October 14, 2005

Heaven

And this is where I get lost.

So I don't know where it started, but I've been reading some webcomics lately – some better than others – and this one in particular. Hopefully that link will bring you to the episode that stirred this minor rant.

Also, my apologies, for I suck at logic.

Suppose heaven exists, and that some other realms form its complement (say, hell and purgatory). And suppose that these are the places where people end up when they die.

Now, in Christian terms, I would say a man [please, let me generalize, for it makes this entry easier to write. Feel free to read woman, and she, when possible] will end up in heaven if he has lived his life trying to follow in Jesus footsteps. I say trying, in the sense of 'we're all sinners'. I would also say heaven for him would be to live amongst his loved ones, and to be close to God, rid of any other needs.

Now, suppose this man has many loved ones. His wife, his sons and daughters, his neighbours [hey! It might happen!], friends from work, friends from the pub, who knows. They might make him happy, and he could miss them if they weren't around, bringing him into a less heavenly state. When in heaven, he shouldn't have any needs, so all his loved ones should be there [resulting in even more confusion, as he could end up missing those still alive]. Obviously, his loved ones might love other people as well, who might need other people, basically making heaven one [hell of a] crowded place where everyone lives, apart from those loved by no one.

Now, the man might have a loved one who has a loved one he despises. That would make his life in heaven less heavenly. Also, the man might love someone who has been too much of a sinner to 'deserve' to be in heaven. Barring that loved one would make the man's life in heaven less heavenly, however. Maybe by loving that person, the man doesn't deserve to be in heaven himself, and by using the same hypothesis, heaven would end up a very lonely person, only inhabitated by those who don't love people who have sinned too much. And God. Barring the despised person would make the man's friend's life in heaven less heavenly, which makes this rant a bit too confusing.

Referring to the comic assuming the mother's life was saint-like, she would either end up in a heaven without her beloved son, which is a contradiction as she would miss him in a place where she should be happy. Or she would end up in heaven's complement with her son, which contradicts the proposition that she lived saint-like.

Help! How to end this seemingly endless conundrum? I'd love for heaven to exist, not in the least to make this entry worthwile. My best guess is that heaven is a state of mind. It's a place where you can be with God alone, who is your first love and which will make you forget about your loved ones. Or it's a place where you believe you are with all those you've loved. In Matrix style, you're basically hypnotized [well, you're dead anyway] and made to believe everyone and everything you've ever loved surrounds you in an ever-so heavenly fashion, with God smiling on you. An alternative of that solution would be that you are with God and those who you loved who didn't end up in heaven's complement, and that you are put in such a euphoric state that you cannot miss those absent loved ones, and that you can bear those loved ones' friends that you despise.

Personally, I favour the second option of the constructed solution. Actually, I'm too confused to state a preference. I think I want to stay on earth for a while…

Again, please note that this entry is constructed around my personal interpretation of the Christian rendition of heaven. Which [in the personal interpretation] is probably where most fallacies lie.

P.S. Seems that the most likely definition is:
An eternal state of communion with God; everlasting bliss
So basically, my whole rant just now was pointless, or mainly aimed at a more popular concept of heaven [as presented in the comic].


- 9 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. mike

    hmm…interesting…..

    14 Oct 2005, 16:55

  2. Kate

    What about a man (I'm going to follow Thor in asking that you assume I'm including women in this, too) who's much-loved wife dies young… He's in mourning for years, and is very upset to have lost her. However evenutally he falls in love again, remarries, and is very happy with his new wife.

    Which one will he get to be with in heaven?! Even if Thor is right that heaven is a place where you believe that you're with those that you love; surely it would be a bit odd for the man to have BOTH his wives there at the same time?!

    This has been bugging me for a while.

    14 Oct 2005, 17:19

  3. Graham

    Both options seem to involve some sort of deception – thinking something is happening when its not – or change of mind – being made to forget. Either way, I'm not sure either fits.

    Of course, as much as you may love for heaven to exist, you should consider that it might not – and if death is the end, you can't miss anything once life is over. I'm not sure thats such a terrible prospect.

    14 Oct 2005, 17:40

  4. I think that the amazing greatness of being in heaven with Jesus will eclipse any feelings of missing relatives or friends. I also know that all other Christians are our brothers and sisters as well so we will be surrounded by an amazing family that love us and I donít think it will matter to us whether or not they are the same family and friends that we had on earth (although I want to believe that we will be able to recognise them Ė even though this is not exactly stated in the bible).

