June 2, 2020

iMonk Classic: Too Much Heaven?

Each Saturday, IM posts a classic article by Michael Spencer.

Originally posted on April 3, 2008

I grew up and was formed in a version of the Christian tradition that practiced a remarkably simple form of Christianity.

It was about going to heaven.

This life was preparation for heaven. God was preparing a place called heaven with lots of mansions. People who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior by praying a prayer to ask him into their heart had their names written in a book reserving a place in heaven. One day, they would die (or Jesus would return) and go to heaven. Later, they would get their new bodies and live in a city described- literally- in the book of Revelation as a super-sized cube with streets of gold. In that city they would be with all their friends, relatives and Bible characters forever, where they would worship Jesus for all of eternity without illness, pain or death.

If you accepted Jesus- ever, even once- you were going to heaven because once saved, always saved. If you didn’t accept Jesus you were going to hell. Any day at any time, Jesus would return and take his people to heaven in the rapture, leaving the lost people to be ruled over by the anti-Christ until Jesus returned to judge the world and end everything.

The people who were going to heaven went to churches where this is what you talked about all the time. You sang about it. You read about it in the Bible. Preachers preached about it. Nothing was more important. The reason you were on this earth was to “witness” to other people, which meant present them with the plan of how to get to heaven. If they prayed to go to heaven, then you were a “soul winner,” which was the best thing you could ever be in life.

Christians were happier than other people because they were going to heaven. They said “No” to everything the devil wanted them to do, because they were going to heaven, so they didn’t sin as much. They enjoyed church more than anything else, and they went to church as much as possible.

Life on this earth was worthwhile only because of heaven later. If you were a real Christian, like Paul, you wanted to leave this world and go to heaven as soon as possible. In fact, when Paul was caught up to the third heaven, he no longer wanted to be on earth, but to be in heaven. People who were in car wrecks and came back from death always had stories about heaven that included how much they wanted to go there and not go back to earth. But if God made you go back, you’d do it for a little while.

This was the Christianity that shaped and formed me. I heard it preached again this week, plainly and forcefully. It made me realize that I am not the same person I used to be. This is not the center and heart of my faith any more.

I don’t think about heaven as the primary reason for my faith. My faith is centered around Jesus and what it means to know God through Jesus now. I am a person to whom Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is upon you,” and I believe it. Jesus is king, now and forever. I believe in heaven and hell, and I always tell those who hear me preach and teach that God will take his people to a new creation, while those who refuse God’s love and forgiveness will go to hell.

Heaven is where God is. It is as close as a heartbeat. It is the center of reality, not a place “up there,” but the reality I cannot see with my senses but which nonetheless surrounds me. I believe Jesus and his kingdom will “appear” and we’ll realize how close heaven was to earth all along.

When I think of death, I think of going to be with God, to rest in him; to be safe in him and his love. I look forward to the new creation and to resurrection, but it is so far outside of my ability to conceive of it all that I never try to understand much about it. Big books on heaven bore me. Near death experience books actually offend me. They make me feel manipulated.

When someone implies that real Christians want to go to heaven now, I have absolutely no resonance with that sentiment at all. I am a person of this world, and the goodness of God that I know has come to me in the land of the living. I believed in God’s promises for a new creation, but I don’t want to go there now. I want to see my dad and mom again, yes. But I want to be with my beautiful wife and wonderful children, go to work, read a good book, enjoy a ball game and walk my dog.

When it comes to this subject, give me Judaism any day.

All the beauty I know of heaven, I know through the beauty of this world. I can’t reject this world and understand anything of a new creation. All I know of love, I know through the love I have experienced in this world. My body, my mind, my emotions—all are at home in this world. If I was made for another world, that world is not found in rejecting this world, but in the longings for things this world cannot give or satisfy.

Is there too much heaven in some versions of Christianity? Was Jesus as much about heaven as my faith tradition told me? Is rejecting this world and longing for heaven the normal Christian life? Is there something wrong with those of us who are rooted in this world and find out joy in God here now?

Do churches that concentrate on “winning souls for heaven” really represent the Gospel of Jesus?

I’ve got more questions and comments, but that should get us started.

