The two wings
Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven. (Michelangelo)
Michelangelo may have a portion of this 'going to heaven' thing correct, but I know the only death that really mattered was Christ's. The only thing that draws us all into his arms is his intense love for each of us. So, it is indeed a death and some pretty amazing love that bears us to heaven...but...none of us are 'good men' or 'good women' without Christ. So, even the goodness of mankind is reliant upon the love of God!
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. (John 3:16-18)
God didn't send Christ to earth just to have him experience all the things we experience in our lifetime, but it certainly made the connection a little more 'real' to some of us, didn't it? God didn't reach out to a hurting and mixed-up group of sinners just out of curiosity - as an experiment in human nature designed to see how we'd respond to his intense love. God knew his love would be a little foreign to us - because we don't actually fully understand love without conditions.
The good news is that he came. He lived his life on this earth, making that earthly connection with us, and now he sits at the right hand of his heavenly Father, carefully drawing each and every one of us into his loving arms. Can we resist his love? You betcha! Have we probably done that on occasion? Likely so, but hopefully we don't do it too often, or for too long. Is his love drawing us closer to our heavenly home? Yes, and as we feel his arms bear us up each day, we are drawn closer and closer into his presence. We may not need to experience death to experience life. Just sayin!