The Material Fact

Stephen Hawking died today.  I find it interesting to read the comments made in the news forums by people about this man’s death.  They laud him as wonderful, wise, and brave.  Others laugh because they are glad he’s gone, no longer able to spread lies.  There seems to be a sort of joy both ways.  As one who denied God, he is a soul that has been banished to hell for eternity.

It is really, really sad when you think about it: spending a lifetime shaking one’s fist at God, denying God’s existence, only to be met by the same God one so vehemently denied passing over into eternity.  How horrifying it must have been for him to realize he was wrong all along.  It reminds me of Romans 1:18-23 (ESV) which states:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

Those who deny God’s existence are without excuse.  God has made His existence plain to them in many ways including through the wonder that is creation.  Those who deny God choose to value man’s word over God’s Word.  They claim to be wise, yet they are not.

Stephen had his praises and perhaps even his worshipers here on earth.  Now he will spend eternity regretting it.  I cannot rejoice in that.  I am sad for that.

Ezekiel 18:20 (ESV) says, “The soul who sins shall die.”  Romans 3:23 (ESV) states, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  We are all sinners.  I am.  You are.  Stephen was.  We will all die at some point because sin entered the world.

There is hope, though.  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV).  Because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for sin, for my sin, I am able to honor God for who He is.  My thinking does not have to be futile, and my foolish heart is no longer darkened.  Because Christ paid the price for me, I can live to bring glory to God now and into eternity!  So can those who put their faith in Christ!

If only Stephen could have seen past his pride and stopped suppressing the truth.  If only he had come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  If only his foolish heart had not been darkened, then he would not be presently experiencing the wrath of God as described in Romans 1.

Luke 15:10 (ESV) states, “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Unlike so many of those commenting on those news forums, there is no joy today to know that another soul has passed on into eternity without Christ.  To die without Christ is the most horrific thing any person could ever experience.  That is the material fact, and that makes me incredibly sad.

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