Where Do Terrorists Spend Eternity?

Burning in Hell!  From the President to the Pundits to the person on the street, everyone I’ve heard celebrating ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi’s death has also been emphatic that this is how he will be spending eternity.  Given the unspeakable evil he was responsible for, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.

As just as this verdict may be, however, there’s a couple of very troubling things about our reaction.

First, we seem to be rejoicing over his trip to Hell a little too much.  If God’s desire is that all people be saved (I Timothy 2:3), then isn’t it God’s desire that Al-Baghdadi be saved too? (Hint, hint: I’m asking this rhetorically)  Of course it is!  And shouldn’t this be our heartfelt desire too? (Again, rhetorical question)  Of course it should!   

We should always and everywhere celebrate the defeat of evil.  God certainly does.  So it is right and good to be giving high fives and fist bumps over Baghdadi having been utterly vanquished from ever being able to do evil again.   

But we should also lament the loss of his soul.  God certainly does.

What does it say about the state of our souls that we would rejoice rather than lament over the loss of his soul?  His soul is infinitely precious to God.  (As were the souls of all those he had tortured or killed—a terrifying prospect for him, but something which God assures us He will sort out and make perfectly right in judgment.) 

A true child of God, a soul that has been grasped by Christ, would genuinely lament the loss of any soul, including Al-Baghbadi’s. 

And this brings me to the second troubling thing.  In what I just said, I presumed Al-Baghdadi is in Hell.  In other words, I played God.  I presumed I could make that judgment. 

Objectively, on the face of it, it is overwhelmingly true that his actions constituted a final rejection of God.  But subjectively, neither I, nor anyone else—except for God—has the right or ability to judge the true state of his soul.  

If, God willing, I make it to Heaven, I might get the surprise of my eternity and find him there.  If I do, I hope I would rejoice that, in some final miracle of grace, he truly repented and entrusted himself to the heart-transforming mercy of Christ.  For now, I do know that, according to Jesus, I’m supposed to pray he did.

This leads to the last thing.  As vile and subhuman as Al-Baghdadi was, this doesn’t give us a pass.  We shouldn’t be patting ourselves on the backs.  While drastically different in degree, we are little different in nature. 

If, as seems likely, he is in Hell, it’s because he had so aligned himself with the evil he was doing that it had become him.  It consumed him to the extent that, barring a miracle of grace, his soul was lost.  By nature, the evil he became can’t exist in the presence of God’s perfect love.  For obvious reasons, it’s eternally excluded.

We like to think that who we are and what we do are essentially separate realities.  When we deliberately do something that causes real harm, something we legitimately feel deep shame and guilt over, we often say—and believe—that this isn’t the “real me”.  But, at some point, we cease to be separate from what we do.  At some point, we become so immersed in it, it becomes our identity.  It overtakes us and we can’t or don’t want to extricate ourselves from it.  We become aligned with it the way Al-Baghdadi became aligned with brutality and terrorism.    

The truly terrifying thing is that aligning with anything other than God and His radical love, making anything else the orbit of our reality, excludes us from Him.  You don’t have to be an Al-Baghdadi to reject God.

But, know that if your orbit does revolve around Jesus, He has prepared an eternal home for you.

Where do you think Al-Baghdadi is spending eternity?  Does it make you rejoice or weep?  Let me know what you think by going to the “Contact E.J.” Page of the Raising Jesus website and leaving your comments there.  Also, please “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t had a chance to yet.  Thank you!

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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