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mikebr
Oct 17th 2007, 02:45 AM
The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever say, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?

a quote by John Piper

DaveS
Oct 17th 2007, 03:59 AM
No. Here's why.

Heaven (and all that that implies) is not merely, or even primarily, a place where all the pleasures listed above are present. Heaven, first and foremost, is a place where God is glorified. And as a human being and a creature of the Creator, the glorification of God not only is my fullest pleasure, but without it, no other pleasures exist.

If Jesus Christ were not part of the eternal equation that would mean that heaven was somehow achieved without Him being necessary. Which would mean that heaven happened under the rule of an unjust God; a God who allowed sinners (like myself) to be vindicated without due payment and without justice having been satisfied.

A Heaven without Christ would be the product of the most heinous injustice imaginable, that of sin eternally unrecompensed; a place where God Himself was proven a liar and a fraud, and thus the source and totality of our own existence proven wholly vain and without any true purpose at all.

In other words, a Heaven without Christ would be Hell.

Steven3
Oct 17th 2007, 04:31 AM
a quote by John PiperSorry, but who is John Piper? Is he making the point that the NT teaches that Christ is coming down to earth not people going up? Or is it some other point?

:)

ProjectPeter
Oct 17th 2007, 03:39 PM
Sorry, but who is John Piper? Is he making the point that the NT teaches that Christ is coming down to earth not people going up? Or is it some other point?

:)
I think he is simply trying to get folks to come face to face with some realities. Where is their love... all the stuff... or Christ Himself. ;)

TrustGzus
Oct 17th 2007, 05:05 PM
Sorry, but who is John Piper?
http://www.desiringgod.org/

That's Piper's website.

Whispering Grace
Oct 17th 2007, 05:09 PM
I'd leave all that other stuff and just take Jesus Christ. :)

If I spent eternity at the feet of the Lord Jesus doing nothing else but worshiping Him, I'd be one happy person.

Frances
Oct 17th 2007, 05:14 PM
No where would be Heaven without Jesus Christ. I agree with DaveS.

Semi-tortured
Oct 17th 2007, 06:57 PM
No. Christ is our creator and we are inherently filled with a desire to know our meaning and creator. Some people fool themselves into thinking they are alone because they don't want to face their creator. The hole that allows us to feel pain and weakness and feel fear and doubt is due to the fact that we are physically seperated from our creator. We can't gaze upon Him and talk to Him

Transversely, I think Whispering Grace takes it too far with the assertion that she'd give up everything else and be happy worshipping Christ at His feet for eternity. This could be Satan deceiving me with what I'm about to say, so if it is please jump in and correct me.

I believe God created this planet for us and he created others for us. For heaven to be heaven I think it has to have Christ, but other humans as well. It has to have natural beauties and attraction. To deny that these things aren't needed for there to be a heaven is to deny what God made in us. God said His creation was VERY good only after there were animals, beautiful wonders and multiple humans. We are created in God's image which I believe is what gives us our appreciation of beauty, of each other, etc. God created us to glorify Him. One of the main ways he gives as an example of glorifying Him is to love othrs and treat others well. Heaven is this earth without pain, suffering, sin, etc and with our Creator finally with us and dwelling with us. I believe that for heaven to be heaven, all those things must be present because when God created us, He created us with that tpye of spirit.

Toolman
Oct 17th 2007, 07:16 PM
God created 2 loves to be fulfilled within us.

To love God above all things, with all of our being.

And to love our fellow humans just as much as we love ourselves (and as much as Christ loves them).

I would not be satisfied if both of those loves went unfulfilled, because that is the what God created me to be.

So a "heaven" without Christ would be unsatisfying. A "heaven" without my fellow humans would be equally as unsatisfying.

Paul also speaks of creations longing for redemption and how we ourselves groan waiting for redemption (Romans 8), so I think a "heaven" that still had the ills (sickness, death, etc.) of our current fallen world would also be unsatisfying.

So, IMO, the question is somewhat loaded. I get what Piper's trying to say but I don't think the question holds up under biblical scrutiny.

My 2c.

Semi-tortured
Oct 17th 2007, 07:29 PM
God created 2 loves to be fulfilled within us.

