What do you think heaven will be like?

(Luca) #41

I don’t know what Marvin meant. But i don’t think the subject of heaven should be dropped.
There is nothing wrong with speculating/wondering about what could or could not be in heaven in my opinion.

(Robin) #42

Maybe he will define his thoughts further…As for speculating and wondering — this is all well and good. But the Bible says only a little. : and that is all we need to know for now in our lives. If more were needed, God would have said more…

The concept of “hope” involves what you and I cannot know yet. Speculation may be hopeful, but if there is no biblical basis, then it is just idle chatter— like old men sitting in a park idling the time away. We have just lived through an era of :“heavenly tourism”" books, one of which was eventually recanted with additional comment from the repentant author that we should just stick to what is in the Bible rather than books like the one they wrote. The other two books have faded from the scene, thankfully. We hardly need more of this sort of thing.

(Luca) #43

Those books about heaven and wondering about heaven is not the same to me. Those books claim to know it all with certainty and even go as far to contradict scripture. Also the profit the authors make with these books. While wondering about heaven while keeping in mind what the Bible says is not at all like old people chatting time away. Its more like being interested in what God has in mind for a perfect creation. And if modern things are part of it or not.

(Robin) #44

OK…I understand where you are coming from on this. And I share your evaluation of these heavenly tourism books.

And I suppose everyone is curious, but we are limited in our knowledge to and by those things that the Bible tells us.

:I do not know whether modern things are part of heaven or not. Since we will be different people there, and since the majority of those in heaven (I am speculating) will be from other generations than ours-- and, even if same generation, different cultures — it is hard to postulate what “modern” thing would intrigue many of those who are “there” and those who will in future generations be added. Would Moses like a roller coaster ride? Would bungee jumping make the Cro-Magnon sick?

By “modern,” I suppose I mean things that are unique to our times. A man called a radio station a couple years ago to discuss his personal trip to heaven. At one point he told the radio announcer about people sitting in stadiums in heaven eating buffalo wings. If I was not already skeptical, I was completely cynical by that point. Why would some inhabitant of heaven — who lived in, say, 20,000 BC and never saw a buffalo wing — suddenly want to munch on one?? People who died in the 1960s A.D. even would not know of one…

So wonder if you want, and speculate all you like, but be aware that your culture and mine will not interest others. And once in heaven, we will be different people —salvation is by faith in Jesus, but it is an ongoing thing and not finished till we are “there” — so what we think and want then may be nothing like our interests (and taste in food???) are now.

But OK…speculate.

(Luca) #45

Do you really think people who grew up without technology would not be in awe to see a plane?
But i am happy you understand my point of view! :slight_smile:

(RiderOnTheClouds) #46

Which makes me think, could this new earth similarly become corrupted?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #47

I’ve always wondered if heaven is a subjective experience. We all like different things after all.

What interests me more however, is what ‘hell’ is like. I don’t follow the NT, but I’ve always wondered if the ‘lake of fire’, is merely a metaphorical description of life without God, rather than a literally burning lake of fire, it is mentally something like that, because you will have realised that you have missed out on your chance of going to heaven.

(Marvin Adams) #48

I interpret the fall as the poetic description of puberty, e.g. the eating from the tree of “self” realisation, the rejection of authority over the self with the consequence of the realisation of the “private sphere”, e.g. the realisation of nakedness. It is like you enter the bathroom for the first time when your son thinks his bits would fall of if you see him naked after having washed him naked for more than a dozen years. This realisation of the self, the requirement to make judgements about good of evil with regards to your own self is what makes you suffer death. The warning of God is that “if you eat from the tree of realisation you will suffer death” means exactly that, if you realize your self in terms of recognizing it and in making it your reality you suffer death as you have to give up your self. It is why those who lay down their lives for the sake of others have shown to be able to see their self in others.
God does not say that “if you eat from that tree I will make you die”, let alone “kill you as a punishment” as physical death has existed all along as to become an entity with God again as you went back where you came from. It is the claim to authority over the self - and others - that creates hell.

(Robin) #49

“”'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9 — which cites some passages from Hosea, I believe)…Plane? If a friend of mine who thinks we will fly on our own steam throughout the galaxies is right — then where we are going, who needs planes???

And who are the people “without technology”??? That might be you and me, from that future point of view…

“No mind has conceived…” keep that in mind. But I do agree with Reggie O. We were made to work, not to be idle — Whether work is for money or another reason – who can know? Remember “no mind has conceived”… In God’s eyes, we are like the five year olds I work with who take the two pieces of information they have learned in their five short years, add them to the two blocks from home they have travelled – and then come up with some of the most delightful explanations. We no doubt look that way to God, especially with our imaginings of the future.

