“All the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.”
“All the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.“
“All the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.“
“All the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.“
“All the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.“
“All the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.“
“All the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God, and then he was no more because God took him.“
“All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.“
“All the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.“
What’s so special about Enoch?
These verses are from Genesis 5. While it’s easy to get distracted by the whopping lifespans of these guys, I hope you notice something else. One of these things is not like the others — and it’s not just the bold type. It doesn’t say that Enoch died; it says that God took him.
Hebrews 11:5 sheds some light on what happened: “By faith Enoch was taken to heaven so that he would not see death.”
Out of all of these people, only Enoch went to heaven at the end of his life on earth. Enoch’s case was clearly an exception, not the rule.
What’s the point?
The point is this: Many people — and most Christians — believe that people go to heaven when they die. This belief is not supported by scripture. Instead, it came into mainstream Christian theology by way of mythology and philosophy.
Particularly, it is the notion of the immortal soul that was popularized by Plato. This philosophy purports that a disembodied soul originates in heaven, comes down to earth to inhabit a body for a time, and eventually escapes from the body and returns to heaven.
It is important to know where our beliefs come from and what the Bible actually says. This isn’t the only passage that tells us about death and heaven. Read the Bible from beginning to end, and you will see a clear, consistent, coherent message.
Those eight men who died might go to heaven and receive eternal life at some point in the future. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and He offers Himself to everyone. What can we look forward to?
“The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
I hope you do find comfort in these words. The Lord knows we need it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas in the comments below. Also, if you don’t already subscribe, I invite you to stay connected and stay tuned for more stuff ‘n’ things where theology, science, and philosophy intersect.