What is the point? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Many times, I get really annoyed when Christians start talking about Heaven so much. It’s not so much because Heaven is unimportant to talk about. It is. The problem is that seems to be all that we talk about and when we talk about Heaven, it’s not even for the right reasons.
Let’s start with the first point. Listen to many Christians today and you would think the whole point of Christianity is going to Heaven. A small child comes forward and accepts Jesus and now he has to look forward to that when he dies, he will go to Heaven. What is he told about the here and now? What is he told about the purpose of his life? Well, be a good person. Congratulations. Even secularists do the same with their children. They can also offer that without all this stuff that people find so hard to believe, so what a shock when children will dump Jesus later on in their teen years. What was the point anyway?
Nothing is said about us being servants of the Kingdom. Jesus is your savior, but nothing is said about what you are to do for Him. It’s all about what He did for you. Nothing is said about how He is supposed to be your king. When do we hear about holy living in the here and now for the glory of God?
As for the second problem, I have heard many Christians describe Heaven and when they do so, their descriptions are quite lacking. The lacking in the details of Heaven is nothing is said about God. You see, you get to live forever and you’re reunited with your loved ones and you have this mansion and these streets of gold. It’s as if God is an afterthought.
With this, God becomes solely a means to obtain what we want for ourselves. God is not the goal and the great reward. He is the means to the goal and the great reward. It’s almost as if this kind of attitude is wanting to rape God for the good things that He has.
I can assure you it was incredibly awkward even writing that last sentence, but that is the only kind of parallel I can come up with. Perhaps such a graphic illustration is what some of us need anyway. All the good stuff alone does not make Heaven.
I have heard there was an episode of the Twilight Zone where a man dies and goes to a place where he has a mansion and all the good things he wants. As time goes on though, he gets bored and when asks about that is told that’s the way it is. He asks why it is that Heaven is like this to which he is told, “Who said you were in Heaven?” I am not saying this is what happens, but one could imagine how twisted it would be for a hell to be a place where you seem to have all you want at the start and then find out that it is unfulfilling. Ultimately, only God can eternally satisfy the longings of man, something I still have to remind myself of.
Besides that, when we see our loved ones, it’s almost as if we think we will pick up right where we left off. Last night, I finished reading again C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. He describes the same sort of idea and does also realize he is being tempted to treat God as a means to see his beloved again. Lewis throughout tries to think about what could be happening to his bride. Perhaps she is still being sanctified. Why think that her pain is entirely ending? Could she be experiencing separation? While Lewis was a Protestant, he did still pray for her and was open to some sufferings of purgatory.
Perhaps it is because we do not see God as desirable Himself that we look at Heaven like this. Why do we not see God as the great reward Himself? As an apologist, I wish I had an answer, but I do not at this point. It is a question I am still mulling over. I hope to do some future blogs as I think about it in the future.
I suppose in closing all I can say is to think about why you are doing what you are doing. Is God a means to an end? What is the point of your life now? Are you presenting God as the goal or just the afterthought, the means to the end?
(And I affirm the virgin birth)