Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 20, 1955

Is Heaven Real?

Bill Cavender, Nocona, Texas

"In the Firm Foundation of December 7, 1954, there was an associate editorial by Brother Norvel Young. This editorial was entitled "Is Heaven Real?" It is a reprint of an article that had appeared in a newspaper in Lubbock where Brother Young preaches.

In the article Brother Young devotes one paragraph to the glories of heaven being beyond our understanding. He illustrates this point by supposing a man had been to New York, comes home and tries to describe the wonderful sights to his five-year-old child. He compares the skyscrapers to the grain elevators, and the subways to tunnels dug by moles under the lawn in his efforts to convey these sights to the child, and yet, his description is inadequate and the child does not comprehend. So it is with the glories of heaven being beyond our understanding. This same illustration was used by Brother Batsell B. Baxter in a sermon entitled "What Lies Beyond the Grave" at the 1948 Lipscomb lectures.

Brother Young concludes this paragraph with these words: "So, heaven is so wonderful that our childlike minds cannot comprehend its beauty and magnificence. 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . . the things which God hath prepared for them that love him'." (1 Cor. 2.) It is surprising to see a brother of Brother Young's ability so misuse a passage of scripture, as he has done with 1 Corinthians 2:9. This passage has no reference whatever to heaven. Paul was speaking of the gospel and its revelation to man, not about heaven. And the very thing that Paul was talking about, the gospel, he says, in verse 10, has been revealed by the Spirit.

We do not believe that anything is ever gained by taking a passage from its context and applying it where it has no application. This is comparable to those who take Matthew 10:32 to prove that the alien must confess his faith in Christ before being baptized, when that passage has no reference whatever to the alien sinner.

In our study, writing and preaching, we should "handle aright the word of truth." Why use a passage to teach or infer a teaching that it does not teach?