Word of the Week: Transcendence

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Source. Splash news
Robin Williams killed himself yesterday. I'm sad about this.

I am not sad because the world lost a brilliant comedian. I'm not sad because the world lost a gifted and talented actor. I'm not only sad because a wife lost her husband or his family is in mourning. I'm sad because he rejected God, mocked Him, and failed to glorify Jesus by believing in Him.

Am I "cold" for saying this? Is my "timing" off? Am I "insensitive"? I've been accused of all those on Twitter. I had retweeted the following tweet that someone else wrote.

If #RobinWilliams was not truly a Christian, with life evidence to back the claim, he is damned forever. Think about it. #nosecondchance

Yet...we see a crush on social media saying "He's in a better place now." "He is out of pain." "He was a wonderful man." Some Christians even say these things. For a long time on Twitter there was a hashtag labeled #RIPRobinWilliams. There is no peace in our eternal rest unless it is in Jesus. Most people don't mind the platitudes, even if they are wicked corruptions of the truth.  But those platitudes lead others astray.

The bible says,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (1 Corinthians 6:9)

And it says, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God". (John 3:18)

Everybody minds talk of judgment, hell, condemnation. It's always an insensitive subject. Never more than when faced with the dilemma of when to bring it up. Out of the blue while on a picnic? When someone has died? Somewhere in between, like over sandwiches in the work cafeteria? You see the problem.
EPrata photo
When a death or suicide happens, there are always grieving family, friends, or in a celebrity's case, a wider world facing mortality, discussing the afterlife, asking and searching for answers to the question of "Is there life after life?" Death of a loved one is one of the few times when people actually stop their busy lives to consider their own death and what happens afterward. It is also one of the few times people are gathered to hear these issues explained. Sometimes the gathering is at a funeral. Sometimes that gathering is on Twitter.

Christians have the hope of Jesus. We know that life in Him, though hard, offers HIS strength. There is no better strength to rely on to get through a tough time, a depression, any kind of earthly woe. We also have a perspective of eternity. Any woe or trouble we are experiencing now is but a small moment, a wisp of time, and then glory.

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun…” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

In knowing that Jesus has forgiven our sin, that His wrath is not on us, that we have His help for all situations, that His word revives us, that prayer is listened to, and that we possess the future of eternal glory to look forward to, our despair is turned to hope. That is an incredible list of gifts Jesus gives us. The lost have none of those, and must rely on their own wits, intellect, and strength to get through life, all the while that blackening despair creeps in like the tide. Some are overwhelmed by it, as Mr. Williams was.

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes tells us that toil, money, possessions, acclaim, pleasures, advancement, or wisdom, are all meaningless without God. Man's chief end is to glorify God, (Psalm 86, Isaiah 60:21, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31, Revelation 4:11) and to enjoy Him forever ( Psalm 16:5-11, Psalm 144:1, Isaiah 12:2, Luke 2:10, Philippians 4:4)- Westminster Shorter Catechism).

Of course life is meaningless when we reject God.

"For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17)

In Williams’ movie "What dreams May Come”, his character is killed in a car crash, so he becomes a ghost for a while and hangs around on earth. Yet we know that "absent from the body, present with the Lord," (2 Corinthians 5:8). In his movie, Williams' character left heaven to look for his wife in hell, and to take her out of there.Yet we know that "there is a great gulf fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us." (Luke 16:26). In his movie, Williams' character controlled heaven with his thoughts. Yet we know that it's Gods thoughts that are supreme. “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19). In his movie, Williams’ character and the character of the wife were reincarnated as children. Yet we know that "just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

All those are common corruptions of the truth, and are widely disseminated.
No doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than the truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride loathes the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, rules over everything. The carnal mind, burning with enmity against God, abhors the biblical teaching that nothing comes to pass except according to His eternal decrees. (source)
I am aware that these were pagan doctrines in a fictional movie that Williams was portraying as an actor, but I wonder how much of it he believed. His carnal mind was burning with enmity against God. How much of all that seeped into him, as he sat contemplating the end of his life…perhaps to try and end the pain (of separation from God).