To love God above all things, with all of our being.

And to love our fellow humans just as much as we love ourselves (and as much as Christ loves them).

I would not be satisfied if both of those loves went unfulfilled, because that is the what God created me to be.

So a "heaven" without Christ would be unsatisfying. A "heaven" without my fellow humans would be equally as unsatisfying.

Paul also speaks of creations longing for redemption and how we ourselves groan waiting for redemption (Romans 8), so I think a "heaven" that still had the ills (sickness, death, etc.) of our current fallen world would also be unsatisfying.

So, IMO, the question is somewhat loaded. I get what Piper's trying to say but I don't think the question holds up under biblical scrutiny.

My 2c.

That's kinda what I was saying in regards to Whispering Grace's comment. It's my opinion and I hope I'm right and not being led astray.

It is a loaded question which makes it seem like it's one or the other. There's also the question of whether or not that world or heaven he's describing is where I go when I die or one where I was put there from my conception. Either way, I would still have a hole in my heart as my purpose of knowing my creator and why I was created would be a mystery.

always
Oct 17th 2007, 07:40 PM
I'd leave all that other stuff and just take Jesus Christ. :)

If I spent eternity at the feet of the Lord Jesus doing nothing else but worshiping Him, I'd be one happy person.


Actually I agree with this, because of this reason

Matt 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Jesus, is saying that we must not put anything before the kingdom of God, and likewise before HIM.

There is not friend like Jesus, there is not a blessing(happiness) that comes from anyone like they come from Jesus.

I truly could sit at his feet alone and be satisfied

Whispering Grace
Oct 17th 2007, 07:42 PM
So a "heaven" without Christ would be unsatisfying. A "heaven" without my fellow humans would be equally as unsatisfying.



Toolman, you know I love ya, man, but I can't for the life of me ever fathom thinking heaven with Christ alone would be unsatisfying. The thought makes me shudder!

Does that mean I don't love my fellow man? Of course not. But to say Christ is not all-satisfying truly boggles my mind.

Semi-tortured
Oct 17th 2007, 07:52 PM
Actually I agree with this, because of this reason

Matt 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Jesus, is saying that we must not put anything before the kingdom of God, and likewise before HIM.

There is not friend like Jesus, there is not a blessing(happiness) that comes from anyone like they come from Jesus.

I truly could sit at his feet alone and be satisfied

I think you are taking that verse out of context from what Whispering Grace said. I believe that you put God first and there is no thing or person on this planet that I could not walk away from without thinking twice if I felt compelled to do so by God. What Toolman and I seem to be saying is full human satisfaction needs others. Jesus could find a way to fill that satisfaction because he is God and can do anything, but the way we are presently constructed in our souls, we have a need for our fellow man because that's how God created us. It was more a comment on the question being loaded and slightly confrontational in a way where it makes you feel guilty if you have love for things on this earth you should minimize that love to nothing and think only of Christ. Truth be told, many of God's commands require us to think about our neighbors and think about them a lot.

Toolman
Oct 17th 2007, 08:02 PM
Toolman, you know I love ya, man, but I can't for the life of me ever fathom thinking heaven with Christ alone would be unsatisfying. The thought makes me shudder!

Does that mean I don't love my fellow man? Of course not. But to say Christ is not all-satisfying truly boggles my mind.

I understand WG and you know I love you also :)

Christ is all satisfying and it is actually Him who gave us others to love and redemption to joy in, so that is why I say Piper's question is somewhat loaded. The loadedness of the question leads to a dichotomy that is not in scripture.

But here is how I perceive things:

When I see my fellow man, I see Jesus. I see the connectedness that God has created in us, that we truly are ONE Body... HIS BODY!

So, a "heaven" where Jesus' Body is missing would not be a "heaven" to me. It would be incomplete and I think Jesus would agree, since its His Body :)

Likewise, a "heaven" that is still plagued with sickness, death and sin would be unsatisfying as the redemption of Christ would be incomplete. I think Jesus would fully agree (Paul said as much in Romans 8).

