Misrepresentations of Heaven?
A man died and passed on to the hereafter. He opened his eyes and realized that he was hungry. When he asked for food he was presented a table filled with his favorite foods. After eating to the fill he said he'd like to play a round of golf. He was immediately given the most lovely, professional set of golf clubs But a while after this game he admitted that he was bored again. So now he was taken to a large theater with all the popular films and many other entertainment's.
After days of this royal treatment he finally exclaimed in exasperation, "I rather be in hell!"
And on saying that he heard a loud, menacing voice booming "Just where do you think you are? Heaven is not about stuff !"
Heaven is about God. How often do we hear stories about mansions on streets of gold? Wild animals as our personal pets? Don't you think that God describes the streets paved with gold to demonstrate his disappointment in human values that elevate simple stones and metals to immense personal importance? And wouldn't actual mansions insulate humanity from complete interaction with all persons? Oh yes, we declare that talking with Jesus will be the highest joy in heaven. But isn't a conversion between ourselves and Jesus himself the ultimate in elevation of self? We discuss the joy in talking with Moses, Abraham, the apostles John and Paul, the mother of Jesus, Mary. But humans aren't omnipresent and never will be. How long will it be before we have the opportunity to personally talk with Jesus' mother? And how much longer to talk with all of the primary persons we read about in the Bible?
I would think that mansions in heaven would perhaps be grand but in other respects like row houses. Everyone lives equal. Early Christians frequently chose this lifestyle of equality. They chose a lifestyle closer that that of socialism than of capitalism. That turns off modern citizens in our modern world. And I agree that perhaps in a world of sin that capitalism may actually elevate the lives of privileged citizens, both upper and middle class persons. But when Jesus says that the lowliest will be invited to the head of the table, how could the righteous ever value elevating themselves? Or even feel worthy of elevationů Christians look for the good in others, work to achieve group success over personal achievement and recognition. How could it be different in heaven?
I imagine that as in Eden, homes will be indistinguishable much like cities in metropolitan suburbs. We drive from one city to another without knowing it unless we see the city welcoming sign. And perhaps we will have personal welcoming signs but otherwise my mansion will likely be simple and much like yours. I will enjoy visiting with you as much as with Moses. And although I am not a particularly social person by nature and am often blank when conversation lags, you will probably enjoy visiting with me. If I must visit with heavenly celebrities in order to experience contentment then I probably won't be there.
The words we rely on to envision what heaven will be like were meant, I believe, to suggest the wonders of joy abundant to all. But we must remember that
Heaven is about God!
Our personal and lifestyle values declare to those around us whether or not we will be bored in the hereafter. Or more to the point, since Seventh-day Adventists don't believe that the wicked will experience an eternal living hell, whether or not be will enjoy the wonderful simplicity and equality of heaven.