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Abel’s Predicament

February 6, 2007

To go along with our formal studies in textbooks, 17th century classic texts, and incredibly complex but enlightening scientific experiments for this school year, my family tries to have stimulating conversations during our family dinner times.  Well, during the first week of classes, my ever-pensive younger brother opened his mouth during dinner with a different intent than just putting food into it.  He asked the very interesting question, “Where did Abel go when his brother Cain murdered him?”  (This story can be read in Genesis 4).  After considering the question, my sister and I concluded that Abel must have gone to some intermediate place between death and heaven, a sort of “limbo.”  The reasoning behind this statement was that, since Jesus had not yet died on the cross, Abel’s sins (though temporarily covered by animal sacrifices) were not yet forgiven, for as Hebrews 10:4 says, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”  In other words, the blood of animal sacrifices was representative of the blood of Christ that would be shed on the cross, but animal blood itself had no power to forgive sins, and therefore, Abel’s sins at the time of his death were not forgiven and he could not enter Heaven.  In addition to this, before His death on the cross Jesus said to His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).  If there had been a Heaven before Jesus came to earth, He would not have so clearly stated that He was going to prepare such a place.  It would appear, then, that heaven did not exist before Jesus’ death, for no one would have been able to get in before Christ’s blood was shed for their sins.

Well, in light of this rather complex discussion on where Abel probably went when he died and why he went there, I asked my sister to illustrate this for me.  I know that there are those who better grasp difficult ideas through pictures and other visual stimuli, so I have decided to provide explanatory illustrations.  Anyway, without further adieu, I present to you “Cain and Abel.”

(Cain murders Abel…)

(To Abel’s dismay, he finds that Heaven will not open for a couple thousand years.)

DISCLAIMER:  This post, while presenting a very real Biblical story and situation, is somewhat tongue in cheek in nature.  Of course, the author of this blog does not believe that Abel was left stranded at Heaven’s gate for thousands of years — the situation is illustrated in that way simply to make a humorous statement out of a true fact (the fact being that Heaven did not exist before Christ’s death circa 33 A.D.).  There are differing views on what happened at the death of Old Testament saints, and this post does not offer any conclusive evidence for one view over another.  This post is meant merely to entertain in an intelligent manner.

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2 comments

  1. I think a better, (and happier view) is that time is not something that exists outside this universe, or at least that our particular perspective on time does not effect us heaven or the saints. If it did, then heaven would have to be a physical location in this universe, which would not play with the immaterial state of our souls. Instead heaven is either timeless (a eternal object dependent on God for its existence) or super temporal (a place with a beginning and an end that does not correspond to ours). I think a super temporal explanation is more likely from Revelation (I.E. heaven has a flow to the events that happen there) Under that understanding when Able died he went to heaven (a place prepared by Christ), even though he died long before Christ entered this world. Because Heaven already encompasses the completed outcome of the world.

    Cool pictures by the way. Are they yours or your sisters?


  2. Thanks for the thoughts! Your comment reminds me a lot of a chapter in Mere Christianity, “Time and Beyond Time.” You do a good job of giving a logical reason of how Abel could in fact go to Heaven before Christ’s death — I didn’t think of the time factor before. Oh, about the pictures… I’m very, very bad at drawing, so I’ll have to give credit where credit is due and admit that they’re my sister’s. She’s quite the artist!



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