What if Jesus met Hitler?
My grandson asked me: If Hitler had repented of his great guilt at the last moment before his suicide and had asked God for forgiveness, would he also go to heaven? F. D., Koenigs Wusterhausen
Many people have thought about this question - and rightly so. Because what kind of heaven would it be in which murderer and victim meet? Hitler and gassed concentration camp prisoners, Stalin and Gulag victims?
However, no one has yet come to a really satisfactory answer to this question, because one thing is clear: God alone is Lord over salvation and over heaven. And that applies even if Hitler and other (mass) murderers do not recognize and repent their guilt before, but only after their death.
Because the faith of the church is this: Everyone - no matter if good or bad, Christian or Muslim, believer in God or atheist - will meet God at the moment of his death and face his final judgment. That will be the moment of truth in which everyone ruthlessly realizes what good and bad he has done in his life, what he has neglected, where he has missed, sinned, failed. This moment will be a more painful one, and the more painful the more cold, dark and evil there was in us. The moment of judgment before God's face: Even Hitler cannot avoid it.
But what then? Can it be that God will forgive even the worst monsters in the end? Yes it can be. We do not know it. The church has beatified or canonized people, thereby expressing their belief that they are in heaven. But the Church has never defined that any particular person - or anyone at all - is in Hell.
It may be that evil and cold have taken hold of someone so much that even God's love cannot thaw them, that man's no to love is final and salvation is therefore not possible. But all of this is beyond our knowledge. And anyway, human notions of heaven and of being together in the kingdom of God are probably far too small to be true.
By Susanne Haverkamp
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