In response to Chris’ post about the beatific vision … this is a bit random because I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of bits of his post.
I don’t think “harps and big groups” sound fun either (although I do get high on worship from time to time). But perhaps I listen to too much Chuck Missler, because I don’t think that Heaven will look at all like this reality, or anything we expect with mortal eyes. And, technically, I think there might be a difference between paradise/Heaven (where all saints go upon death to be with the Lord) and the New Jerusalem, which is a physical place described in Revelation 21. Is Heaven the same thing as “My Father’s house” mentioned in John 14, or is that New Jerusalem?
Anyway, we have 1000 years of Christ reigning on earth while we ???? in our eternal bodies before the New Jerusalem shows up. When exactly are we going to judge angels? I’d rather not, TBH, but if I’m gonna do that I doubt I’ll be strumming a harp simultaneously. IMO, I think we do things at different times. But I’m not exactly certain that we’ll perceive time in a linear fashion, especially once we hit the New Jerusalem. And when does the Bema seat judgement happen? Will judgement take place in a linear fashion? Because every-word-out-of-everyone’s-mouth will take millennia, straight up.
Let’s not forget our eternal bodies. We’re going to be able to “see Him as He is” because we’re going to “be like Him”. And we know He can go through walls… as well as have a fish supper. How many dimensions is Jesus in? What will we be like? I don’t think we can get a handle on it, I think we get tiny tastes. Like the facets on a jewel… we know one little bit, but we don’t know the whole.
I think I’m good with “I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but it will be awesome”. If I get my way, I have a post-death bucket list… places I’d like to go, natural wonders I’d like to see, and a whole lot of people I’d like to sit and really talk to, for years at a time. I’d love to get to create in eternity – if I could make things for people and give them to them, that would be wonderful. I’d like to do a lot of things. I’m pretty sure God knows that…
One thing I can’t figure out in my head. I know we’re not married in Heaven, but I don’t really understand myself as separate from my husband and that will be very weird. How can I be in his presence and not his wife? I can’t wrap my head around that at *all*. (This is why, btw, divorce would be worse than death for me). Just if we’re being honest. I know God will sort it out, but from this end, I don’t get it.
Religious euphoria is something I have experienced, and it’s amazing (I have experienced it at the oddest times, like driving my car – it’s not a ‘worship’ thing necessarily). The teeny taste I’ve had of it … well, if that’s what eternity tastes like, I won’t mind the crowds. I’ll be needing a new body to stand more than a bit of it though, this one doesn’t have the carrying capacity.
And religious euphoria isn’t the same thing as the amazing feeling I get when I go to an afterglow service. That’s the felt presence of the Holy Spirit. Get that in corporate prayer meetings too. Love that, can’t get enough. I’m always surprised I’m not actually giving off light after a good prayer meeting.
Which doesn’t have much to do with my faith – I didn’t have any of that when I converted, nor has it been the momentum for the reason I have made any of the hard choices in my spiritual life. It does make me a TERRIBLE apologist, since I always know God is there, it feels a little silly to ask if He’s there or not. I try, but .. yeah. It’s me just quoting research, to be a good apologist, you have to have looked for yourself. I’ve put up my testimony, it sounds more like, “I realized I hadn’t prayed the sinner’s prayer, so I did. I was four-ish” and then, “The Holy Spirit pushed me to get baptized. So, I did. I was six.” I mean – that’s not feeling, there wasn’t an emotional swell, it was just, “I have to do this now”. -shrug-
Most of my spiritual experiences have been like that. The felt presence of God, staring at me until I did what I was supposed to do, frequently while I whined and cried and flailed about because I didn’t want to.
And this was all WAY too long for a comment, and I could go on about most of it.