Deep within most people there is a longing for heaven, for something after this life. Jesus compared heaven to a wedding banquet: “The kingdom of
heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son” (Matt. 22:2).
Theologians and philosophers have often tackled the subject of afterlife and heaven. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica predicted: “Our scars will be seen as badges of honor; no one will rise in glory missing a limb; our senses will be enhanced, and we will be free of selfish passions.” The Christian belief is that in heaven there is no self-centeredness—everyone thinks of the other before self.
Tom Harpur, Anglican priest and author of Heaven and Hell, describes heaven as “a place where one continues the journey of growing in spiritual enlightenment.” St. Paul suggests that self-enlightenment will not be a process, but a part of the reality of heaven. On earth only certain things are revealed to us, but in heaven we shall know all things.
Will we simply be playing harps, or singing, all day and all night long? Mark Twain begged God to spare him from such boredom! There will undoubtedly be lots of surprises in heaven. No Internet will be necessary, for our search for knowledge will have been satisfied. We will have a heightened sense of spiritual identity, and God will fill our souls with ultimate joy.
We know that heaven will be a perfect place, and that there will be room for all who believe in Christ: “In My Father’s house are many rooms… I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
We also know it will be a place of peace: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
Heaven, as far as we can comprehend, is not so much above as beyond us. Anyone can reserve a place in heaven, but entrance is by God’s grace alone. We must believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Once that belief is established, there must be a willingness to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In heaven we will not only serve God, but the ultimate blessing will be to see his face: “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face” (Rev. 22:3-4).
Beverly Ivany, The War Cry