A reader recently sent in the following question:
I’m currently involved in a discussion and was asked this specific question:”Do you have an absolute certainty that when you die you will go to heaven?” What is your take, if you have the time?
Here is my attempt at a response, but I would love for you to weigh in on this subject in the comment section below…
Whew! What a question. In years past I would say “Yes.” But in recent years, I am not sure what “absolute certainty” even means.
To have absolute certainty about anything, you must also have absolute certainty about a whole series of other ideas that lead up to and support the one idea you are trying to have certainty about.
I suppose, if I were pressed, I would say that faith is like an “on-off” switch. It is not a dimmer switch. So you either believe something or you don’t. But in any single belief, there are often a multitude of other beliefs which lead up to it. Maybe you believe all the links in that chain up to the belief in question, or maybe you don’t. So if all the links in that chain are switched “on” then you can be said to have absolute certainty in that belief. But if all the links are not switched on, then you probably do not have absolute certainty.
But I think that you can still believe a particular idea, even if there are some links in the chain leading up to that idea which you do not believe. Let’s say there are beliefs A, B, C, D, E, and F. You are asked to believe F. Let’s say you A, B, C, but I am not sure about D and E. But IF D and E are true, then you believe F.
So is your belief in F absolute certainty? I don’t think so. But do you believe it? I would say yes, even though it is dependent upon some earlier links in the belief chain which you are not sure about.
This is a terrible way of describing this….
One thing I know… no matter what, we are to maintain an attitude of humility and grace toward others. This humility will get interpreted by some as a lack of faith or as a lack of conviction and certainty.
I am still trying to sort all this out, and so far, have not found a satisfactory answer.
What do you think? Is it possible to have absolute certainty about any area of theology? If so, which doctrines? Weigh in here! Maybe the existence of God, the deity of Jesus, and life after death?