Comments

  1. Jeff Lee says

    FWIW, the Orthodox take (overly simplified) is that everyone makes it to heaven. The question is, do you want to be there? Living in the presence of a God that is all about total selflessness will be extremely painful for some (like being in the presence of the consuming fire). Of course we also believe that God is everywhere present, so, in many ways out current life is to help us, through the grace of God, to become more selfless, and thus ready for heaven. For more information you can read this (with the note that I didn’t write it, I’m not that smart).

    I realize that this may not square with your theology, but I present it in order to say that I think the focus on heaven isn’t wrong, but we need to understand that our time here is precious, and our training ground to be ready for heaven.

    • For those of you in the West, read C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. His view there is akin to the Orthodox view on hell that Jeff talks about. There are Orthodox Fathers who hold to a view of hell much closer to the “Western” view. There is no formal ecumenical pronouncement, but the weight of Orthodox witness is much closer to C.S. Lewis’ view.

  2. Christiane says

    “Heaven is where God is. It is as close as a heartbeat. It is the center of reality, not a place “up there,” but the reality I cannot see with my senses but which nonetheless surrounds me. I believe Jesus and his kingdom will “appear” and we’ll realize how close heaven was to earth all along”.

    Credo in unum Deum,
    Patrem omnipoténtem,
    Factórem cæli et terræ,
    Visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.

    In Michael’s writing, I hear the sound of the ancient creed . . . .
    ‘OF ALL THAT IS SEEN AND UNSEEN’

    Michael had the soul of ancient Church within him. I do not doubt it for a moment.

  3. Sebastian says

    A Bible teacher teaching out of the Gospel account of the rich young ruler once made this conclusion,

    “Many Christians want to go to heaven, but they will be disappointed to find out that God is there.”

    That simple statement stuck with me to this day. In some versions of Christianity, conversion is motivated by fear of punishment or hope for reward, neither of which necessarily has God to be in the picture.

    Paris Reidhead once preached about humanistic religion,

    “In liberal Christianity, the chief end of life is the happiness of man. In fundamentalist Christianity, the chief end of ETERNAL life is the happiness of man.” – both are equally human-centric and has nothing to do with loving and fearing Jesus.

    • Jeff Lee says

      Yeah, that is about right. I suspect many of us will be quite disappointed to find that God is there!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Many Christians want to go to heaven, but they will be disappointed to find out that God is there.”

      That simple statement stuck with me to this day. In some versions of Christianity, conversion is motivated by fear of punishment or hope for reward, neither of which necessarily has God to be in the picture.

      You just gave me a mental picture of somebody waving around his Fire Insurance policy, pointing at God and going “Who Let HIM In?”

  4. FYI for all y’all who don’t live in Dallas: Jonathan Borofsky, “Walking To The Sky,” Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas Museum of Art (downtown Dallas)

  5. To my ears, heaven sounds like a giant dose of spiritual opium. We’re all doped up zombies who walk around on streets of gold and blissfully singing “Hallelujah” to Jesus forever, and ever, and ever, and ever …

    Yeah … I can’t wait.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Just like Percy Collet’s twelve casette-tape vision of Heaven or the New Earth of Left Behind: Volume 13 after the Second Coming.

      My image is more literary and historical: Russians under Comrade Stalin, North Koreans under Dear Leader Comrade Kim Jong-Il, Airstrip One, Oceania, 1984, under Big Brother and The Party.

      All constantly telling each other How Joyful Joyful Joyful they were; all constantly singing Praise after Praise after Praise to Comrade Stalin/Comrade Dear Leader/Big Brother.

      Or Baba Saddam’s courtiers trying to stay alive by out-flattering all the others.

      Is THAT the image God wants us to present of Him and us?

  6. Mickfoil says

    I’ve always thought there was a bit too much emphasis on heaven and the world to come in the evangelicalism I grew up with. Everyone was so fixated on heaven that they actively resisted, and still resist to this day, any efforts to make people’s lives better here and now . That may be why such a small minority of them seem to actively want to destroy the world now in order to bring about their fantasy of the world to come. Me, I’m just getting used to this place. I’m not in any hurry to leave it, not when I’m just seeing how wonderful it really can be.

