Investing our time, talent and treasure in Paradise is a major theme in the teaching of Christ,
Focusing on Heaven is not escapism—avoiding Heaven is escapism, because it ignores what may happen after we die. (For modern people it’s a good "resource management issue"!)
Heaven Doesn't Reflect EarthEarth Reflects Heaven
We tend to think that Heaven exists only in some shadowy, vague, diluted way. The biblical view is the opposite: every good we experience on Earth exists as a reflection in Heaven of a higher, perfected good.
For example, after death believers won't live in white light fog as a disembodied soul, but will have activated physiques, just as Jesus has a resurrected, glorified one.
Our bodies now are a mere shadow or prophetic hint of a more solid resurrection body that we will receive later, the Artist's preliminary sketch of His later masterpiece...
One reason we have lost our love for Heaven is because we have lost the sense of Heavenly glory. Biblical imagery of jewels, stars, candles, trumpets, and angels no longer fits our ranch-style, supermarket world. Pathetic modern substitutes of fluffy clouds, sexless cherubs, harps and metal halos simply do not move us... In medieval Christendom, it was the world beyond this world that made all the difference in the world to this world. Earth was Heaven's womb, Heaven's dress rehearsal. Heaven was the meaning of the Earth.
Heaven is more organic than Earth! More like an enhanced Garden of Eden. Our Christian fellowships are "neighborhoods in the New Jerusalem." (We don't have to take our metaphors about Heaven literally, but we do have to take them seriously, because they point to something more, not less, than the images they connote. )
Persons, pleasures and passions are then perfected, heightened and ordered. Kreeft again:
(Hear YouTube audio)
To think of the love that made the world, the love
that became human, suffered alienation from itself and died to save us rebels,
the love that gleams though the fanatic joy of Jesus' obedience to the will
of His Father and that shines in the eyes and lives of the saintsto
think of this love as any less passionate than our temporary and conditioned
passions 'is a most disastrous fantasy.'" And that consuming fire of
love is our destined Husband, according to His own promise. Sex in Heaven? Oh yes, and no pale, abstract, merely mental shadow of it either. Earthly
sex is the shadow, and our lives are a process of thickening so that we can
share in the substance... so that we can endure and rejoice in the Heavenly
On Its Way
Our lives should not make sense without the hope of Heaven. Can someone point to us and say "that person sacrifices things in this life because of rewards Jesus promises in the next"?
Paradise is coming. It is nearer now than when you began this article.
I am your all in all, more awesome than the most wonderful, awe-inspiring aspects of My creation. I love for you to enter into My presence in praise and thanksgiving. It is here you begin to see Me more for who I am, to glimpse the Heavenly eternal, a joyful place so far removed from the suffering and evil in the world today.
I need for the body to catch sight, to taste the greatness that is yours in Christ Jesus your savior and lover and protector of your soul. When you sense where you stand in My eyes, you will know you are loved to the core of your being.
I am so much a part of you: your next breath, your next step, inhabiting your thoughts, reaching to the essence of who you really are. For I created you to be loved by Me in a way you couldn't possibly know in earthly measures. Once you have tasted the love I have for you, you will always yearn for more of Me. And I will keep filling you until the day I call you home.
Until then, I am with you always, loving you and longing for
you to come and be filled with more of My Spirit here and now, so much so
that you will be no stranger to Heaven when you arrive.