There is a clear truth that all Bible-believing Christians know, but we don’t really like to think about it very much in detail, especially when we have to apply it to a real situation involving a real person. Yet we avoid this truth at our peril and the peril of those around us.
Stephen Hawking is in Hell.
Right, I know, I know, “no one but God really knew his heart” and all that. A guy who spent his entire life denying the existence of a Creator, and in fact winning much of his following because of said denial, might have secretly worshiped Jesus Christ as Lord, or might have had a deathbed conversion.
I’ll grant you that anything is possible. I’ll also assert that all available evidence and common sense tells us Hawking ended up exactly where we all thought he would, precisely because pride in his own intellectualism ruled in his spirit.
When he died yesterday at 76, a lot of people posited that now he was free from his wheelchair, and from the debilitating disease that robbed him of his muscular functions and his ability to communicate without the assistance of technology. He would no longer suffer, it was suggested.
That’s not true.
Stephen Hawking is now in a place where the suffering is limitless. His earthly disability was nothing compared to the torment he is experiencing now.
Hell is the destination of people who reject God in their lives. It is where you can have complete and total separation from God, because that is what you chose in life. And with the bargain comes complete separation from every blessing God offers us during our lives on Earth – and what each new arrival in Hell is horrified to discover is that this covers each and every good thing, large and small.
In Hell, there is no joy. There is no hope. There is no relief from pain. There is no strength. There is no solution to any problem. There are no answers. There is no love, no beauty, no wisdom and no chance that anything will ever improve.
The only thing you have to look forward to is the second death.
If I was Stephen Hawking, however, that would not be the worst thing about Hell for me. The worst thing would be the realization that I had spent my entire life denying the love and sovereignty of God, denying the reality of eternal life, and thinking that my own superior intellect had given me this enlightened understanding.
Now here you are, in Hell, suddenly fully aware that you had been wrong about everything. God is real. Eternal life is real. The grace of Christ is real. And you are never going to experience any of it because the very secular intellect you thought made you so brilliant actually secured your fate of eternal destruction.
The very thing you thought made you great turned out to be the reason you’re perishing. Freedom from the wheelchair? Relief from your affliction? Ha! You’d give anything right now to be back in that wheelchair, talking through that freaky device. That would be freedom.
But it’s too late. You know you’re going to stand before God – the God you denied – and give an account of yourself. And you know He’s going to say, “Away from me, evildoer, I never knew you.”
And God’s not going to be impressed that you “unlocked the secrets of time and space” as we’re hearing today, because Hawking did so while denying the One who designed and created all of it.
It gives me no joy to say any of this. Stephen Hawking clearly was gifted with brilliant intellect and God gave him that gift so he could use it for God’s glory. But Hawking didn’t do that. That’s an unspeakable, heartbreaking tragedy – and it does us no good to pretend it isn’t true.
I’d pray for his soul, but it’s too late. So I’ll pray for yours instead.
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Powers and Principalities (2009): Twenty years ago, Clay Bender saw the face of spiritual evil with the naked eye while attending a party. Now, Clay’s terrifying spiritual gift returns, showing him that a supernatural threat is looming – one that could threaten everyone in Royal Oak. As the community grapples with bizarre electrical disturbances and a horrible train derailment, only Clay can recognize the true nature of the strange events, and he and his two closest friends have little time to battle the city’s demons – even as all three are forced to face their own. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)
Pharmakeia (2010): Kyla Spears is being warned – in terrifying dreams – of grisly and violent tragedies looming for young people in Royal Oak. But her spiritually gifted friend Clay Bender is reluctant to help, and her feelings for one charming young man threaten her newfound spiritual integrity and her ability to face the truth about what’s really behind the threat. (Buy Now button for signed hard copy: $15.99. Amazon button for digital download: $2.99)