(Robin) #50

OK Christy…you got me on chocolate!! I still think that 1 Cor 2:9 describes our limitations on this topic. But yes, gotta have chocolate!! And it will not be fattening…I may some day have time for that NT Wright book you mentioned — am currently listening to his study of Romans via Udemy — but there is a lot to read. Just finished Enns’ The Evolution of Adam, for example

(Robin) #51

Thanks for the clarification.

What criteria are you using for this interpretation?

(Luca) #52

What i meant is that if i never knew what lets say a television is…in heaven if there would be a television im sure i’d be interested in it!

(Marvin Adams) #53

What criteria I use to interpret the bible?- The experience of a father and a demand for a logic and coherent worldview. It is the great skill of the writers of the scripture to write a story that can be understood at an intellectual as well as an illiterate level as it draws on pictures taken from common experience. If you however look for logical coherence in the stories in the bible you will experince an interpretation of the text that is far more mindblowing than looking at it in the bible in a literal way. The logic interpretation beats the magic one any time.
If we look at heaven from a materialistic standpoint we have missed the entire bible and do no better than the atheists who insist on fundamentalist interpretation of it. Once you experience true and selfless love and the emotional roller coaster it sets free in you you will realise the limitation of the material side of love based on mechanical stimulation and its time / space limitation. If you want to come to the father - and thus to heaven, e.g. the presence of God through the Jesus you have to be able to follow him and realise God to be a logician who orders reality according to his wishes, and not a magician to create a make belief reality according to our wishes.

A good lesson is to consider the very first “miracle” of Jesus. Those who see his miracle in the change of the OH groups in a stone jar are clearly condemned to the materialistic view of reality. After all, where is the value of speeding up the industrial process of wine making by irrational magic? If however you understand the lesson to be the skill to change the state of OH groups in peoples minds and to make them realise that the water of ritual purification is the most valuable drink you can ever receive, the water of ritual/spiritual cleansing you will be on your way to heaven. If you think Jesus would spring into action to hide someones poverty for not being able to afford enough wine, to suggest it a shame to lack material wealth and to create a fake reality you do not want the God Jesus is talking about but a God that creates a make belief reality oriented on your materialistic values. If you want to be a disciple of Christ you have to consider if you follow someone because he does magic you do not understand to avoid the embarrassment of the groom not to be rich enough to afford the wine in order to pretend a fake reality to his guests or a Christ who challenges the materialistic mindset of the crowd by having them served the purest of waters with the praise for the honesty of the groom not to pretend and cut the wine to make him look like he was wealthy. But them most of you have probably never drunk from a well fit to be used for the water of purification like for example the well at Walsingham to appreciate what ring those words would have carried.

Remember the eye of the needle and that in order to get into heaven you have to drop all your material baggage, and do not think that Jesus would promote the idea that a glas of wine has more value than “the water that was born to become wine”. If you still look for materialistic values in heaven you might as well go to Hollywood of Disneyland

(Robin) #54

Marvin…I appreciate the sermonette!!

At least, I think I understand what you meant in the “first” comment you wrote — the one about “sounds like a lot of us will struggle with the idea of letting go of the self that we acquired…” At least, I understand this to be your thoughts about some of the wish lists people have brought — e.g., give me chocolate and plane rides in the next life!!

So OK…in 10 million years I will probably be sick of chocolate and lemon meringue pie anyway.

As for “the self that is acquired…” I suppose we can drop that one. “We” did not acquire anything. Our selves were created by God, and what and how they are changed in the resurrection and the future, it is not for us to know much about.

Your sermonette was quite wide ranging, especially on a post that is dedicated to speculating about whether we can play American football (or not) in heaven, and more…

I will let go the explanation of Jesus’ turning water into wine, the eye of the needle, and so on. One of those (the latter) was meant as an example, never meant as a thing that happened, while the former was described by the gospel writer as a thing that happened. We could go on forever about those things…and never come to an end.

You said that your criteria is “a father and a demand for a logic and coherent worldview” which you later say involves experiencing "an interpretation of the text that is far more mindblowing [i.e., the logic interpretation] than “the magical one any time.”

The problem, of course, is that – as Van Dyk puts it in a book of his – “if the belief in magic is an essential part of the biblical horizon”, then it cannot be dismissed. The logic presented by you seems a bit Enlightenment-based, if not also influenced by other things. This would be your perspective, or the perspective of our secularist era, not that of those who composed the biblical text. In thinking that “our” era is the sole arbitrator of meaning, we make a mistake—and potentially miss out on what was really said in the text.

