Understanding Ourselves, God and Heaven part 3
There is a lot of sense in the above paragraph. David (our king of desires and emotions just as Solomon, his son) wrote in the Psalms, "I have no one in heaven but you; i want nothing on earth besides you" (73:25). Isn't this what Jesus meant when He said that He was going to prepare a place for us in heaven so we could be where He will be (John 14:2-3). Actually, the Islam kind of view portrays heaven in physical terms as a place where every wish is immediately fullfilled when asked. Islamic texts describe immortal life in heaven as happy, without negative emotions (source; Wikipedia). For those who followed part 1 and 2, we discovered that our paradise in Eden was a life of complete desire satisfaction. Man was living the whole of his desires till when the sin dropped down and distorted everything. We also learnt that God is holy desire, the centre of man's life.
We have shared the story of restoration more than once. Heaven is simply the restoration of our full life as it was before the sin. We already discovered that our life is defined truly by our true heart's desires. What we are now is very much different from who we truly are. Heaven is simply the restoration of our deep desires, the true greatness as God meant it from the start. Heaven is a restored earth without any negative thoughts and emotions, a place where all our wishes and desires will be met.
In the book, Desire, John Eldredge writes, "Too many of us have placed eternity somewhere 'out there', in a wispy and ethereal 'heaven' that we cannot imagine, in the clouds perhaps". He goes on, "The earth has been our home and will be our home in eternity. This is a great consolation. When we place eternity 'out there somewhere, in a place we cannot conceive of, we are left longing for home. To lose the only world we have ever known -a world so full of memories, so rich and beautiful, with so much left to explore-is to lose something deep and priceless to our hearts". And i wonder why should we be troubled by this yet even the bible indicates nowhere that we shall lose our earth!
Paul explains the use of fire in cleansing when he tells how our works will be tested with fire. According to Him, if the person's work is worth the reward, then fire will pass through and around it but that foundation or work won't be burnt (1 Cor 3:10-15). And so John Eldredge writes, "The world will be exposed to judgment and the earth wll be cleansed of all unrighteousness. And a good scrubbing it needs". Let us consider the revelations of John. In Rev 21, John sees a new earth and a new heaven for the first ones had been destroyed. And the city of Jerusalem is seen descending onto the earth not floating in the clouds as observed by Eldredge. This is a great consolation. Let us make a summary with Dallas Willard words, "The life we now have as the persons we now are will continue in the universe in which we now exist". Is not this great to know?
So what is the use of understanding heaven in this context? We already agreed that we can only hope for what we desire. And we can only desire for what we know or even imagine. Listen, we know heaven or we can easily imagine it in that way (we shall look at the details of imagining heaven by answering the question of what we shall be doing in it). In the book of 1 Cor 2:9-16, we are taught that we have been given the ability to see God's mind and understand parts of His thoughts and secrets through the spirit of the Lord that we share with Him. It is this understanding of what Heaven is that deepens our desire for it and thus the hope to be there. Knowing increases hope and faith for it is really ambiguous to hope in the things that do not exist in your mind or knowledge or knowing. Remember what faith is, it is being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it (Hebrews 11:1). How can we have faith in heaven when we are not sure of where it is or what it is or what we shall do there? How can we desire such a place that has no picture in our minds?
Finally, Heaven is simply ourselves and our earth and our God just as it was before the sin. It is the complete life in satisfaction of heart's desires. We know the way to that restored life or land, it is our faith in the grace of Christ. We love you.
The Complete You Project