    • In one sense, the earth-bound life is the Evangelical’s purgatory. I’ve heard way too many sermons which can be summarized, “if you eat all those yucky vegetables on your plate, you can have some yummy dessert later”. I’ve also heard on occasion I’m not to take passages like Ecclesiastes 8:15 too seriously. What a depressing picture all of that paints. I agree with you, and am thoroughly enjoying getting to know God on this side of the border.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I’ve heard way too many sermons which can be summarized, “if you eat all those yucky vegetables on your plate, you can have some yummy dessert later”.

        How does that differ from the Islamic belief that in Paradise we can indulge in all those things (like alcohol) that are forbidden by Divine Fiat here and now?

        • I think the answer already lies in your question. Excepting, of course, according to the way its been presented to me, it seems we don’t get the seven virgins.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Instead, we get compulsory Bible Studies and lightweight Praise Choruses and never-ending Testimony Night (Left Behind: Volume 16)..

            Give me a big Sangria and 72 virgins any day.

        • Well said. Bear in mind, enforced testimony time and Jesus pep-bands last only an hour or so. Can you imagine an eternity of that? I’d write more but its time to pour a Guinness and calm down.

      • Mickfoil says

        For some reason, W.C. Fields in the film, “My Little Chickadee” comes to mind. When his character is about to be hung, he’s asked for a last request. “I’d like to see Paris”, Fields replies. When told that’s not an option, he replies, “Philadelphia will do.”

        Seriously, though, I think a re-focusing of Christian effort on what is immediately in front of them is lonnnnng overdue. This is the world we live in. These are the people we share it with. What is so hard about getting our heads around that first?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I’ve always thought there was a bit too much emphasis on heaven and the world to come in the evangelicalism I grew up with. Everyone was so fixated on heaven that they actively resisted, and still resist to this day, any efforts to make people’s lives better here and now . That may be why such a small minority of them seem to actively want to destroy the world now in order to bring about their fantasy of the world to come.

      Attitude summarized in four words:
      IT’S. ALL. GONNA. BURN.
      (So why bother?)

  7. I think maybe a proper view of heaven depends on our having a proper relationship with God as part of our everday here and now. Tozer said this about Brother Lawrence:

    “He [Brother Lawrence] spent his long life walking in the presence of his Lord, and when he came to die there was no need for any particular change in his occupation. At the last hour someone asked him what was going on in his thoughts as death approached. He replied simply: ‘I am doing what I shall do through all eternity–blessing God, praising God, adoring God, giving Him the love of my whole heart. It is our one business, my brethren, to worship Him and love Him without thought of anything else.'”

    From A.W. Tozer, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment

  8. At my grandmother’s funeral, one of my cousins (a very new convert to Christianity) said enthusiastically to my grandfather, “I bet you can’t WAIT to go to heaven to be with your wife!”

    My grandfather just looked at him, and said, “Well, that kinda reminds me of the fella who was on death row, and the warden asked him what he wanted for his last meal. ‘Strawberries,’ said the fella. The warden told him strawberries were out of season, and the fella said, ‘That’s okay, I’ll wait!’ ”

    I think my grandfather had the right idea – no need to be in a rush! The strawberries will be in season sooner or later!

  9. The reason why a Christian should stay on earth in the meantime is so that they can be effective witnesses to the world for the gospel and the future Kingdom. We are to live in the world and carry out our spiritual, familial, and civic duties but that is all. We are not call to indulge in the things of this world and be a part of it like the way unbelievers are. Scripture is plainly clear that if our hearts are not primarily focused on God’s Kingdom and instead our hearts are set in the present evil age we may be fooling ourselves into thinking that we are saved.

    • Mark, you often say some good things, but friend, you are a one-trick pony. You keep banging the same drum over and over again, and every subject, no matter whether it is related or not, all comes back to the same point for you.

      I pray that God will lead you out of this narrow little hallway where you are dwelling, and into the wideness of his wisdom, creativity, beauty, and grace—both common and extraordinary.