In Genesis 2:16-17 it quotes God as saying " You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die…"

And in Genesis 3:5 it quotes the snake/serpent as saying “For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

One part of this whole pericope involves a commandment of God Who had just given the “two” a free pass to every tree (and presumably bush) in the garden — except One. And the other part of the pericope involves The Original Skeptic turning their eyes toward The One Thing They Could Not Have — and saying “He’s a meanie! He is conning you!! He does not want what is best for you.”

And from all this the whole story grows. They did not understand why the one tree was forbidden, and since they did not understand, there was room for someone to cast doubt on God’s goodness and the wisdom of His edict. That the snake approached the woman, not the man, has been the stuff of thousands of years of conversation. Was she the more easily deceived? or was she the more interesting, intelligent, and assertive of the two? (Take your pick!!)

But they both knew beforehand that they were naked. Afterwards, when they were supposed to suddenly be blessed with all this knowledge — now they were ashamed of that fact, blamed each other, blamed God, were embarrassed at the sight of each other’s nakedness — and a whole host of other things came as a consequence.

I have a book on the commentaries of ancient Christian writers on this section of Genesis. I also have several commentaries, since Genesis is one of the biblical books that most intrigues me. These texts do not come up quite with your interesting “realization of the self” and “give up your self” idea. This sounds more like something you hear on Oprah or a program of that sort.

Interesting thoughts, though. I will say that for you., But be careful of alternative interpretations. Some are really interesting and may just “fit” the narrative. Others…??? I know that it was the alternate views of a defrocked monk who inspired Adolf Hitler to develop his strange philosophies – based on junk psychology and a few other bad notions – and to think he was the redeemer and that by wiping out whole ethnic groups, he was fulfilling his pseudo-redeemer role. That is what can happen when heterodox ideas go unchallenged and uncorrected.

I am not saying you are in that category. I am just saying that biblical interpretation mixed with other ideas — there is a moment when something is interesting and a viable possible explanation of a text, also a moment when something is not. I know you will keep learning and working through your thoughts.

But keep on reading and thinking about these things.


I couldn’t have said it any better!

I will third that!

I am with you on that…mostly. Since I believe we were created/designed to depend on God, the absence of Him will result in misery and seeing what it is like to live in a world void of our l of misery and fear, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Sad, and scared lashing out at everyone, all alone.

Though the fire might be real, that isn’t that big of a deal. Pain let’s us know something is wrong, pain is good, it alarms us to stop what we are doing or we will receive damage or death. But if there is not death, physical pain is the least of our worries.

Or there is the conditionalist view, that our physical bodies die (since we are already spiritually dead), we remain dead. Eternal punishment is eternal death/separation from our creator.

I am not convinced to chose the formal or the latter. But neither is the popular narrative of hell fire forever is why we need to be saved or fire is what Jesus saved us from.

Jesus saved us from living a life apart from God.

And that is what heaven is, life with God, for those who acknowledge we need God, that He designed be dependent on Him.

Freedom is doing as designed, not doing as you desire. A fish is designed to be in the water, and if it follows its design, will live a long life. If the fish desires to jump out of water, it will die. It’s desires will kill it. Following your desires will not give you freedom, but death. We were designed by God, that is the truth, and the truth will set you free.

I subscribe to much of what @aleo says. There is no original curse of man, rather an original blessing. This blessing was to depend on God in all of our occupations. To relate with one another and share God’s love and to praise Him with the blessings He gave us. Whether it is singing, mowing the lawn, art work.

1 Cor 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

He blessed us with so many abilities to worship Him in thanksfulness.

Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

That is from NT Wright. God created us to be kings and priest. Kings spread the blessings of God to men(relating and healing and loving) and priests bring praises to God. Like a mirror pointed 45 degrees (us on Earth and God in the heavens above), receiving His light and reflecting it to others, and sending the hankfullness and praises from us back to Him. Image bearers of God.

That is a massively impressive power He gave us, an original blessing given to Adam (who spread this knowledge/blessing to others). I believe we are all born sinless like Adam or Jesus, but like both of them, are cursed (blessed, depending how you look at it) with the propensity to sin, and though I don’t know when, there is some age/cognitive ability that we reach were we sin the first time. The propensity to sin can also be seen as a blessing because it drives us depend on God. To make us “want the healer, more than the healing, the savior, move than the saving” (Natalie Grant-More than anything) Adam, who also followed his desire as opposed to design, and did not depend on God, but wanted to be his own God and in charge of his destiny, as opposed to trusting in God. Rejection of God’s will, rejection of God.

