Sunday, January 16, 2011

Where's heaven?

Where’s heaven? And how long does eternity last?

Heaven. When we hear the word, most of us imagine people in white robes, sitting on clouds and strumming harps. In fact, if we were honest, we have to admit that an eternity of cloud-sitting and harp-strumming sounds downright boring!

If you think that’s all heaven is, you’re sadly mistaken. Heaven is God’s home, and right now it probably exists in a dimension we can’t even see.

I read an interesting book the other day called Flatland, by Edwin Abbott. The book is about a group of beings that live in only two dimensions. Imagine, if you can, a tabletop covered with construction paper circles and squares and rectangles and lines. Now imagine that you ARE one of those paper circles or squares or rectangles or lines. If you lived in a flat world and could see only north, south, east, and west, but not above or beneath, you’d be living in Flatland. If you lived in Flatland and saw a circle approaching, it wouldn’t look like a circle—it’d look like a straight line. So would a rectangle. And a straight line, coming toward you, would look like a dot.

Because you could not rise above the table and look down on Flatland, you’d never have any idea that things looked different from another dimension. You wouldn’t even know there was another dimension, unless a three-dimensional person appeared in your world and tried to explain that there is more to imagine.

We humans get so used to living in our world that we forget that there is much more to imagine and to believe. God created this world with height and breadth and width, but other dimensions exist. We have eternal souls that cannot be seen or measured. We are surrounded by angels—good and evil—that we cannot see unless God reveals them to us. God sits on a throne in heaven, which is located in a dimension we cannot access—yet.

But one day we will enter heaven with supernatural bodies equipped for life in a new dimension. We will also be able to enjoy a new earth, a planet recreated and repopulated with animals and plants and mountains. We will be part of God’s family, with thousands of new brothers and sisters who love us. We will be able to do all the things we enjoyed doing in this life, but we won’t be badgered by sin or temptation. The sinful part of our nature will be gone, and we will be joyful and content to live in God’s presence for eternity.

When you arrive in heaven, you will feel as though you have finally come home—and it will be a place so much greater than anything you could ever have imagined. This earth will feel like Flatland compared to the rich diversity of heaven. Best of all, you will live there for eternity.

How long is eternity? Forever and ever. Longer than you can imagine.

Memory verse: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

Discussion questions:

Read the following verses and explain what they tell us about heaven:

· John 14:1-2: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?”

· “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

· “Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36)

· “All these people died still believing what God has promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they all saw it from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. . . . But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13, 16).

· “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven . . .” (Rev. 21:1-2, description includes entire chapter).

2. What do you think heaven will be like? How has this lesson changed your view of heaven?

Even if you don’t understand it all, know this: God has prepared a place for his children, and it will be a wonderful, glorious place. You can trust him.

Well, that's it for my theology lessons . . . . unless I write some more. I hope you've enjoyed them. If you'd like copies of any of them (because you can't access them through the archives), drop me a note and I'll send it to you.



Lucy Anne Adams said...

How sweet is God's timing. My husband crossed over last night and he is in heaven as I read this. How sweet.

Bobbe Brooks-Fischle said...

Hello dear Angie!
Your post today is more than a "theology lesson." Yesterday my dear friend since 5th grade went to Heaven and these words are life and comfort. Praying this is your greatest year and hugs from the Rockies!

Angela said...

Oh, Lucy Anne! My prayers are with you, but I rejoice with you that your husband is in heaven today. And Bobbe, my prayers are with you, too. Even while we sorrow because we miss our loved ones, God reminds us that these lifespans are only a blink compared to eternity. Love and prayers to you both!


Anonymous said...

Well, you would know that I get in on the LAST one! Yes, I'd like the other lessons!

Thanks Angie! I won't be at Jodi's writers' retreat in June. I'll miss seeing you again, but hope all goes well. Loving my "A Novel Idea."

Take care!


Lisa said...

I would LOVE to have a copy of them. More than once, I've referenced something you've written to my students. They may only be 4 and 5 years old, but I was able to make some of the concepts applicable to them.
Thanks! Here's my email-

Bobbe Brooks-Fischle and Dr. John Fischle said...

Angie, thank you!
And, I'm praying for Lucy Anne.
Hugs from here!

Anonymous said...

It seems I'm doing nothing but playing catch-up these days. Those lessons I have read were wonderful, as is this one on Heaven. I read "Flatland" decades ago, at the suggestion of an atheist/astro-physicist, so I had always thought of it in his scientific terms. How much more it makes sense when you view it with the eyes of a believer. I do picture heaven as a place of great joy and contentment. A place where we can praise God and experience His love "in person". Clyde

Anonymous said...

As I search for answers, my beautiful son passed away last week. I'm heartbroken. He was my only child and I'm a single mom. I feel lost, but with that I just want to know he's happy and at peace. I've read your sweet words and they do help with the knowledge I've been searching for. Thank you for sharing.