The Holy Spirit has given his word that heaven is a reality. He has provided vivid and breathtaking descriptions of the wonder of heaven in the Bible. In his wisdom, God has provided exactly what we need to know about what heaven is like. But, there is more. For you and me to believe and trust in the Bible, Jesus Christ had to die. If Jesus had not suffered agonizing punishment and death for our sins, we would not be capable of seeing the wonder and majesty of the Spirit’s book; we would never have the faith to believe its truth.
Therefore, we can trust what is written in God’s word because God guaranteed its truth by the death of his son. So, what the Holy Spirit has written cannot be equaled in reliability by any other author or account. Further, God is not in need of the confirmation or approval of men to validate his truth. God’s truth is validated by the most impeccable source possible: his own holy character.
Why is this understanding important?
A book, and now a new movie, about the reality of heaven have been recently released. Both the book and the movie are based on a young boy’s life-experience, offering proof that heaven is for real. The question is, do these experiences actually give us a better reason to trust God about heaven?
If we rely on a voice other than that of the Holy Spirit in his written word, we are trusting in something other than God’s provision. We are, in effect, saying that we need something in addition to God’s word to confirm the truth about heaven. This stance is an affront to the integrity of God and the trustworthiness of his word. Ultimately, if we need a source different than or in addition to Scripture to confirm our faith, our faith is misplaced. Yes, the Bible tells us that others are to encourage us in the faith; that encouragement often comes as truth spoken in love. Scripture also teaches that, as we are encouraged by others, we must test that encouragement against the Word. The only way to validate truth is to lay it alongside the Bible and see if it conforms exactly to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
Therefore, if a book is written about the experiences of a 4 year-old boy, we need to take that account for what it is. Those experiences, no matter how touching or amazing they might be, cannot be equated to the trustworthiness of the Holy Spirit. The words and experiences of anyone other than a member of the Trinity are tainted in some way by sin. That is reality. As a Christian, you have no need for confirmation of truth beyond what the Lord of the Universe has provided in his Word. The words of other humans may be as sincere as men can utter; their intentions may be as pure and well-intentioned as a sinful human can offer. But, before the word of the Maker of the Universe and of his Holy Spirit, they pale in comparison.
Heaven is for real. The Bible tells me so!