Hell is not a punishment, nor is heaven a reward. Hell is a consequence (a reality) of rejecting your creator. He loves you greatly, and wants what is best for you (Him), but allows you to reject Him. Heaven is not a reward, this is why good works can’t get you there. It was never about works, it was about you recongnizing who God is and His purpose for us. That we need to depend on Him.

Jesus couldn’t even do it alone. Jesus was fully human, in the same boat as us. He managed to live a sinless life, because of God and the help of the Spirit. Jesus was also an example of how we too can live a sinless life (acknowledging and honoring the Father) and it is no through our own power, it through God. Though Jesus was never tainted with sin nor ever rejected God, and because of that was able to be a spotless lamb for us. Humans are burdened by the propensity to sin naturally (our biology), all animals have desire to procreate and self preserve (which have no law to break therefore can’t sin) Early Humans/Homo sapiens developed a brain to use logic in assisting this goal, which helped the, behavior a bit better but still without a law, unable to sin, but also like animals, non image bearers of God. But when God gave Adam the status of being an image bearer and a law, we now needed to depend on Him to achieve this.

After sinning, and rejecting God, and giving that power to Satan, we now have spiritual death. We then needed a physical human to be born, to not sin (through depending on God), which means they never experienced spiritual death like us. To physically die, but physically raised, so that we can be spiritually raised from the dead in Him (spiritually born again) And now we are just waiting on our physical death, and we will also receive a physical resurrection in our glorified bodies. Forever acknowledging that we need to depend of God, and will forever praise Him and live others as intended from the beginning.

Rom 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

John 3:7You[d] must be born again.’

Heaven or hell at the roots comes down to pride. Do you want to be dependent to do the designs of your creator? Or do do you want to follow your desires. God allows both choices. And if we “pass this test” in the temporary world, we are blessed with an eternity with the one we wanted in this fallen world. If we reject Him in this temporary world, we face the consequences, condemn ourselves to eternal separation, whether that is an eternal torture or ceasing to exist is unknown to me. But really doesn’t matter or have a bearing on how I live my life. I try to live to honor Him in all I do (priest) and to shine His light and love before all men (king). And I am blessed and thankful that He revealed these truths to me and allowed a wretched person such as me who rejects Him, a way/path (Jesus) back to Him, being forgiven of my rejection out of His eternal grace, and has nothing to do with what I did or ever can do. If there is anything I boast in, may it be in the grace of God!

Also to say that being a king and priest is much easier said than done. It’s easier to talk the talk then walk the walk. Thankfully Jesus was and is the King of Kings and Most High Priest for me, because I fail often, and I’m extra thankful for a God who knows this, and loves me in spite of who I am or what I do or do t do. I am no better than a Athiest or Satanist who are lost or blind, I’m just forgiven and shown the way of Jesus and can see the light of God. I know I’m dependent on my creator for for grace and fulfillment of my life, the only thing that can fill he void in my life created when I rejected my Creator and His designs.

(Marvin Adams) #56

do you imply that they gained “all this knowledge” from eating a magic apple? It is a common problem of translation to refer to the tree as the tree of knowledge, it is the tree of understanding good and evil, not the tree of knowledge. The fall is the rejection of authority of God over the self as in doing your own thing, especially the thing that the father has told you not to do. In doing so you become your individual self, thus make your own judgement. This by default puts you in conflict with the father, as you then start operating out of self interest.
If you ever seen the reaction of your pubertarian son when entering the bathroom whilst he is in, did you ask him if he had eaten something - or who told him to be suddenly ashamed of being naked?#To look at nakedness as evil is perhaps one of the longest lasting misunderstandings of genesis. It is the fact of being ashamed of ones nakedness that signifies the state of having realized ones self thus establishing privacy. There is nothing wrong with the naked human body, only with the thinking of what to do with it for yourself

It is in puberty that you realize your state of self and in love that you want to give it away for the self of the other, and then in love for the ones you may have been blessed to create between you. Because of this change you will see how children before puberty engage different with their own death depending on the level of self acquisition.
If you want to look at the gender role in the fall it is reflecting that women reach maturity first as to act independently, but men come out far worse in the story of the fall, as Adam does what still far worse than what the woman did, he blamed God for his fall whilst she admitted her own fault, but that is hard to accept for those men who want to look men to be better.
I have to apologise that I use my own mind to interpret the biblical text, but I am sure if you search long enough you will find someone else who thought so, but then I can’t defend my thinking by other peoples thoughts but my own as someone else said before me as well.

