Reverse Engineering Heaven March 2018
Reverse Engineering is the art of finding what makes up something by taking it apart. In the industrial world it is used all the time. Chefs try to figure out the components of a recipe. Doctors look into a microscope to see all that is going on in our blood stream and sometimes our tissues. They each find a little of this and a little of that. Occasionally they find a lack of one thing or another when logic says something should be there.
C.S. Lewis points out that Heaven is a reverential euphemism in Hebrew for God. By this he meant that when you could not mention the powerful name of God, you could mention His realm. We struggle to put understandable physical characteristics on Heaven so that we can grasp its meaning for us. Harps, buffets, clouds, houses, streets of gold, colors of the rainbow, and the sounds of angels rejoicing make up only a fraction of the list of material things we use in this attempt. Those and all the rest miss the mark entirely.
Starting with God himself let us look at who He is. He is love as evidenced in John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will live forever. We know that those who God accepts and those who have sought that acceptance will live forever in a place that we call Heaven. God lives there. He is the Landlord of the place. Even that title fails to convey all that the term means. Heaven literally is God in a place. When we understand His love, we should know that nothing else is necessary to sustain a joyful life forever.
The chimney is a relatively new invention and had a profound influence on the development of hotels and what we call home these days. The first evidence of one was in the Year of our Lord 1185 at Conisbrough Castle in Yorkshire. Before the chimney, you went to a central room where a fire was built in the middle of the home. Most of the smoke went out through a hole in the roof. When you were on the road, you went to an inn. The term inn meant sleeping inside as opposed to being out in the weather. There you would find a warm fire. Hotel rates were determined by how close you got to sleep near the fire. On the outer fringes it could still be cool, but it was better than being outside. The more you paid, the closer you were able to be to the warmth of the fire.
Heaven has no hearths, but perhaps it is the proximity to God and God’s love that is relative to this example. When I think of rewards in Heaven, my mind tells me that those compensations become an extension of how you sought His love during your life on this earth, during this physical lifetime. If you wanted it here, then how much more would you want it There. You pay here through a variety of means to be closer to God when you go into Heaven, when you go into Him.
Remember, we will be purely spirit at that time. Our physical nature will be gone. Only the spirit will remain as it approaches the One who created it and everything else. He said through Saint John in Revelations 21:6 – “He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.”