      • In many ways, I would rather be on that “narrow little hallway” than on some big rank ecumenical, all tolerant in the name of “love”, weak , accepting of ‘different views’ of foundational Christian theology etc etc….

        [ Of which I am not saying you are Mike ]

        There must be balance. There must be a wilingness to flex and yet be strong.

        • cpilgrim says

          I can’t help but agree with Mark on this one– maybe not for the same reason, but with the same result: Heaven is a wonderful thing to meditate on, and it is fine to have that as your goal as a Christian, mainly because it is the goal that God set out for us: love me, keep my commandments, and join me in Heaven. I am not about to say that Christ over-emphasizes the idea of Heaven! Since he talks about it quite a bit, I can only imagine that it is worth all the fuss. I don’t want to put words into people’s mouths, especially the person who wrote this, but the fact is that the idea of Heaven is a real comfort for those who suffer in this world. There are about a trillion reasons why Christianity spread like wildfire (the most obvious being that it is true), but one of the reasons is because it does offer hope to those people tread upon by society: the poor, the sick, the weak. Atheists have turned this against Christianity, saying that the promise of Heaven was a drug to besotted people who had no earthly hopes, but I think that is unfair– I believe in a God that promises hope for all, and I am thankful for it. Jesus had no qualms telling people that their faith would offer them a way to Heaven. I mean, that’s why he died for us. So to say that Heaven is too precious for us, well I think that’s a matter of perspective. We tend to think of Heaven as a literal place, and I believe that what God has in store for us is totally outside of our comprehension; it is like Lewis said, if a child at the bottom of a well drew a picture of a landscape, then you compared that image to the world– that’s how far Heaven is from what we can imagine. But also, the idea of streets lined with gold (and I don’t take that literally FYI) may seem cheesy to us because we are prosperous and already live comfortable lives. But for those of us who are suffering, in pain, Heaven’s promise may seem sweeter. Protestantism grew because people were suffering under tyrannical Church-State rule; realizing that they could have a personal relationship with God, that would culminate in their union with Him in Heaven– well, that was something to look forward to; it was the full realization of the promise of equality in Christ that Paul describes to us. I live a very comfortable life and I am loathe to leave it. But perhaps I have become too comfortable here, as other people suffer around me. I think Heaven is a wonderful thing to mediate on– it reminds me of how small I am in comparison to God. I mean, is it any wonder that so many powerful and rich people are atheists? They have convinced themselves that God offers them nothing more impressive than what they have here on Earth!! “Comfortable” is not the same as “moral”: I am ready to be rid of this body of death, even as I am loath to leave my family and the comforts of this world.

          Perhaps this is my periodic doubt talking, but I often find myself envying those who have passed on because they are finally talking to God about all these things we speculate on. I mean, perhaps that is totally wrong theologically, but that’s how I imagine it. Also, I think the evangelical types are probably more afraid of Hell than they are looking toward Heaven. Although since many of the evangelical churches are in economically depressed and socially maligned areas I am sure they tend towards imagining that their new life in Heaven will be better than what they have now.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          In many ways, I would rather be on that “narrow little hallway” than on some big rank ecumenical, all tolerant in the name of “love”, weak , accepting of ‘different views’ of foundational Christian theology etc etc….

          Draw it too narrow (or draw it narrower than God actually did), and you can get mighty lonely being the only one in Heaven….

    • Jo Ann Peterson says

      All I’ve ever heard is ” you better make sure” or “you better check yourself” or “if you don’t do this then you might not be saved”. All I know is I’m a sinner, supposedly saved by grace, and I want to go to Heaven and be with Jesus…It seems some Christians want me to worry about it all my earhly life.

      • Savannah says

        Utterly joyless, isn’t it?

        • Quite contrary my friend. the Christianity I espouse here (the true and historic variety, not necessarily the strict Calvinism) is very joyful. hopeful, and full of fresh air.

          • Mark, I’m glad to hear that. I am responding only to the words you have given over and over and over again here in your comments, which pound the same dreary theme relentlessly. I do not find the Scriptures to be like that. At all.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          As Joyful as all those North Koreans Dancing Joyfully With Great Enthusiasm Before Comrade Dear Leader. Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

          Come to think of it, wasn’t the original Christian afterlife Resurrection of the Body into a new, perfected Cosmos instead of floating around as a Soul in Fluffy Cloud Heaven?

