What Will Heaven Be Like?
Asking questions about Heaven may seem like asking questions about Katmandu, Kuala Lumpur, or some other exotic place you are unlikely to see firsthand—an occasion for speculation. But writing about Heaven is not really like writing about faraway places with strange-sounding names, for writing about Heaven is really writing about God.
A creation reflects a Creator and the laws of a kingdom, the ideals of the King. So asking whether we will have sex in Heaven or whether our pets will be there is really asking what kind of God we serve and what his best intentions are for our eternity.
Philosopher Peter Kreeft agreed to write this chapter because Christianity Today still capitalized Heaven (which it usually doesn't) "as if it were a real place like Boston" (which it is) "rather than a wispy abstraction like "wellness." In this essay, Kreeft addresses (often whimsically) 35 frequently asked questions about Heaven (and here Christianity Today capitalizes Heaven).
In this brief chapter I would like to attempt the impossible: to answer the 35 most frequently asked questions about Heaven. Obviously, it would take more than an article, more than a lifetime, and more than human wisdom to answer any one of these questions adequately. But "fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
More seriously, sometimes a taste can whet the appetite for more complete consumption later on, and perhaps these samples will at least suggest ways to think about the subject.
1. How do we know anything about Heaven, anyway?
If we had no "inside information," we could only speculate. Fortunately, we have some solid data to build on: divine revelation. I think God wants us to use our reason and also our imagination (for why should we neglect any God-given faculty) to explore the treasure of tantalizing hints in Scripture. To be indifferent to it is to be like the unprofitable servant who hid his master's talent in the ground.
In having this data, we are in a position very different from that of the unbeliever (or rather, the difference lies in our believing the data, for the whole human race has it; it is public). We are like the sighted compared to the blind, who can only speculate about things visible. We can do more than speculate about things invisible.
"What do you know about Heaven, anyway? Have you ever been there?" We can answer this challenge: "No, but I have a very good Friend who has. He came here and told us about it and showed it to us. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
2. Why won't we be bored in Heaven?
I suspect this question subconsciously bothers most of us more than we like to admit. I can remember having something of a crisis of faith as a child: I thought I didn't want to go to Heaven since the popular pictures of it seemed pretty boring to me.
Freud, who occasionally comes up with nuggets of wisdom sandwiched between mountains of nonsense, says that everyone needs two things to make life worth living: love and work. The two are really one, for love is a work and work is a love. Love is a work, for it is something you do, not something you just feel or fall into. And work must be a love, for if not, it is threatening and boring. What love-work will we do in Heaven, then?
We will complete the very love-works we are meant to do on Earth. There are only six things that never get boring on Earth, six things that never come to an end: knowing and loving yourself, your neighbor, and God. Since persons are subjects and not objects, they are not exhaustible; they are like magic cows that give fresh milk forever.