In my last post, I tried to contrast two drastically different views of Heaven. One was the view that Rob Bell holds, that we are responsible as Christians for bringing to pass Heaven on Earth as we live, and the other is one where Heaven is somewhere else and it is not as much about the ‘goodies’ as it is about being in the presence of our redeemer Christ. Both of these views of Heaven are less about the material wealth of the individual and more about the general well-being. I think that Rob Bell is right in wanting to make Earth a place of redemption and new birth, yet the fall of man has brought with it an inability of this Earth to produce something pure.
I believe that within us is a desire for something more; something better. I have heard it said that this something is our God shaped vacuum in one’s soul, yet I think it is far more than this, we were simply made for more than what we experience now. Every man, woman, and child that has ever been born has a certain destiny and divine meaning, if you will. Both by our fallen nature, disease and death we fail to live up to the divine purpose of our lives. Once a person finds their meaning in Christ, the talents and path that their life has taken can make sense.
It is true that on this Earth we will not truly know as we want; we will not quite understand why that family member died of cancer or why our spouse cheated on us, but truly we don’t have to know why, to know that God is good! It is only through a personal relationship with Jesus that someone can face death with a certainty that they will find peace with their Maker. There are many questions that will go unanswered in life, but where one will spend eternity does not have to be one of them.
One of the first chapters of the Bible that I ever memorized was I Corinthians 13 (some call it the Love chapter), what stands out to me in the chapter is Paul’s understanding that we cannot know everything, and even the little that we do know and the little good that we do, is tainted! Paul calls our life know ‘Looking through a glass darkly.’ What does that statement mean? I believe that he is talking about looking at a mirror or through a dirty glass, either way he is describing that we do not see or perceive our world as it truly is. We are clouded by sin and failures, by sort-comings, and we often read into our lives things that are not truly there. In spite of our lack of ability to make sense of life, God loves us and has given us not only the opportunity to know Him, but to love Him as He has first loved us, and to even reflect this love to others! Our task on Earth is not to get along with others, or even to love them, but to reflect God’s love already expressed in order that those around us might find that love for themselves.
God’s love cannot be measured; It surpasses our very imagination! The person that believes Heaven is a place where those that have been good enough go, or those that have said the right pass code, or memorized the right verses do not understand the Bible. God is not a respecter of persons, He will not accept or deny a person on their own merits; only those that have found their forgiveness in the finished work of Jesus can make it.
What is Heaven going to be like? Heaven I believe is going to be much better than we can ever imagine! A few of the Bible writers wrote of Heaven first hand accounts of what they saw in visions and dreams, but I believe even their descriptions pale beside the reality of what Heaven is going to be like.
Those like Rob Bell who seem to be more concerned with redeeming the Earth and less about leading people to Jesus, the one that can redeem the here and now and eternity, seem almost to believe that people are inherently good. Living in America where there is little devastating disease and society at large is wealthier than the rest of the world, we might find it easy to believe Heaven might be a slightly more cleaned up version of our society, yet for the majority of our world Heaven being a better version of their own society would be the most depressing prospect ever! Jesus is the redeemer that makes all new, and doesn’t just slightly change our situation!