It’s Christmas in Heaven or Afterthoughts on the Afterlife


 OK, so it is the day you bite the dust.  What now?

 

If I were Catholic, I assume I would be assigned a really big rock to push up a steep hill for 10,000 years for my indiscretions with the underwear section of the Sear catalogue or National Geographic, the Africa addition (hopefully one of you will be thoughtful enough to buy me an indulgence).

 

If I were Hindu or Buddhist, I would probably find myself in the maternity ward again.

 

Mormon, looking at landscaping swatches for my new planet.

 

Muslim, I am being fed grapes and fanned by 10,000 virgins who will soon be out of work.

 

But alas I am protestant (which means I can wear a French tickler). 

 

// end of silly part.

 

Seriously, has anyone read a decent theology of heaven?  I myself have not.  I am left with my failing memory of bits of scripture, sermons, and Sunday school lessons. 

 

This question was triggered by yesterday’s sermon.  It was about spending eternity with God.  But the focus was (and rightly so) on the how, not the what.  The scripture passage was in Revelations…blah blah blah…no more sorrow…the sea will cease.  I cannot remember exactly and I am too lazy right now to look it up. 

 

Here is everything I can remember about heaven…no more sorrow…streets of gold…going to prepare a place…tree of life…marriage supper…bride of Christ…

 

But here is my question:  What are we going to be doing?  Whenever I ask people this question, the answer is always being with/enjoying God.  Got it.  God will be there.  But what does that mean?  Are we just sitting around in the lobby of heaven being grateful to be there? 

 

Is it worship?  If it is, it would have to be radically different than anything on this side that I have experienced.  If it is us verbalizing our praise, I would think it would eventually grow stale like the prayer in the Monty Python boarding school.  “Oh Lord you are so big…so absolutely huge.”  I can’t imagine that being fulfilling for either party for all of eternity.

 

I know I have definite ideas about what happens on the other side, but I have little to no evidence that what I think is orthodox.  Again, I have not read anything coherent about the other side.

 

Any thoughts?

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By Ben Posted in Life

10 comments on “It’s Christmas in Heaven or Afterthoughts on the Afterlife

  1. Can I be totally honest? This is not a topic I think about very often.

    And worship, to me, non-stop for eternity (forgive my heresy) sounds intoleraby dull.

    One of my favorite things in life is the fact that I can have variety. I can make choices, and those choices turn out pretty good (or pretty bad), based on “stuff.” I *like* that about life. I would be sorry to see that go. We were allowed to be creatures with free wills – it would seem awfully odd that suddenly, God would pull that from us once we reach Heaven: “Well, you’re here now. No more sorrow, no more pain, because, guess what? You get to do exactly ONE thing from now on – worship.” Madeleine L’Engle & I would agree on this point – a neighborhood of automotons does not seem like the Will of God.

    Maybe God can host celebrity Jeoprady, with Sean Connery, Keanu Reeves & Burt Reynolds (and afterwards, send them back to hell; well, at least Keanu…)

    BJC

  2. Brian you said worshipping for eternity would be dull. And because we are linear in our thinking of time, my guess is you would be right. But if we live for eternity, then the concept of time has no meaning, there for the measurment of time loses all its meaning, so my point, heck I do not know what my point is. I just hope there is good cobbler there

  3. Cobbler reminds me of when I was a kid. There was some song about the marriage supper and it had the word Peace in it. I always thought it was peas and I was not looking forward to that particular aspect of heaven. I hoped that heaven had big napkins!

  4. A good book I might recommend – Heaven is a Place on Earth by Michael Wittmer. Yeah, I know the title is as cheesy as it’s Belinda Carlile namesake. But it’s one of the most SOLID and er optimistic views of the New Heaven and New Earth. Also, try the New Kind of Christian trilogy by Brian McLaren. Get through the whole thing, it will rock your socks off.

    Both seems to propose this idea of ForeverNow. In that Christ coming in his full glory, means that earth – yes Earth – after it’s been tried by fire, will be the place it was created to be and we will be the creatures God intended us to be. Contrary to popular belief, humans were created to live on planet earth not in the heavens. We should live our lives as New Creations, and work to build Kingdom Now not kingdom in the far off future. This idea has radically changed the way I live. It gives me missional purpose to my faith without thinking that I need to fly off to Africa everytime I’m feeling the missions itch. I need only to look down my street to see the hungry, the poor and the oppressed. We will spend eternity worshipping God, but it should be how we worship him now – only then will it be more perfect – but worship in our work, our parenting, it’s lifestyle worship not isolated Sunday morning experiences – sure they’re part of that lifestyle, but they are not it in total. I hope that makes sense, it’s really early in the AM, and I haven’t had a full cup of joe yet.

  5. Heaven is described in scripture in imagery, not photography. I doubt that we can presently understand what Heaven is like, any more than an amoeba could understand the Smithsonian Institution. Still, scripture implies uniformly that we’ll be glad to be there (or be in that state, or whatever). Personally, I’m imaging lots of first-rate garlic fries served at my seat with an imported beer during the best football game I’ve ever seen . . . while sitting next to God, of course. He’ll be cheering for Miami.

  6. I wa stalking to a guy that helps out at my work from time to time. He was a Babtist preacher for years, but left the church and”religon” because nobody talked or thought about God. Anywho, He thinks that we will all have jobs just like we do now (without the stress, deadlines, or idiots?)and live close to what we have now. A personal relationship with christ will be totally different of course. He believes we will be able to travel from place to place just by thought, similar to how Christ and the angles do in the Bible. Being able to go see Christ whenever we want. Ther will be no temptation of sin be we will still have choices to make. He believes we can and will be able to and be punished for sin in heaven.
    I don’t really know but that sounds more realistic than playing a harp or having to go to church service that lasts forever.I just pray that my children will come to know who Christ is and have a relationship with him.

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