Paul in 2 Cor 12 v 2 talks about experiencing the third heaven. Jewish tradition talks about 3 or 7 heavens. Revelation talks about a ‘new’ heaven. Dante, back in the middle ages, had many levels of heaven and hell. Its good to see that through the ages man has struggled with trying to understand heaven. For me its a place that is ‘better’ than here?

Is it more than that?

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  1. Someone I knew said heaven will be like playing the ultimate electric guitar solo on the top of Mount Everest. Great… but sounds a bit too individual…

  2. Because its all about trying to do the right thing. People become christians because of where and when they were born. I think God will see through all of that we are better than the rest crap.

  3. I’m not sure about this phrase “we’re better than the rest”. I don’t know many Christians who think they’re going to heaven because they’re better than other people (if that’s what you’re implying). It sounds a more appropriate thing to say if you think that Christianity is about “trying to do the right thing”. But more importantly…

    A while ago the idea of everyone going to heaven seemed very odd to me – up there praising God along with Himmler and Stalin and the rest – a bit like at the end of a pantomime when everyone comes together on stage to sing and dance and the baddies seem likeable and not that bad after all, or when everyone from Big Brother got together at the end and Nasty Nick was forgiven (and they said he would “redeem himself” by pressing a button to transfer money from the Big Brother account into the winner’s chosen charity’s account). (Apologies to those who don’t know what I’m talking about.) It seemed to trivialise evil and justice and people’s longing for wrongs to be righted and evil people to be judged. But then I realised that if Jesus paid the price for people’s forgiveness, it’s not trivial – His death shows the price necessary for forgiveness.

    But I still have problems accepting it (as I have problems accepting the alternatives too). Firstly on a pragmatic level, if I’m guaranteed to go to heaven, I’m tempted to put my desires before God’s and have fun now, particularly if everyone else is going there too. On the other hand, as Jesus and Paul said, if we really love Him we’ll do what he commands, and we ought to trust Him that His desires are better than ours too. But then, if we’re all going to heaven anyway, does it really matter what anyone does in this life? Maybe we shouldn’t care what Stalin did.

    Secondly, the Bible (whatever you think about its authority) has lots to say about social justice and loving your neighbour – Christianity should transform this world. Even if Christianity is only important for this world, not the next, it’s worth telling others about it, spreading the ‘good news’ and telling them to ‘save themselves from this corrupt generation’ (Acts 2). But it seems to me that’s only half of the story. The New Testament says some worrying things about ‘being saved’ and life and heaven versus destruction and perishing – like Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7 and Luke 13, with the narrow gate and not everyone entering the kingdom of heaven. And ‘believing’, ‘repenting’ and ‘being saved’ are linked with your sins being forgiven (Acts 2:38) and you not perishing (Luke 13:3), escaping God’s wrath and receiving eternal life (John 3:36) – it doesn’t sound like these things just happen to everyone. So I’m very wary about accepting it.

    Of course, it doesn’t sound right that people go to heaven just because of an accident of birth either. But I hope there’s more to it than that.

  4. I find it helpful to think of heaven like it says in the end of Revelation, in terms of the absence of all the bad things and troubles in this fallen world (no more crying or pain etc.) Whenever something good comes to an end or is broken, or I yearn to keep hold of it for ever, or it’s tainted by some imperfection like ill health that stops me enjoying it fully, or I feel life is falling far short of what it could be, I sense what a relief and a pleasure heaven will be, when all joys will be complete and infinite.

  5. I thought this morning about heaven being like a warm summer evening, where you know you’ve only got half an hour before it gets too cold to sit out on the grass, and the wind occasionally gusts reminding you that the direct rays of the sun are the only thing keeping you from being cold. You were running around playing games earlier, but now you sit and talk in those precious last moments.

    That set me thinking about how impermanence is so important in the things we enjoy. It’s hard to imagine heaven because it’s eternal, and we often think of it as unchanging. I think it’ll be full of change and new experiences, and especially creativity.

  6. I agree that it is a very difficult concept to think that everyone will go to heaven. But if God is a God of justice he surely can’t let anyone who is ‘devout’ to go to hell?

  7. Will it be that nice? If we have a new body etc it seems to me that we will be made into something that thinks that its all great? Will we still have the right to choose? Satan did?

  8. This reminds me of the afterlife. They say that the Kingdom of Heaven begins on earth in us now and that the -“oil” or say “consciousness of the spirit of God” – that we have now will be what sees us through to Heaven. Like there is not going to be a big transformation all of a sudden, but the transforamation begins now.

    But as of now I know nothing of celestial lights seraphim or cherubs and so I ask whose mind will be resurrected? What will happen to all that was learned here? How will my learning curve be up there?

    LT post. Bare with me.

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