    • Damaris says

      Mark — I read a wise thing recently: We are not going to be saved FROM creation but WITH creation. We are going to spend an eternity in the new heaven and the new earth. This current life, though full of difficulties, is nonetheless the training ground for joy. You’re right, we should be cautious of being too much a part of human culture, but the world is more than just that. Read Psalm 8.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        We are not going to be saved FROM creation but WITH creation.

        A creation that includes creatures of the imagination. I have often toyed with the idea that Resurrection for an imaginary critter involves being Resurrected from imagination into reality.

        • Does that include both hobbits AND balrogs? Hmmm.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I was thinking more about Unicorns (four- or two-legged), Dragons, and the myriad of imaginary critters you see on FurAffinity and DeviantArt — Kuvrahk, Skiltaire, Cobras in White Dresses, etc.

            As for Balrogs? Several ways to go on that one.

            “Do you remember how the race of Orcs first came into existence?” How they began as Elves corrupted and twisted by the Dark Power? Well, Balrogs came into existence in a similar manner. You start with an Elf, you get an Orc; you start with a Maia-spirit, you get a Balrog.

            And when Resurrected into Reality in a cosmos without sin, would you get a Balrog who remained unfallen? A powerful spirit of Fire? Not evil, but still dangerous like a force of nature?

            Like a Resurrected and perfected Tyrannosaur? Retaining the power and might and essence of Tyrannosaur instead of emasculated and “safe” like Barney or Dinotopia? A velociraptor who retains her kick-claws but keeps them sheathed for you? A Cobra who retains her fangs and venom but holds them safe around you?

    • Mark, sorry to gang up on you, but…

      God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good… One of the first things in the Bible. Don’t you think that to refuse to enjoy His creation is to do God a disservice? To insult Him? Would not this be a bit like Gnosticism–that is, “heavenly things good; earthly things bad”?

      As for joy, as someone mentioned above, that’s among the fruit of the Spirit. Consider it: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

      Do you think that Jesus, when he was here, enjoyed good things given by the Father? Things like friendship, sunshine, good food?

      As for “fooling ourselves into thinking that we are saved” let me refer you to 1John5:13 : “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

      That you may KNOW that you have eternal life. And eternal life starts here on earth if we believe. Enjoy.

      • Ted I always like what you have to say.

      • Ted,

        Please don’t get me wrong here. I never said we should be ascetics and abstain totally from the good gifts of God. I am just following the biblical pattern that though we are not to remove ourselves completely from the world we are also to not be a PART of it. There is a whole lot of difference between the biblical approach to God’s gift of creation and the way heathen/pagan/secular people understand how we approach the things of this world. Only those whose hearts are not set on this world are the truly redeemed (cf. James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). Don’t argue with me on this one but take it up with Scripture.

        • Mark, I’ll agree that to become too much a part of this world is to commit idolatry. If that’s what you mean, I’m with you.

          As for the truly redeemed, I hope you’ll leave this one to God. We have assurance of salvation if we believe (1John5:13) and shouldn’t be made to wonder, as the Muslims may do, if we qualify. How can anyone know when he has crossed the line from enjoying God’s gifts to having our hearts set on this world? That would leave one guessing and without assurance, like a works-righteousness. Abandoning God altogether would be the clue, but most people who follow Him can still function as part of the world and enjoy His creation.

          For the believer, the Kingdom of Heaven starts right here on earth. We’re supposed to enjoy that and glorify God by it.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Would not this be a bit like Gnosticism–that is, “heavenly things good; earthly things bad”?

        I use the phrasing “Spiritual Good! Physical Baaaaaaaad!”

        And Christian Monist (J Michael Jones on these comment threads) blogs often about that attitude and subject. It’s a major theme on his blog.

        • To tell the truth, HUG, it was indeed Animal Farm that I had in mind, and your use of that phrase inspired me to plagiarize it, too.

          I’ll check out the Christian Monist.