    Also marriage in the bible is very clearly till death do us part and once in heaven we are the bride of Christ and have a perfect relationship with him so wonít need husbands or wives. I think that marriage was given to us by God as a model on earth of what our relationship in heaven with him will be like (obviously it will be much more perfect though).

    This is what I have understood from the bible and other wise people but would love to hear what other people think as well :)

    14 Oct 2005, 17:42

  5. Hayley

    Wow, Thor, you don't half ask them! (And Kate too actually…!)

    I won't pretend that I know everything, or even all that much about what heaven will be like… what I do know is really from other people's interpretations of the Bible (I am not clever enough to make much sense of what the Bible says about heaven… it makes my brain fry!)

    Here's what I think though- phrased in an oversimple way. Heaven is being with God, hell is being without him. He basically gives us the choice while we're here on earth. Which means that those who've accepted that Jesus died and was raised because of their sins (because no one is perfect) will spend eternity with God in the full relationship with him that he created us for. Those who haven't… won't. Which gives some indication as to why Christians are always telling people about their faith.

    As to how you'll feel about people you love not being there, I imagine it to be similar to how I feel now about people I love not having the joy and peace of a relationship with God on earth. Only worse, I suppose, because it's so final. But then… emotions are complex things, and now when I spend time with God all else melts away and it's me and Him spending time together… oh, I don't know.

    I could be very very wrong, and as is obvious above my concept of heaven is not fully formed. But then I've never really felt the need to worry about what heaven will be like: because I've believed since the day I became a Christian that, because of Jesus and God's grace, I will see it for myself.

    Does that make any sense? I'm sorry if I've rambled a bit, and I'm sorry if I've made you more and not less confused!

    Love yaxxx

    14 Oct 2005, 17:51

  6. Hi Thor,
    Tanya's explanation is what I have gathered from the many books and learned people that I have encountered.
    Personally to me, no one really knows what heaven is.
    We have been always known it to be a happy blissful place. But then how do one define happiness and bliss. It is different for everyone.
    Mitch Albom's fictional book The Five People You Meet In Heaven told the story of a man who went to heaven and met 5 people who played important roles in his life. Of the 5 ,there were even strangers that have played crucial part in his life. The heaven depicted in the book is a heaven where it is not one common place but it is different for each and every person. In it, heaven is the place where on earth you found peace or somewhere that brings you happiness. So heaven in the author's interpretation is where you want to be, where happiness brings you. And that is different for each and everyone of us. Perhaps it is… cause no one really knows…
    I used to dwell a lot about life after death. I am curious as to what really happens after we die. Is there really heaven? What about tales of reincarnation that was documented on Discovery Channel? What about hell?
    A very good friend of mine said to me ' It really is pointless thinking about it all, because we will never really find an answer. All we can do is seize the day and make this short life on earth worth while.' That I have to agree.
    Sorry I over rambled. Not sure if it makes sense.
    Hope your work is going well and have a good weekend.
    God bless you+family+friends…
    PJ

    14 Oct 2005, 22:32

  7. Oh ya I forgot to add, the book also depicted heaven as a place where we get to know why certain events in our lifes on earth happen. This is to be taught to us by the 5 people whom we will meet. I really liked this idea even though I am not sure if it is true. Perhaps… g
    osh, now my brain will be thinking about what you have wrote all night.. it is a very good blog entry..

    14 Oct 2005, 22:36

  8. Thanks for all the comments! I don't think it's pointless thinking about it, as I enjoy thinking about it! I guess after death, you want to get rid of all your needs, and if there's nothing after death, there will be no needs, so I see your point Graham, but I'd rather look forward to something more fun. Even if my belief is not strong enough for an afterlife for me to exist, at least I won't feel the disappointment as I will be part of nothingness, and disappointment won't exist :-)

    I've been thinking about this too much today to make any more sense, so let me make a slightly related comment:
    Funny how google sends you to one of London's leading gay clubs when you're asking for heaven… [Yes, this is related to my newer entry, and shows even less will to do any work]

    15 Oct 2005, 00:10

  9. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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." Revelation 21 vs 3&4

    15 Oct 2005, 14:47


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