Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Heavenly Thoughts

Last Sunday evening I answered any and every question that could possibly be asked about heaven. Well, almost. I shared a lot of things that dealt with how we should interpret the scriptures in regards to heaven. We waste a lot of time and energy looking for verses that will give us one little aspect about eternity and then we disrespect it by trying to make it literal, physical, and appealing to the senses. It's a spiritual world folks! It's the dwelling place of God and all that is limitless, timeless, and non-physical. The reason God intentionally gave us very little information about heaven is because He wants us to trust Him. He calls it FAITH!
I mentioned that my favorite verse in all of the Bible for getting insights into what heaven is all about isn't Rev. 21, John 14, or Luke 16 - it's Gen.1:26. It's one of the most ignored verses in the Bible. God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness." The strange change from the singular to the plural has been attributed to poetry, multiple authorship, and God's way of messing with our brains. But just think about it. We've focused on the words image and likeness and missed the us and our. It's not about us looking like God or each of us somehow been one pixel in the large canvas of God's photograph. What is us and our all about? Relationships - togetherness - love! That's what God is all about. He made us to want and need relationships - like He and Jesus and the Holy Spirit have. There is no real love without relationships. His plan for redeeming man is driven by His love for us and His desire for us to know love. He gave us His church as a tool to help build loving relationships, He gave us His Son to make possible our relationship with Him - for eternity!
Now - what does that have to do with heaven? How can heaven possibly be anything except the realm of complete relationships - with Him and with one another? So all those questions about will we recognize each other, be with one another, remember and interact, and on and on... That's what heaven is for! It's the fulfillment of God's plan for us. We will finally and truly be "in our image." In spite of my warnings about taking scriptures literally - there's a reason why Jesus described heaven as sitting down to a feast together (Matt.8:11). Heaven is about togetherness, relationships and love.


Scott and Ashley said...

Hey brother! I am with you 90% of the time but I've gotta say I have a very different view of heaven. The historic Christian faith has always looked forward to a redeemed earth. The "new heavens and the new earth" are mentioned repeatedly in non-apocalyptic books like Peter. What we look forward to as Christians is not going to live with God, but Him coming to live with us in a redeemed earth. Hence John's declaration, "God will make His home among men." I grew up believing that we will spend eternity as disembodied spirits in a non-physical realm, but the more I studied the less I believed it. I mean, what's the purpose of resurrection (restoring a spirit to a body) if we are supposed to be disembodied spirits? Anyway, just my two cents. =)

Mike said...

Good thoughts. Like a lot of things we'll just have to wait and see. Still, it's a fact "flesh and blood cannot inheret eternal life" 1 Cor.15:50 so we'll have some king of disembodied form. But, hey, who knows what a spiritual body can do.