Monday, November 30, 2009

Where Exactly is Heaven and How Do I Get There?

How do we possibly describe in words something as other worldly as heaven is? Yet, we’re confused as to how complex we make the task. God has us simply conjuring the present; it’s a heaven in our midst.

Psalm 73 is a particularly special psalm, though they’re probably all special for some reason or other. It’s a lament where the psalmist is seriously questioning the validity of faith to produce a blessing from God (v. 13). But it’s verse 25 that has me most captivated, specifically as it relates to “heaven.” I have written on it previously.

“Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

—Psalm 73:25 (TNIV).

We’d expect to find God in heaven. And I wonder when part B of this verse is explored in context with part A whether we can draw the following conclusion: heaven is a place on earth (as well as being a destination to come) regarding our experiences of God here and now; and, if we desire God above all else, does that get us any closer?

What did Jesus say about heaven and eternal life? Well, we know that it’s in John’s gospel that he mentions the concept of eternal life the most, and I believe this is the best, clearest indication below:

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

—John 17:3 (NIV).

Eternal life is there defined. The key word is “know,” in the sense that knowledge is full in texture; it is “growing experience” implied through relationship.[1] And this knowledge enabled in relationship is not saved for some day post-death in the future; it’s a present-day reality—yes, even to-day if we wish it so.

‘Eternal life’ seems to mean here a relational knowledge of God through his Son, Jesus Christ, that provides a superior, even abundant, quality of life, now.[2]

So, it remains: are heaven and eternal life one and the same thing? For my simple mind it appears so. We can’t have either without actually knowing God and his Son. And this knowledge is a growing, vibrant knowledge. It’s to know God personally; Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One: God.

So, it is a logical conclusion that both eternal life and heaven exist both now and to come.

Heaven: it’s right on our doorstep. Listen up, hear the knock?

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] R. V. G. Tasker, John – An Introduction and Commentary (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1960), p. 191.

[2] Eugene H. Merrill, The Gospels – The Bible Knowledge Word Study series (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Cook Communications Ministries, 2002), p. 362.

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