Did the first sinners, Adam and Eve, go to heaven? I believe they did. I believe God forgave sinners before Christ's death on the cross. (Relevant to this column is last week's column. If you missed it, email me a request to send it to you.)
Paul tells us about Abraham's being forgiven in Romans 4:3. "What does Scripture say? ĎAbraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'"
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works in Psalms 32:1-2. "Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them."
From Romans 4:16: "The promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring -- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham."
Now read Hebrews 11:4-10: "By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God."
But do we have good reason to think Adam and Eve went to heaven? After all, they disobeyed God's command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. God is the One who decides who does or does not enter heaven. There's no place in the Bible that says they were saved. But there is no place in the Bible that indicates the couple was lost, either. But how can they be saved to heaven if they disobeyed God?
With this line of reasoning, though, every believer would be excluded from passing through heaven's gate. Adam and Eve were sinners, as are each one of us. If Adam and Eve are excluded from heaven, so are every one of us.
But every one of us depends on God's grace to save us. Was God's grace in effect before the cross of Christ? Some people believe it was not in effect before Christ's death.
The law system has been in existence since the Garden of Eden and still exists, today. But nobody, before or after Christ's death has been saved by law or by the law system. But the grace system as a means of salvation has been in existence since the Garden of Eden. Any pre- or post-Pentecost person who has been saved, has been saved by grace. If Adam and Eve were saved, they were saved by grace. The same applies to each of us as faithful believers.
So, were Adam and Eve saved to go to heaven? I believe they were justified by their faith, as were the Old Testament believers.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children's Ranch for nearly 40 years. He's a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.