‘Imagine’, the best-selling single by John Lennon is one of the most recognisable melodies in pop music and opens with the line ‘Imagine there’s no heaven’. What follows with the lyrics is a picture of a world without borders, possessions or religion where some kind of utopia exists and where division would be replaced by unity. Here is the opening section:
There is much within these lyrics that sound appealing but is the prospect of no future heaven really something to be wished for? Would the world really be a better place if everyone lived for ‘today’ as is suggested?
Since this song was written over fifty years ago, a philosophy in keeping with the sentiments in this song has been actively promoted where rampant secular humanism has gripped much of the western world. The prominence of a Christian worldview (which appears to be the ‘religion’ most in view in the song) has been replaced with other belief systems which seek to remove the God of the Bible from the public square.
This enormous shift is visible in every area of society – the schools, academia, media, entertainment, the workplace, the legal system. Faith in God has truly been replaced by a Darwinian worldview and the religion of humanism which focuses on the worship of humanity instead of God.
As a result, it is certainly true to say that people are ‘living for today’ more than they were fifty years ago without the acknowledgement of a future in heaven (or hell). However, rather than the creation of some kind of peaceful utopia and increased harmony, things are no better. In fact, our culture has lost its moral anchor and its source of real hope or purpose beyond this life.
And the effects of this are obvious. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and general dissatisfaction with life are rising massively due to the hopelessness caused by this worldview. And this is perfectly demonstrated by Covid which caused our nation to become gripped with fear, hysteria and division. Anything which threatens the perfect lives we now care so much about causes incredible alarm which is a symptom of believing that this life is all there is.
We would suggest that the guidance of our Creator along with a healthy ‘fear of God’ should be the basis of human morality. We suggest that the amazing promises of God should be the motivation for enduring through life – especially the tough times. For us, redemption and forgiveness find their climax in a relationship through Jesus Christ. Instead, we have become a culture that has become fearful and unforgiving – where we cannot handle differences of opinion, where self-entitlement runs riot and where one mistake can leave you shamed, de-platformed and unemployable forever.
Now you could say that this is how it is supposed to be. The Christian faith was always supposed to stand apart from the culture of the day. There is no such thing as ‘cultural Christianity’ in the New Testament. The true Christian faith will always be a fringe movement until the return of Christ. This is true, but the point is that a world without the prospect of heaven is not a better world.
We no longer need to imagine there’s no heaven – we are witnessing the effects of this worldview and it has nothing to offer. Living for today does not bring about an improvement in the world – rather, it fuels less accountability and more recklessness. The removal of borders and religion will not result in humanity living in peace. The sentiments in this song fail to recognise that the problem is not political or religious ideas, neither is it the acknowledgement of heaven.
The real problem is each of the people that exist within these systems, including you and me. It is the broken and fractured relationship between each of us and our Creator that is at the heart of the problem. Our world is a mess, but we cannot fix it – our coming King will. This does not mean we shouldn’t try to make the world a better place – we should, but the promise of a coming restored and just world is the only source of real hope.
So we invite you to really imagine there’s no heaven. Don’t allow your thinking to be distorted by the corruption of the world’s religious systems – just imagine that this life on earth is really all there is and that when you die, that is it. Does that fill you with hope? Does that fuel you with an incentive to follow your conscience and do the right thing now? Do you feel that ‘living for today will make the world a better place as the song suggests?
For us, a world like that removes all hope and purpose. And this is really the mission of this website – to lovingly point readers to the Lord Jesus Christ who revealed much about this coming heaven and the significance of the choices we each face in our earthly lives.
Please explore the life and the claims of Jesus Christ – he really was (and is) and unique individual who holds each of our destinies in his hands. And he invites each person to enter a relationship with him which secures a place in a coming perfect world.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV)