“And He said to them, ‘You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world’ ” (John 8:23).
WHAT WILL HEAVEN BE LIKE? That’s the way we usually ask the question, and it’s really the only way the question can be asked. Given our present inability to understand many spiritual realities, the best that can be done is for God to tell us a few things that heaven will be “like.” We are given images, analogies, hints, and suggestions that describe our eternal relationship with God in terms of the most beautiful things we know about right now.
God is not withholding information about eternity simply to tantalize us; it’s just that we’re not yet able to understand anything more than pictures and comparisons. Like a parent trying to explain an abstract concept to a child too young to engage in abstract thinking, God relates heaven to us in terms we are familiar with.
So what should be our attitude toward what God has told us about heaven? To begin with, we should relish every syllable of every word that has to do with heaven. We should let our minds eagerly roam over the texts that talk about our resurrection. There ought to be nothing more enjoyable than reading what our Father has revealed about the inheritance that will one day be ours.
But as to the specifics, we ought to approach them with reverence and reserve. Rather than being dogmatic about the images of heaven given to us, we ought to have an open-minded willingness for the reality to turn out to be something quite different than what we had in mind when we visualized being with God.
After all, that is the main thing about heaven, is it not? We will be with God. Whatever the details turn out to be, we will be in a perfect, unmitigated relationship with our Creator forevermore.
Until the inheritance is actually ours, let us recognize the paucity of our present understanding and be prepared, when our Lord returns, to rejoice in whatever God has for us. Toward the end of his life, C. S. Lewis wrote descriptively about heaven and then concluded by saying, “Guesses, of course, only guesses. If they are not true, something better will be.” I heartily agree. And one thing is absolutely certain: the reality will break the boundaries of everything we have ever dreamed of or ever could dream of right now.
“The frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean” (Japanese Proverb).