  10. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road to heaven is paved with grace and love of Jesus

  11. David Cornwell says

    I believe in a broad interpretation of the prayer of Jesus, “thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven,” however there have been and are now many who’s only hope is Heaven because of the circumstances in which they find themselves. Think of those who were held in slavery in our own country. They held on to a vision of Heaven and the promises of God that would take them through and over the Jordan and into the promised land. And so the promises of Revelation became very literal to them, such as Rev 7:16,17:

    “16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

    In our prayers we need to remember those in our day who are held under the brutal foot of the tyrant and whose only hope seems to be Heaven.

    • Damaris says

      Amen, David.

    • cpilgrim says

      David, thank you for this very important, Gospel-centered message. There is no shame in hoping for the Heaven that God has made for you.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Just don’t present God in Heaven as an even more brutal tyrant with a bigger foot.

      • David Cornwell says

        Absolutely, and I’ve heard God presented this way so many times. Now I just do not listen to this kind of message.

  12. I like what the old boys used to preach!

    That we are to live in obedience and give our lives to Jesus even if He throws us in hell, becuase He alone is worthy…..

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      They say under Stalin all thought-criminals had to be tortured and broken before they could be disposed of. Mere killing wasn’t enough. Only when your knee had bowed and your tongue confessed “Comrade Stalin Alone Is Worthy” would you be permitted the Tokarev bullet in the back of the neck.

      How does this differ from “what the old boys used to preach” according to Matthew? Except that God is Bigger than Stalin?

      • I’ll take a crack at it…though I have trouble expressing myself in blog comments most of the time…haha…

        I think my understanding of the issue is that God’s presence determines what is and is not heaven. If He were present totally in a place, then that’s Heaven. If He’s totally absent in a place, then that’s hell, because He upholds the creation (including us) as He intended it to be. I base this on verses such as Acts 17:28 and Colossians 1:15-17. Also, I think this because of Christ’s parable where he describes torture being outside of His presence, such as Matthew 22:13, Matthew 24:51, and Matthew 25:30.

        So, if one were to be in hell, (ie totally absent from God), the torture of the situation would force one to admit from undeniable personal experience that He is Lord. His absence would force such a confession.

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Chaplain Mike, everybody:

    If I remember my IMonk right, this was the first of a series of three IMonk essays on the subject of “Too Much Heaven”. Are there plans to repost Parts 2 & 3 as well?

    • Good idea, HUG

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Because Never-ending Church Service in Fluffy Cloud Heaven is one of those concepts of Heaven that make Hell look like a good deal.

        Whatever happened to Resurrection of the Body? The New Heavens and New Earth? Heaven come down to us instead of us going to Heaven?

        (I suspect Victorian Romantic Sentimentality had a lot to do with Fluffy Cloud Heaven replacing Resurrection. And we’ve had to labor under that misconception ever since.)

  14. Phillipians 1:
    21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

    In verse 23 Paul states that he has a desire to depart, to be with Christ in Heaven. Would it mean something is out of line if we don’t have a desire to depart as Paul here confesses that he has, especially since these words are inspired by God the Holy Spirit? But Paul balances it out by making his point through by inspiration of God, that it is more needful for him to continue here for the benefit of others. 🙂

  15. Two quotes come to mind in response to this:

    “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis)

    “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)

    Jesus wants us in the world, but not any part of the world that is hostile towards God.

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    In that city they would be with all their friends, relatives and Bible characters forever, where they would worship Jesus for all of eternity without illness, pain or death.

    You know how I want to “worship Jesus for all of eternity”? By living life without illness, pain, or death to cut everything short and unfinished. I want my dead dreams resurrected into reality. I want the love of a woman (human or not) instead of another rejection. I want time to finish all that I can dream and do. Write and storytell the epic. Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before!

  17. Kelby Carlson says

    The thing I wonder is–what will a new creation be like without children? Because apparently there will be no marriage. Does that mean my future spouse and I will no longer have a covenant in Heaven?

    • Right, saying that we will “be like the angels in heaven” doesn’t really help, since we don’t know anything about them. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus didn’t occasionally refer to a piece of well-known Jewish mythology or folklore that has been lost of forgotten since that time. Or maybe I just need to make some inquiries at my local synagogue.