In a sidewalk conversation, Mike, about 25, answered my question about his beliefs about eternity by saying “I was just talking with my mother about that this morning! I don’t really know, we both go back and forth on it. She’s been favoring reincarnation lately, but I think there is such a thing as heaven.” ”So along with heaven, do you also think there is a hell?” I asked. “It all depends on what you believe” was his answer. I asked him further about this and found out Mike was a good example of someone who confuses the ideas that our beliefs and actions in this life affect our relationship with God in eternity, and the idea that what we believe actually determines the realities of eternity itself. People often say “You create your own heaven or hell” and what they are usually referring to the kind of life we make for ourselves right here on earth, but some like Mike actually mean that our imaginations or beliefs determine what will exist in eternity. Arguments between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will aside, what are these people actually saying? Who creates heaven or hell but God alone? And, along with that, who could presume to destroy the reality of either simply by wishing them out of existence or choosing not to believe in them? We need to base our beliefs on an authority outside of our own feelings or imaginations, which Christians understand to be the Bible. How could I convey that truth to Mike in a short sidewalk conversation? We were standing within sight of Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway, so I pointed to the trucks hurtling past and said “Suppose you stood in front of one of those oncoming trucks and covered your eyes and said that you don’t believe in trucks? Would they still hit you?” “Of course…” Mike answered, “…I see what you mean.” Mike soon had to get going, but I have a feeling he may never see fast-moving trucks on the expressway the same way again. Maybe they will help remind him that he can’t design the reality of eternity simply by what he does or doesn’t choose to believe about it.