I wonder most of all, as the family gathers for his funeral, if someone will take the time to tell them of the hope Jesus offers. Hope burns brightly in every Christian's heart, keeping the wolves of despair at bay and our woes in perspective. Christ triumphed over death, and He offers that triumph to all who believe in Him. It is the best message one could ever hear. But is must be heard on this side of eternity. There are no second chances.


  1. I was discussing this with my husband last night after we heard the news. The finality of it made my stomach hurt, thinking what he must feel right now, the regret. Very sad.

    1. Well said. The finality...upon death our destination is fixed. Jesus made it simple for us, it is belief in Him and Him alone Who determines our final location.

    2. According to Wikipedia, Robin Williams was a member of the Episcopal Church. He described his denomination in a comedy routine as "Catholic Lite—same rituals, half the guilt."

      I get the feeling that the Episcopal Church doesn't believe in "faith alone in Christ" as the only way of salvation. That's the problem with every man-made religion.

    3. His father was Episcopalian. According to this website, his mother was Christian Science. I watched a few clips of Williams mocking God and His miracles, and scoffing at the bible. His close friends thought he was actually atheist.


    4. The Episcopal Church also happens to be very apostate!

  2. The tragedy, to live ones life so deceived about who Christ is and to be so "well off" in the worlds eyes and yet to find ones self in such despair or hopelessness to take their own life. But such is hollywood.
    Christ does not have children who should be that hopeless.
    As far as the tweets. The things of God are foolishness to those who are perishing.
    As I was out for my walk this morning in the very early Am I happened on to a residence in the middle of the town I live in and saw a home rope off with tape and our entire police dept. on the scene. I later found at that some young man had hung himself as well. I too have that same sick feeling when something like that happens.

    1. I'm sorry to hear of the neighbor on your walking route, Jeff. Tragedy is all around us, isn't it. Jesus gives us strength to go through it and to come out the other side.

  3. Great post, Elizabeth. It saddens me, but doesn't really surprise me that reports would mention tidbits about his supposed religious affiliations. It helps plaster over the aching hole in people's hearts who deeply wish to believe that God's a Stand-Up Guy Who is all about love love love love love and would never damn anyone, especially someone as amazingly funny and endearing and genuinely loved by so many as Robin Williams.

    What really saddens--no, enrages me, however, is the way Satan has used so many wonderful people like Mr. Williams to entertain us by letting us view life through the zany, kaleidoscopic vortex of their creative genius, only to allow God and the message of the Gospel to be sucked into that hypnotic, whimsical whirlwind right along with everything else.

    When we listen to such people, they make us laugh. We love people who make us laugh. They draw us in, and we allow ourselves to be drawn in. We love them. We trust them. They've thought of things we never thought of. We listen more. We begin to believe they know things we don't know. They have insight we don't have.

    And then comes the attack--the attack that leaves people rolling in the aisles, but also leaves them feeling a bit silly for even considering the possibility of something so politically incorrect and exclusive, so snoringly arcane:

    That there really is a holy God that created the heavens and the earth, and sent His Son into the world to redeem us from our sin by satisfying His Father's perfect justice on our behalf, redemption that comes only by way of repentant faith.

    May we all find our private opportunities to remind others that people like Robin Williams may make them laugh, but Jesus can make them live.

  4. Hi Elizabeth

    I am glad to see this essay to help offset the news surrounding this man's decision. Already the internet is exploding with agencies, Christian and secular alike, advertising their wares...advertising the reasons why, advertising the cures & answers, and sharing stories relating to suicide, depression and 'addiction' (euphemism for SIN). Big business for this growing industry of help that leads AWAY from Christ (Colossians 2:8).

    Reason for worldly troubles: Fall of man resulting in sin & death / Answer for troubles caused by sin & death: Our Savior & Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:10)

    Can't sugar coat the eternal consequences of decisions like suicide. Maybe someone googling this topic will come across this blog and take time to pause and cry out to the Lord for His Mercy and Grace.

    Matthew Henry commentary excerpt for Hebrews 9:11-14 “Nothing more destroys the faith of the gospel, than by any means to weaken the direct power of the blood of Christ.”

