Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why is it so hard to describe heaven?

Why can't Christians come up with a really fantastic description of heaven (or rather the new heavens and new earth)? Here is my attempt to explain a large part of the reason.

Something interesting about our happiness in this life is that it is very, you could say, 'temporal'. That is, people's happiness experiences a huge issue with boredom. Some people would be happy to live forever as long as they could keep experiencing new things forever, but in polls a lot of people say that they wouldn't want to live forever even if they could do so.

I believe this is because human happiness is not naturally hardwired for eternity. Our ability to be happy cannot sustain us for that long. E.g. it's a relatively common motif in horror stories that someone is condemned to live forever even though they can do whatever they want.

But it's interesting to note that God is probably not at all like this, if any God exists, because otherwise God would have gone completely insane with boredom. In most theologies God is eternal and outside time, and thus God has already lived for an infinite length of time. If God's happiness can't handle eternity, then God would be mad with depression (Isaac Asimov actually wrote a short story based on this premise called "The Last Answer").

And this leads to the conclusion that, because God is naturally eternal or for some other reason, God's happiness is a kind of happiness we have no experience of in this world - apart from through the Holy Spirit's sense of peace, if Christianity is to be believed. This can be indicated, if any God exists, from the reasoning above (unless Isaac Asimov's short story is right!)

Thus I conclude that part of why heaven is such a great place is because we have access to this divine kind of happiness that allows someone to be at peace and contented forever without being insane or something like that.

See Rom 14:17: "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,"

1 Cor 2:9: "However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him""

Psalm 16:11: "You will make clear to me the way of life; where you are joy is complete; in your right hand there are pleasures for ever and ever."

Psalm 36:7-8: "How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see."

Rom 8:18: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

We get this happiness through being connected to God through His Holy Spirit. And this is made possible by Jesus Christ removing our sins when He took them into himself on the cross (1 Pe 2:24).

I believe this is a significant part of the reason why heaven is so hard to describe in a really fantastic way.

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