Hi, this is Jon, and today on ask Theocast, I’m answering the question, “What will Heaven be like?”
Most of us when we think of Heaven, if we’re honest, it’s not a positive thought. We think of it more like a sterile hospital where we’ll be floating around in white gowns and playing music, and it’s this one long worship service and everything is spiritual, and there’s really nothing else going on in Heaven, other than a very long hymn sing. That’s just not the way in which the Bible describes our experience.
First of all, we’re not going to live in Heaven forever. That is the first mistake we make. The second is that we are influenced by Platonism. It’s even called Christo-Platonism. Plato taught that anything physical is bad, anything at all, and the only thing that is good is the spiritual part of us, so that when we die, we’re going to leave this body behind, and we’re only going to live in a spiritual realm, which means we’re not going to experience anything that’s physical. This kind of teaching even led into thinking that Jesus was not a physical person, where he kind of floated and never touched the ground, because if he would have touched anything that was sinful or unclean, it would make him sinful, which is a heretical doctrine to think about anyways.
It’s influenced the way in which we think about the eternal state, where we’re going to be up in the sky in this golden palace, and it’s cold and sterile, and the only thing we’re going to do is be in the presence of God, which I know many would say, well, what else matters than being in the presence of God? That’s the only thing that matters is to be with him, which I completely agree, but the way in which John describes Jesus saying that he’s going away to prepare a place for us, and this place that he’s preparing is our home, and it’s a gift from our Father who’s going to gift it to us. Romans eight also describes it in this way, that the world has been cursed, and it’s groaning, and it’s anticipating when the curse will be lifted from it. So it’s not that the world will be gone and passed away and there’s no more world, but it’s waiting for the curse to be lifted.
Then Paul says in Romans eight, also, that we are looking forward. We too are groaning and anticipating and awaiting the redemption of our bodies to be restored back to the original intention, where Adam and Eve were in the garden, in this perfect place, and they walked the garden with God in the cool of the day, and they enjoyed, and they ate, and they smelled. All of these things were good when God created them. So when we think about the eternal state, we should understand that God uses this redemption, this recovering of the world that we live in now, and that the new heavens and the new Earth is a physical, real place where we will receive the benefits and the inheritance that God has for us.
I would also say that we think that worshiping God only happens in song, or on our knees in prayer, or during a worship service, but the way in which the Bible describes worship, it says whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all so that it reflects, or it pays back, to the glory of God, so that in the new heavens and the new Earth, we will see the glory of God in his creations. The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament shows his handiwork. We will see all that God has done, and we will worship him through sight, and smell, and emotions, and sound, and embrace. So the new heavens and the new Earth is not a spiritual realm completely disconnected from what we have now, but it’s this world restored back to its original intentions where we will worship God, receive the benefits of creation, and glorify him for all of eternity.
So, hopefully, that was encouraging for you, that you can anticipate living with God and it not being foreign to what we have now. I would describe this world as a postcard. It’s but a picture of what’s waiting for us when we show up on the shores of the new heavens and the new Earth. Revelation 21 describes that God’s going to come and wipe away every tear, and that there’s going to be no more pain, and no more sorrow, and no more death. So it’s not this ongoing music service, but worship will happen as we glorify God and we enjoy the experience of his creation, and we enjoy relationships with each other in the presence of our savior. Ephesians two tells us that for the rest of eternity, we’ll be looking into the unmeasurable grace that God has shown us, that part of our salvation, the purpose of our salvation, is that for all of eternity, we will dive deeper and deeper and deeper, learning and experiencing the grace of God in which he has saved us.
So, the new heavens and the new Earth is this experience with God that is something to be anticipated. This is why Hebrews 11 describes the Old Testament saints looking forward to a new land, a heavenly land, where they will live in the presence of God, and Paul and Peter describe this anticipation of the restoration of our bodies and the restoration of the fellowship with God.
So I hope you look forward to Heaven and understand and explore that it’s not distant or disconnected, but it’s something to look forward to. Please send us your questions at asktheocast.com.