(Melissa) #57

I’ve been reading (more precisely, trying to read) John Polkinghorne’s eschatological ideas in his book “The God of Hope and the End of the World” and I just received in the mail “The End of the World and the Ends of God: Science and Theology on Eschatology (Theology for the 21st Century)” in hopes to better understand what “heaven” will be like, and even more so, in trying to figure out what happens when we die right now. Do we “go” to heaven now or “sleep” until the new world? So many questions, so little time. Not that any definite answers are really needed as my Hope is in Christ, but it’s interesting to ponder.

(Robin) #58

Hello again…the “magic apple” is not in the text. As I said, they already knew they were naked. But one of the immediate negative consequences of the act of disobeying God was this sense of separation and shame — even, perhaps, of guilt??? After all, when we feel guilty, we try to hide our guilt, explain it away, “wish we had not done it,” anesthetize it with alcohol or other things — and so on.

This couple, after doing what they had been told not to do by believing what turned out to be a lie — were separated from each other and from God. There were other consequences, but that is another matter.

You have a belief that there is a “common problem of translation” that renders it “the tree of knowledge, it is the tree of understanding good and evil, not the tree of knowledge.”

What is your source for the assertion that there is a translation problem here? The phrase “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” is used in everything from the American Standard Version to the Young’s Literal Translation — and all points in between.

Tyndale (long ago) said “But of the tre of the knowlege of good and badd se that shou eate not for even ye same daye thou eatest of it thou shalt surely dye” (spelling his)

Wycliife starts off with “forsooth” and goes into "the tree of knowing of good and of evil, for…"He did his translation well before Tyndale.

So the Masoretic Text and a Hebrew to English Interlinear Bible. If you remember to read Hebrew translations right to left — " eat not and evil of good of the knowledge But of the tree"…

The Orthodox Jewish Bible mixes English with an anglicized Hebrew “But of the Etz HaDa’as Tov v-Rah, thou shalt not eat of it…” and the phrase “etz HaDaat Tov” is in the Masoretic translation I cited above—otherwise I would have no clue as to what the Orthodox Jewish Bible meant.

The Catholic Online people have a lengthy discussion of the meaning of knowledge. Apprehension is certainly a part of it, but they go on at length about other things. And it is hard to say that one (understanding) is separate from the other (knowledge), although it does seem to sometimes happen in real life to all of us.

I am not Jewish or Catholic, but I use NIV, NASB, ESV, NKJV, and commentaries done by people who translate from the older languages…so all I can say is that I do not know how you assume that “understanding” is the better sense of things. Judging by the entire pericope, it is clear that neither male nor female in this had really solid understanding — first of what and why God said what He said to them…and they certainly did not “understand” who they were talking to when they finally did eat of this fruit.

As for nakedness as evil — this was a consequence of the fall. They evidently already knew this of themselves but were not troubled by it — and presumably did not get perverted ideas from seeing each other that way…This is impossible for us now.

Nakedness can be evil in our times because we are evil and we have been perverted. Other people also are perverted. No need to go on with this.

As for “using your own mind to interpret” — this is good, but as I said, there are limits. People have “used their own minds” to come up with great doctrinal error and to commit heinous crimes – separate from religious or philosophical beliefs. And in the long run, we may not be using our own minds so much as we think. “Adam” and “Eve” were the first to believe they were using their own minds, when in reality they were pawns in a much larger war (i.e., the rebellion of a group of fallen angels against God) …and this is a subject for another time…

Have a good Sunday…

(RiderOnTheClouds) #59

As for what I think heaven will be like, I’m going by the description found in Daniel 12, which is the only mention of heaven and hell in the OT, it is mentioned in terms of the realm of God, but it is never mentioned that humans go there. We will sleep in dust until the Messiah comes, then the righteous will shine like the expanse of the heavens.Boring, for most of our existence, but still something eventually.

(Marvin Adams) #60

it is a limit of the english translation. You would do better to look at the translation in German were it is not called the tree of knowledge, e.g. Baum des Wissens, which would imply God wanting humans to acquire knowledge as implied by modern atheists proposing scientism, or actually selfism, but “Baum der Erkenntnis” which is cognition or realisation, as in experiencing for yourself. It is in becoming a self separate from the parents that burdens you with your own responsibility, but in particular with regards to God, separates you from the eternal existence that only exists in God. AS SUCH DEATH IS NOT A PENALTY FOR BECOMING A SELF, BUT ITS LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE OF SEPARATION FROM the eternal existence that is God.
wissen or knowledge can be acquired by being taught about something, and God taught them what not to do. Erkenntnis or cognition requires reflection upon the self, thus realisation of the self. in doing so one does acquire moral responsibility, meaning that you can’t take respoonsibility for your beloved children any more.