What happens to God’s creatures when they die? Do they go to heaven?
School can be hell - literally!
Where do the bad kids go? If a really rotten kid dies, do they go to a) heaven, b) hell, or c) somewhere else? If you answered c, then maybe you’ve been reading the book ‘Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go’. Welcome to Heck. It’s not quite hell, but it isn’t a pleasant place to be either. Heck is where underage sinners go to be rehabilitated or punished for all eternity – or until they turn 18. Heck is not a place you want to spend any time. Are you in danger of spending time in Heck?
Marlo is a young teenage goth girl kleptomaniac (can’t stop stealing) with a tendency to get into trouble with full blown mayhem. Her younger brother Milton is a bookworm who is a good kid constantly being picked on by the local bully. When these two siblings die in a giant marshmallow bear related explosion, they find that this is the first day of their afterlife. No halos and harps for these two, they’re going to Heck, a perverse, limbo-like school for naughty kids. Demons and condemned souls make sure that no one is having any fun. But why is Milton here? He is (or was) a good kid. Something not quite right is going on in Heck. But Milton and Marlo don’t plan on sticking around long enough to find out what that is.
Heck is the first in a planned nine part series. Which doesn’t come as much of a surprise really. It seems that all kids books these days have to be part of a series.
The other-worldly land of Heck is an interesting place. In my mind it seems like the kind of place that would exist if Robert Rodriguez and Tim Burton got together to design the afterlife. Little demons running around with spork shaped pitchforks. A cafeteria where all the good food is booby-trapped. Coffin shaped cribs for naughty babies. There’s a lot here to spark vivid imagery in the mind of the reader.
Does Heck exist? Is there an afterlife just for kids? Is there an option other than heaven or hell? According to the principal of Heck, Bea “Elsa” Bub, the reason Heck exists is because “young souls aren’t fully accountable for what they have done – yet.” So they are sent to a limbo like place to sort them out. The determining factor in where they go is the measurement of their soul. If they have done more bad things than good things, they end up in Heck, rather than some more pleasant location.
There’s some major issues here. Firstly, are kids accountable for their sin? Milton and Marlo are certainly old enough to know better. They can tell right from wrong. Should they be let off the hook just because they’re not 18 yet? If you’re old enough to know you’ve done the wrong thing, you’re definitely old enough to be held accountable for your sin. If you’re underage, you’ll still have to stand before God and give an account for all the times you’ve done stuff you weren’t supposed to and not done stuff you were supposed to.
Secondly, is there more to the afterlife than heaven and hell? Jesus didn’t think so (and considering he’s God, he’d have a pretty good idea). Jesus said “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36) If you believe & follow Jesus, you’re going to heaven. If you reject Jesus, you’re going to hell. There’s no other option. There’s only two possible ways to go. The whole idea of Limbo or Purgatory or Heck just isn’t consistent with the Bible. And neither is the way Milton and Marlo are allocated to Heck. It’s not about how many good versus bad things you’ve done. Because at the end of the day, we all deserve hell. Our sin is too great. It’s only through believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus can you get into heaven.
For more articles by Joel A Moroney, head on over to Pop Culture Christ.