Monday, March 3, 2014

Thoughts about Heaven

If there's no music up in heaven, then what is it for?
- Arcade Fire, "Here Comes the Night Time"

Heaven is one of those mysterious aspects of the afterlife of which we honestly know very little.
Yes, scripture gives some imagery of streets of gold, pearly gates, no more tears, etc.. But when it's all said and done, we don't really know exactly what Heaven will be like.

I'm going to be honest. I have never found the classic view of Heaven all that appealing. It seems stale, stiff, and devoid of life. And unfortunately, I feel that much of Christendom has devoted its energy into selling the idea of Heaven rather than sharing life in Christ.

I once heard a preacher say "If you don't like singing, then you had better get used to it, because in Heaven that is all you will be doing."

I don't know that I can believe this. It seems rather dreadful for God to create such complex, multiple-dimensional beings in his own image, yet restrict them to singing for all of eternity. While yes, we do see endless worship in heaven depicted in scripture, are we really to be stuck in an endless loop of song? This begs the questions: what constitutes worship? Scripture, after all, tell us that in "whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God."

While there is no definitive argument for this, I can't help but feel that in heaven we will be free from limitations to create. Being made in the image of a Creator God, would we not have an innate need to create things ourselves? And is it not worship to live up to our potential by God's ability? On earth we have severe limitations regarding this, such as failing health, the need to work and make a living, limit to our abilities, etc. What will the new heaven and earth be like though? Can you imagine a place unlimited with possibilities, an open canvas if you will to paint new and beautiful images of the character of God?

I think that we will build, we will create, we will invent; but without limitation.
I finally will be free to create music unlike anything else without pain that holds me back today.
And God will be glorified, since He is the originator if it all.

This is not self centered! No. By living and creating with the ability that God gave us, we will be worshipping him by using the many dimensions of our being that He himself created! By delighting ourselves in The Lord through our creativity and skills, He is glorified and pleased.

At the core to my issue with the traditional Heaven, however, is the emphasis on the place itself.

Why do we try to sell a destination rather than a perfect relationship? Yes, I am one of those "it's the journey, not the destination" guys, but I can't help but wonder- Why would ANYONE choose wealth alone over meaningful relationships. If the core to Christianity is a relationship, then the end goal is complete restoration and fulfillment of this.

I would rather Heaven be a trash heap, but have Jesus there with me; rather than be in the most perfect of places without Him. What is heaven, even if it is all we ever dreamed, if we don't have Christ there to share in that life?

It has been said that the reward of following Jesus is Jesus. Yes we get heaven, we get eternal life, and we get a big family. But what gain is that apart from having the deepest of relationships with the God that knows my innermost being?
I look forward to heaven.
I do.

But only because of the restoration of a relationship with God, only because I will get to enjoy and worship Him forever by expressing the pure form of the nature he gave me.

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