Day 2, Chapter 7, ‘Harps and Clouds’
In this chapter Wolfe looks at how cultural misconceptions about heaven can hinder positive conceptions of it. The chapter made me reflect on experiences in evangelism, particularly with people who live comfortably now, who cannot conceive that heaven would be particularly interesting or exciting for them. This life is the good life and, in fact, it is the only life.
The main problem, as Wolfe admits, is that we have limited biblical knowledge of what heaven is like (heaven both now and the new creation) that we cannot easily answer questions raised about what it will be like.
Wolfe, though, suggests that it is beneficial for us to speculate, to use our imagination, always looking to the Bible as the starting point for this. He cites the Old Testament prophets as examples of this, Isaiah’s picture of the new creation in Isaiah 65, as utilising Isaiah’s life and world to give a glimpse as to what heaven may be like.
He also ties this idea to his overall thesis: that heavenly-mindedness means we have a better focus in living now,
Think of it: if eternal life will fully engage us, mind and body, as we live on glorified solid ground, then meditating upon the glories of that world will give us a renewed- not diminished- appreciation for mind-and-body, solid-ground life in the present. Such meditations, instead of distracting us from earthly concerns, serve to remind us of the goodness of creation as the home of humankind and of the responsibility we bear to make the most if it accordingly. (p. 113)
This is certainly something that C.S. Lewis indulged in in The Last Battle in the ‘Narnia’ series of books. I remember the picture of heaven in that book as quickening my spiritual desire for God and for living for Him and looking forward to heaven when I was younger.
It is something that I need to be reminded of and engage with as an adult.
What spiritual poverty do I allow myself to live in when I am so downcast by the brokenness of this world and forget that Christ will come again to redeem all of creation? What little comfort do I allow myself when I ‘miss out’ on experiences, forgetting that they are but a poor shadow of what is to come? What a fool I have become to believe that the experiences, the enjoyments of this world are all there is, are as good as it gets!