Thoughts of Heaven (2)

15 07 2008

CONTINUATION from previous blog.

(Carry on reading from bottom of previous blog)

For instance, I am quite happy to accept that the Bible seems to suggest that heaven is the place where God exists, and that it is eternal and that it is wonderful and that there are no more tears, no sin and no suffering there. Those are the easy bits. But I have a problem with those people who just see heaven as a place where all we do is sing songs and fall down before the throne of God worshipping him, because that is the picture revealed in the book of Revelation.

So why do I have a problem with that? Because that picture is not ‘big enough’ and doesn’t honour the God who has made the world that we know. Now I believe that God is worthy of our eternal worship; of that there is no question, but the thought that that is all He has for us in heaven seems to demean Him. For instance, the picture in the vision in chapter 22 of the book of Revelation shows us an existence where we ‘serve’ God, which implies activity, and we “reign for ever” which also implies activity – and that is far more than merely standing singing songs or bowing down. It implies purposeful activity.

To ponder another aspect of this picture of heaven, think first about what we know of this earth. Modern TV programmes have done us the service of revealing something of the staggering wonder of this incredible world that God has made. What I find most staggering is that God has designed me as a human being with the capability of ‘enjoying’ the world. Yes, we also have the capability of abusing this world and destroying it and one another, but that, as I’ve said previously, is ‘another story’. This world is incredible and God has made me with sight, hearing, taste and touch so that I can thoroughly enjoy it. The variety of what is on this planet is staggering. Now if, as most of us Christians concede, heaven is wonderful, we are implying that it is MORE wonderful than this present world. If it is more wonderful than this world, is God going to consign me to just gazing at a few square feet of floor in His throne room? I don’t think so! The thing about God’s love and, I suppose, any real love, is that it gives out and wants to bless its recipients. God’s love for me, means that He constantly wants to bless me and give. (Yes, there is the other side of the coin about me being a giver as well, but let’s leave these many other ‘stories’ and focus on this one for the moment!) I’m sorry, I think if you have this limited view of heaven, you are seriously underselling the shear wonder of God’s love and His creativity.

Can I illustrate this by a conversation my wife and I once had at an air show. There were some American F111’s flying over and she exalted, “Wow” When I get to heaven I’m going to fly one of those.” My reply was, “Wow” When I get to heaven I’m going to fly like one of those!” Who knows how wonderful it will be in heaven? Whatever we grasp at, I’m sure we’ll underplay it because we seem to constantly be looking through Paul’s dark or smoked glass, or poorly reflecting mirror (1 Cor 13:12). We just can’t think big enough.

So why do I think we’ll be able to see people that we recognise? Well the apostle Paul, who seemed to get some of the biggest insights on these sorts of things, spoke of us having a new ‘body’, a ‘heavenly body’ (1 Cor 14:40), an imperishable, glorious, spiritual body (v.42-44). ‘Body’ whether it is physical or spiritual seems to indicate an entity that other similar entities can recognise and communicate with at the very least. I don’t know if you ever saw the sci-fi series, ‘Deep Space Nine’ in which there was a “shape shifter”? If you did, you may remember he eventually came across the home of all shape shifters that appeared like an oily sea called ‘The Link’, and when he stepped into it, seemed to dissolve into it and become one with the rest, and yet be able to reshape and step out as an individual when he wanted. Now maybe that’s a bit of a pantheistic mentality that produced that idea, I don’t know, but there is within Scripture this sense of unity and diversity, this being one with others “in the Spirit” and yet still a unique individual.

The fact that Moses and Elijah reappeared in their human form with Jesus on the Mount of transfiguration in the Gospels, suggests unique human personalities that remain unique human personalities even though they change their ‘shell’. So suppose I encounter my father in heaven, the father I knew many years ago. That raises some questions! What age will we both be, or will spiritual bodies be ageless? I suggest the latter, but one thing I assumed in my picture of my Dad is that we would both completely know each other. I know it’s taking it out of context, but I suspect it’s because of Paul’s comment that “now that you know God–or rather are known by God” which suggests an intimacy of understanding, and if that’s so, will we have same understanding when we encounter ‘people’ in heaven?

TO BE CONTINUED (Start the next blog from here)




2 responses

15 07 2008
Patricia Burns

In the height of heaven (Job 22:12), in the third heaven (2 Cor.12:2) God (Isa.44:6, Isa.45:5) inhabits Eternity (Isa.57:15) and dwells in Zion (Joel 3:21, Ps.23:6), the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb.12:22).

Patricia © Bible Prophecy on the Web
Author of the self-study aid, The Book of Revelation Explained © 1982

20 07 2008

Thanks Patricia. Yes, my other blog, “Bible Meditation Shop” deals in a great deal of Scripture and Bible Study and reflection, as does my main website, but this blog and these writings were just a lighter meandering approach. It’s good to use all the approaches.

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