Heavenly Ruminations

Warning: this is long.

Because I’m a nerd, I was reading Reader’s Digest today, and there was an article about Barbara Walter’s research on the question of heaven-what is it and how do we get there? There was also a 2-hour special on ABC last week, I think, and I wish I had gotten to watch all of it because I think it would have given more details than the article. Anyway, Walters spent a year researching, interviewing people from all types of religions and walks of life, and I was struck by a few things, one of them being Walters’s asking a priest (the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., specifically) if there would be sex in heaven. His reply? “That was a question they asked the Lord, and the answer was no.” First of all, who are “they”? I hate it when people use a blanket pronoun to refer to some invisible voice of consensus. It’s a simple case of a pronoun without a referent, people. I personally had never thought about whether or not there would be sex in heaven. It’s a compelling question, though. I know Muslims believe there will be sex in heaven (or paradise, as they refer to it), and the article says the Koran mentions sex in heaven specifically, but the Bible certainly doesn’t. What do you think? And will there be marriage in heaven? I am skeptical about there being sex in heaven, but I’ll get to my reasons for thinking so in a moment.

One other interesting quote in the article was by Billy Graham. He said, “I look forward to the reunion with friends and loved ones who have gone on before. I look forward to heaven’s freedom from sorrow and pain.” I have a problem with this quote, for several reasons, the first of which being the absence of a key figure. GOD. I’ve always had a problem with descriptions of heaven that liken it to a family reunion. That was always a big part of my church’s past presentations of heaven in the Judgment Houses we did, and I just have to wonder how much of that will be true. I’m not at all trying to be insensitive to those who have lost loved ones who are now in heaven, but my concern is that the focus when we think about heaven is not where it should be-on Jesus.

Can you just imagine it? Heaven will be a reunion, but it will be a reunion of the Bridegroom and His bride, the Church. We will at last be in the presence of the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the One who was before all things and controls all things. The Lord whose earth is merely His footstool (see Isaiah 66:1), who measures the waters in the palm of His hand, judges in wisdom and in power, knows my every thought and action before they come to be. In the presence of such magnificence, such wonder, how could we dare to think of anyone or anything else? Is it any wonder that the book of Revelation depicts creation worshipping before the throne of God? Does it not say in Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and earth, and every tongue confess that He is Lord? It will be all about Him, day in and day out. Our hearts and minds will be consumed with the Lord, and of course we will want it to be no other way.

So will there be sex in heaven? Will we be reunited with our relatives? I don’t know, but I have a hard time believing that we will even care about those things. How could we when face to face with the One who gave us life and gave His life so we might one day be with Him? My challenge in the here and now is to be more eternally-minded, to have a heart that beats for the things of God, the eternal things and not the temporal things (see 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). And I pray too that we might realize the power of the truths depicted in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10: “1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (emphasis mine)

Am I making it my goal to please Him? Are you?

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