I have recently been looking at the attributes of heaven, and what life in heaven might really be like. I know that there are many ideas out there, but as I looked at various Bible passages, I believe that there are some misconceptions. While I realize that the final understanding about what life in heaven will be like will only really come when we finally get to be there, there are some good things to look at in Scripture.
- What will we do in heaven?
One of my former junior higher students put the question this way: "Worshipping God forever in heaven sounds boring - is it wrong to feel this? Is heaven going to be fun?" Again, the Bible doesn't tell us everything we would like to know, but of this we can be sure: Heaven won't be boring and it will be more fun than the best party you ever attended.
So what will we do for all eternity? The answer is in a couple of Biblical text.
A. We will have work to do.
The idea of working in heaven is foreign to many people. Yet Scripture clearly teaches it. When God created Adam, he "took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:15). Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of a perfect human life.
God Himself is a worker. He didn't create the world and then retire. Jesus said, "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (John 5:17). Jesus found great satisfaction in His work. "‘My food,' Jesus said, ‘is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work'" (John 4:34).
We'll also have work to do, satisfying and enriching work that we can't wait to get back to, work that'll never be drudgery. The key is we will create, accomplish, set goals and fulfill them—to God's glory.
B. We're going to help God in other ways.
Do you remember the story Jesus told about the man of noble birth who gave his servants money to invest? One servant had doubled his money so the man said, "You will rule over ten cities." The next servant had seen a 50% increase so his master said, "Rule over five cities." And the man who hid his money had even that amount taken from him in punishment (Luke 19:11-27). The story is a picture of what heaven will be like.
We will continue to use our spiritual gifts in the new heaven and the new earth. Teachers will teach, singers will sing, and just think of the flowers the botanists will study. Gifted scientists will be able to study the wonders of God's creation.
I can guarantee you this: No one will be sitting around on a cloud eating grapes and polishing his halo. No, we'll all be too busy for that.
- We will still experience emotions.
In Scripture, God is said to enjoy, love, laugh, take delight and rejoice, as well as be angry, happy, jealous and glad. To be like God means to have and express emotions. Hence, we should expect that in heaven emotions will exist for God's glory and our good.
We know that people in heaven have lots of feelings—all good ones. We're told of banquets, feasts and singing. People will laugh there (Luke 6:21). Will we cry in heaven? The Bible says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying or pain" (Revelation 21:4). These are the tears of suffering over sin and death, the tears of oppressed people, the cries of the poor, the widow, the orphaned, the unborn and the persecuted. Such crying will be no more.
We might, though, shed tears of joy. Can you imagine joy flooding your eyes as you meet Christ, for example, and as you're reunited with loved ones?
I’ll keep studying and sharing, and getting ready for that day…in the mean time, prepare yourself as well.