free will, That He wants our willing compliance, That He cares what decision we make.
If so, As the Lawgiver, He would also want to reaffirm His will and make it plain, since our moral sense can be corrupted willfully or passively, through social conditioning for example. God would reveal Himself somehow but in a way that would not impose upon the free will he bestowed upon Man, when he made man in His own image. He’d give us too little evidence to be sure, but too much to deny. The Bible claims to be just such a revelation from the Creator of the cosmos. The Bible has been demonstrated to be historically, archaeologically and – if fulfilled prophecy and the evidence of Christ’s resurrection are taken into account – even supernaturally true.”
And one of the awesome promises of this revealed Word of God is that if we seek God with all our heart, we will not fail to find Him! And the soul that seeks Him will discover that if he confesses the Lord Jesus and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead, he will be saved! It’s that simple.
I want you to notice something about PZ Myers comments: he is absolutely furious with Death. Death is the enemy. Of course, this is very true, but Myers has no justification for feeling this way. If his atheistic, evolutionary view of history is true, death is natural. As such, death is no more good or evil than rain or earthworms or daisies or supernovae. It just is. Yet we know that death is somehow unnatural. Biblically speaking, death is an intruder. The world God originally created was perfect, but when Adam rejected his Creator sin entered the world, and death by sin, so that death passed upon all men. When Christ died on the cross for our sin debt and then rose again to give us the promise of eternal life, He broke the power of death. And it is promised in God’s Word that death, the last enemy, will ultimately be destroyed and those of us who believe on His Son will live eternally.
Unfortunately for Hitch and all of the rest of us, at present, it is appointed to man once to die; and afterward comes the Judgment. Hitch has received the righteous judgment of God for refusing the free gift of grace offered. My prayer is that you will take this free gift.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
“For unto you is born, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
God bless you,
Rev Tony Breeden