Heaven - What's The Point?
A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at earth and you will get neither. (--C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity)
Following our spring Bible study on Heaven, the next question may be, “Why? It seems so far away, so far from everyday life in this world, and beyond what we can be sure of. What's the point?”
Reason #1 to imagine how Scripture describes heaven is motivation. As C.S. Lewis points out, the biblical bar is high when it comes to the standard we should be preparing for – ourselves and our world.
A destitute single mother raising several hungry youngsters in a hovel without electricity somehow retained a positive attitude. How do you face the problems you do every day in a dark little shack? she was asked. The mom answered, I seen a new world coming.
Heaven offers consolation for our suffering and our empty places. Someday the pains and injustices will be way more than balanced out. Heaven offers us perspective on our gains and treasures. Someday what seemed so valuable to struggle for will seem trivial.
Heaven offers completion. It's a let-down when a movie or story ends without a worthy conclusion (or at least one that we can understand). What would our lives mean beyond the thousands of daily repetitions and the tears, if this is all there is? And what would history mean beyond “sound and fury” – without a climax that shows why and a conclusion with a fitting pay-off? So is there judgment promised, fair and tempered with mercy. So is there graduation to a world that connects to this one, where no evil or pain is allowed, and where no hope is disappointed.
And heaven gives us an imaginable individual goal. Which, as we get it into our minds and consider it, affects us every day. Back to Mr. Lewis one more time, Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. You are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature.”