In the movie, Blade Runner, replicants are genetically engineered biological machines that look like, talk like, and act like human beings, which people use essentially as slaves. The designers of the replicants have advanced these machines to the point that they are for all intents and purposes, living beings. They are capable of independent thought, they learn, they reason, they create, and most significantly, they are self-aware—they are conscious of the reality of their own impending death.
The creators designed a fail-safe device into the structure of the replicants, in case something went wrong with their programming. “Accelerated decrepitude” would occur at the end of four years. In other words, the replicants would “die” after four years of “operation.” The central plot of the movie is the replicants’ struggle to overcome their mortality.
In the closing scene, the replicant, Roy, dies. The words spoken by the blade runner, Deckard, as he watches Roy die provides a chilling commentary on the reality of our human existence: “All he’d wanted was the same answers the rest of us want. Where do I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.”
There was a time in my life when I used to hope there was no such thing as heaven or hell. The idea of a heaven was fine, but the idea of there being the opposite of paradise was something I wanted no part of. I was honest enough with myself to know that there was no justifiable reason for me to ever be admitted into heaven, so the safest thing for me to do was to believe that neither heaven nor hell existed. But to just choose to believe that there was no existence of any kind after death was not being completely honest with myself, nor was it a very satisfying answer to the questions that ached in my heart.
The Bible says death was not God’s original intent for us, but the result of our being separated from Him because of our sin. Hell is complete, irrevocable, eternal separation from God and all that is good, lovely, and desirable.
The familiar verses from John 3:16 and 17 sum up the message of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17, NIV).
The last place in existence God wants any of us to be is separated from him. He has done everything needed to prevent that from happening. Heaven awaits those who take hold of Jesus Christ. Joy, peace, beauty, and satisfaction will replace all that disappointed and hurt before.