    "What can wash away my sin?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
    What can make me whole again?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

  5. As I have been processing this sad and tragic news, several verses have come to mind.

    First, "Weep with those who weep", Romans 12:15. Suicide is a such a painful loss to the survivors, leaving them bewildered, and deluged with questions of why. It is a disorienting loss, a heart-rending anguish to the soul.

    Job 2, verses 11-13, here 12-13: "(12)...they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. 13 Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great."

    Second, "Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.", Proverbs 14:13. From what I have been reading, Mr. Williams sounds like he was a profoundly sad man. Even the picture you posted above, he looks awash with heaviness of heart. I was very brokenhearted to learn of how he mocked God and the Bible, the very Source of life, hope and peace for mankind, all because of Christ's finished work at Calvary.

    Third, for believers only, comfort from God's word: "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope", 1 Thessalonians 4:13. In Ephesians 2, unbelievers are described as "having no hope and without God in the world". But we have hope, as Hebrews 6:19 says, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast..". Colossians 1, this hope is revealed as "Christ in you, the hope of glory". Titus 3: "5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

    May those who have survived Mr. Williams come to know Christ.


    1. Thank you for your excellent comment, Carolyn. I appreciate the verses.

  6. Excellent commentary, Elizabeth. There are too many people who have made Williams into a hero, and believe that he is indeed "in a better place." They need to know the truth.

  7. As someone who had attempted suicide in my youth as a Christian -- and suffered from terrible bouts of depression, the only scripture that comes to my mind is: Hebrews 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    Suicide is an act of faithlessness – that there is no hope and that there is no God to provide that hope and help. Behind it is an evil spirit that drives you with thoughts of worthlessness that eventually spirals out of control – “kill yourself now – what are you waiting for?” I find that if you turn from those thoughts – almost a physical pulling away – and cry out to the Lord – even a simple “help me” will do – help will come. What many don’t do after crying out for help (whether you are Christian or not) is they don’t wait – help may not come right away – so you must wait. What kept me from suicide was the thought of how it would hurt my friends and family – and also that there was no turning back – the deed would be done – and also, as a Christian, I did not want to be separated from the love of Christ – ever. Wrench yourself away from these evil thoughts – take a walk, call a friend, hug your cat or dog, play a game of Solitaire on your computer, or reach out to someone else who needs your help – the evil spirits that drive you are putting the focus on you – redirect that focus by extending yourself to others – in other words, stop thinking about you – but get help so that you can heal and move forward. What I found was that eventually, the next day came and I did not take my life – what if I had listened to those evil thoughts? I would not know the goodness, grace, compassion, and love of the Lord.

  8. Dunno if I'm the only one, here, but whenever I saw the man on t.v., he didn't look happy. His smile was never genuine. And despite that he was a comedian, he did some very dark movies, too. Maybe someone else will come along and say that he was "a soul in torment." I won't, but you could tell something was very off.

    1. If you ever had the misfortune to listen to one of his stand up routines that weren't subject to censorship, I doubt you could have gotten through it! It was beyond "filth" and the blasphemy was the worst I've ever heard.

      Yes, I listened to one of his stand up routines just to make sure he was who I thought he was. In retrospect it wasn't necessary. Isn't it ironic that the very behaviors we use to reject have now become what we accept as the norm and even celebrate those who die as a result of its influence?

  9. Sadly many people view the afterlife through the lens of one's merits. But it is never about our works. It is about Him who saved us and who guaranteed eternity in heaven by simply believing.

  10. Okay... you say he was unsaved, and according to the link below, he was. I'm confused. X_X


    1. nothing to be confused about. The article said:

      Williams had, at one point, “accepted Jesus Christ” in one of the recovery programs, Baehr said, “but he never found the transformation that Jesus brings.” “He was always searching and never quite finding,” Baehr said.
      Regeneration ALWAYS brings transformation. That is clue #1. A false "acceptance of Christ" will leave the person unchanged in attitude and behavior, as his friend noted was obvious with Williams.

      Clue #2, he was always searching, well the bible shows us that those who are always searching and never finding are unsaved. (2 Tim 3:7)

      Clue #3, Williams spoke of a transformation after leaving rehab (again). He spoke of God's love and compassion, and "a dark force." He did not speak of evil, Jesus, sin or forgiveness.

      Lots of people say they're saved. Lots of people aren't (Mt 7:14)


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