Robin Williams’ suicide—as is every suicide—is a tragically sad thing. My heart hurts to think what Williams’ inner life must have been like at the end to drive him to such a terrible decision. My heart aches for those he has left behind—his wife, his children, loved ones and friends. His death has left a hole in their lives that nothing and no one can fill.
In the wake of his suicide, billboards and media pundits alike have been assuming that Robin Williams is now in heaven, making God laugh along with other funny men who left this Earth before their time. So, is he?
There is one thing we do know and one thing we do not know that can help us think clearly about Robin Williams’ eternal destiny. The one thing we do know is that access to the presence of God and life in the age to come is reserved exclusively for those who have placed their eternal trust in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). There is nothing remotely ambiguous about that statement. All roads may lead to Rome, but only One leads to eternal life. The only door that leads to life is the narrow gate that Christ Himself has opened. As the apostle Peter put it, “[T]here is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The world naturally will stiffen their necks when they hear these words and throw epithets at those who verbalize it. But their argument is not with us; it is with Jesus Himself. He is the one who said it. We simply agree with Him.
Williams’ desperately sad ending arouses our sympathy, as it should. But we must not confuse our sympathy with God’s salvation. There is one and one path only to eternal life, and that path has not been altered by so much as one centimeter in 2,000 years. That’s what we know.
The one thing we do not know is whether Robin Williams did business with God in his dying moments. While his mother was a Christian Scientist (a counterfeit form of religion that is neither Christian nor scientific), his father was an Episcopalian, so it is certainly possible that Williams heard the gospel in his formative years and may have remembered it all his life.
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