But does it matter?
But does it all really matter? Yes, and more than anything else if Christians are right. For in the end, when time as we understand it has ceased to be, the Christian faith teaches that the soul of every person who has walked the earth will be either in heaven or in hell for all eternity. (Catholics also recognise the notion of purgatory, but that is only ever a transitory state.)
The concept of hell is not in vogue in our times; how can a loving God send anyone to eternal damnation? It is an awesome, mysterious and potentially frightening concept, but in reality we will see that we determine the choice: we condemn ourselves or we allow ChristÕs mercy to redeem us. We will fall to our knees, alone before God who is Love and Mercy but also Judge and Truth. We may dare to hope that any good we have done will weigh disproportionately in the balance (1 Peter 4:8) but, where we have failed to love, all the excuses will fall away into nothing and we will not even try to formulate them. In the overwhelming light of that God who is Truth, we will for the first time see ourselves through the eyes of our Creator and there will then be no contradiction between Mercy and Justice. We will understand how through the exercise of our free will we have determined our own destiny. If we are condemned we will not even murmur a complaint because we will know that that is how it has to be.