Careful never to use the term “heaven,” Michael Schur’s sitcom, “The Good Place” demonstrates the problem in a commonly held afterlife formula.
Good Works – Selfish Acts = Your Life Score
Based on the numerical value of your score, you are sent either to “the good place”or “the bad place”. This view is loosely taught by every religion except Christianity, even most agnostics respect the idea of Karma. Although the idea of good earthly deeds causing eternal rewards is widespread, it is unusual to see it so plainly analyzed on television.
As the episodes progress, we discover that good works done for self-gratification do not count toward your life score. And just because you mean well doesn’t mean your score will be high. One character’s attempt to always be ethical made everyone around him miserable; therefore, his effort was not rewarded.
- What if the person’s childhood was so terrible that she did not receive a moral compass necessary for her to determine right from wrong?
- What if the person’s lack of education keeps him from being able to understand cause and effect?
- If someone has always lived a life of selfishness, would she even want to live in “the good place”?
I am curious as to how and if the show will answer those questions. But I do know that the “good place” portrayed in the show is nothing like the heaven described in the Bible. The Bible destroys the premise of the plot.
There is no action good enough to get someone to heaven.
as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10 HCSB)
One of the reason’s God gave the simple ten commandments was to demonstrate how incapable we are at being “good”. Adam and Eve had only one commandment, “don’t eat from this tree”, and yet they refused to obey.
One act of rebellion destroys all the good.
Adam and Eve didn’t have to eat all of the fruit to ruin their relationship with God. They ate one piece of fruit and immediately hid from God (Genesis 3:8). The unavoidable penalty for their rebellion was the death of their relationship with God. Sinners avoid the presence of a holy God. The unrepentant or prideful heart often runs from God.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12 HCBS)
Imagine for a moment, that God did grade us on the curve and top .0001% kindest people entered heaven. What would happen as soon as one act of selfishness occurred in paradise? Heaven would begin the downward spiral that we have witnessed throughout time. Sin is a virus that can only be cured by the perfect sacrifice made by Jesus.
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. (1 Peter 3:18 HCSB)
The only hope is in accepting God’s grace.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 HCSB)
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:5,6,8,9 HCSB)
There is no one so wicked that Jesus will not forgive, if they acknowledge their sin and accept His offer of salvation. It means choosing to make Jesus their life’s priority. Although everyone fails in their commitment, God knows if someone is truly sincere or pretending.
“Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33-34 HCSB)
Can you image a wife denying she knows her husband? Those in heaven admit to having a relationship Jesus.
Salvation is so simple compared to the points system purposed in “The Good Place”. Heaven is a matter of who you trust; not a result of your life score.