Together For Life, Separate For Eternity?


If a couple have been married for over 50 years, and have been faithful and loving toward each other, but the husband is not a believer (although he has said he ‘would like to believe, as everything would make sense then’) and the wife is a believer, are they to be separated at death, and one go to heaven while the other goes to hell?

How could God do that? Surely what he has joined together should not be ‘put asunder’? How could the wife ever be happy in heaven knowing that her husband with whom she shared her whole life and who she loved with all their heart has gone to hell simply because he could not believe?

These people are my dear parents. I am a born-again Christian living in the same house with them. I pray frequently for them. Surely, surely, God in all his love and mercy could not, would not separate them for all eternity after death…….????

Your thoughts on this would be most welcome, as it is causing me great concern.


Let’s be clear about one thing right from the start. God is not doing anything to harm your mother and father. In fact He’s done everything possible to prevent it. When He put them (and us) on earth he gave us only one rule, and asked us to make only one decision, and then gave us an entire lifetime to make it. The rule is “Believe in the one He has sent” (John 6:28-29) and the decision is to let His death purchase a pardon for our sins. (John 3:16)

The marriage ceremony actually says, “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” It also says that the marriage is only in effect until the death of one of the parties. But if your mother and father spend eternity apart it will be your father’s doing, not God’s.

If your father dies unsaved, your mother will not suffer any loss in eternity. Isaiah 65:17 says that in the Kingdom, “the former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind.” Do you really think God would condemn your mother to an eternity of sadness because your father refused to believe and be saved?

You say your father says that he would like to believe because it would make things simpler. What’s stopping him? The Lord has given us His Word so we can learn about Him. For 6000 years He’s been making every promise He ever made come true so we’ll feel secure in believing Him. He spent an entire day suffering the most painful death ever devised so that we can live forever with Him if we’ll just accept that He did it for us. Everyone who asks receives. Every one who seeks finds. To all who knock the door will be opened. (Matt. 7:7-8) What more would you have God do? Nobody can’t believe.

I appreciate your concern, and my heart goes out to you, but your frustration is misplaced. God has done everything He can do to provide a way for your parents to spend eternity together. Now it’s up to your father.