To me it seems selfish to say that I could be satisfied with just me and Jesus in heaven. I would desire for others to experience Him in His fullness and knowing they were not would not be satisfying to me. I long for others to know Him and I look forward to when His redemption is complete and that longing will be satisfied :)

For me to "have Jesus all to myself" would be selfish. That is my personal conviction.

It seems to me that both Paul and Moses shared my sentiment, in wishing themselves cursed that others might know Him. Its not centered on what I can get but concerned with others.

To make certain dichotomies between Jesus and the people Jesus loves and the redemption He purchased with His blood is IMO a futile endeavor. But that may just be me :)

Whispering Grace
Oct 17th 2007, 08:08 PM
I never said I desire to have Jesus all to myself. I long for others to glory in Him as I do.

always
Oct 17th 2007, 08:09 PM
I think you are taking that verse out of context from what Whispering Grace said. I believe that you put God first and there is no thing or person on this planet that I could not walk away from without thinking twice if I felt compelled to do so by God. What Toolman and I seem to be saying is full human satisfaction needs others. Jesus could find a way to fill that satisfaction because he is God and can do anything, but the way we are presently constructed in our souls, we have a need for our fellow man because that's how God created us. It was more a comment on the question being loaded and slightly confrontational in a way where it makes you feel guilty if you have love for things on this earth you should minimize that love to nothing and think only of Christ. Truth be told, many of God's commands require us to think about our neighbors and think about them a lot.


I don't believe that! Jesus is all I need, now the human flesh WANTS, companionship but need??????????????? as in spiritually?

Toolman
Oct 17th 2007, 08:30 PM
I never said I desire to have Jesus all to myself. I long for others to glory in Him as I do.

Well, as I said the question Piper asked is somewhat loaded and leads to confusion (as we can see :)). The apostles, in preaching the Gospel, never used a question like this. I think Piper should take note ;)

What you said was:

Toolman, you know I love ya, man, but I can't for the life of me ever fathom thinking heaven with Christ alone would be unsatisfying

A heaven with Christ ALONE indicates in my funky brain that you have Jesus all to yourself. That's just how it reads to me. I never doubted your love for others but was just sharing how I perceive the Piper question.

Now, if you (and I) have a longing (a desire) for others to glory in Him as we do and in "heaven" we find that others are not glorying in Him as we do would our desire be satisfied or unsatisfied?

Since, I believe Christ is the One who put the desire in our heart I don't believe we can be satisfied until His plan of redemption is complete. Paul says that exact thing in Romans 8 that we groan within ourselves waiting for redemptions completion.

But, as I said, this is my conviction and if others do not share it I'm ok with that :)

Toolman
Oct 17th 2007, 08:51 PM
I don't believe that! Jesus is all I need, now the human flesh WANTS, companionship but need??????????????? as in spiritually?

It is not the human flesh that needs others but it is the Spirit of God that has created our need for one another:

1 Cor. 12:
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Steven3
Oct 18th 2007, 12:25 AM
Supposing the Bible did promise (pace Ps115) that man could go to heaven, even with Jesus being there, isn't there another problem? We'd be up there watching our friends neighbours, children, grandchildren down here continue to sin, continue to be sinned against, suffer, be sick, here on earth. Would we enjoy that? Is watching powerless to help all the war and famine continue paradise?

Personally the idea of going to heaven has nothing for me at all. If I was offered I wouldn't want it. In fact I pray to God that I never go to heaven. :(
God bless
Steven

ProjectPeter
Oct 18th 2007, 12:28 AM
Supposing the Bible did promise (pace Ps115) that man could go to heaven, even with Jesus being there, isn't there another problem? We'd be up there watching our friends neighbours, children, grandchildren down here continue to sin, continue to be sinned against, suffer, be sick, here on earth. Would we enjoy that? Is watching powerless to help all the war and famine continue paradise?

Personally the idea of going to heaven has nothing for me at all. If I was offered I wouldn't want it. In fact I pray to God that I never go to heaven. :(
God bless
Steven
I have to ask... huh?

ProjectPeter
Oct 18th 2007, 12:29 AM
I am also thinking... many of you here are totally missing the point of what Piper said!!!! WoW!

Semi-tortured
Oct 18th 2007, 01:13 AM
I am also thinking... many of you here are totally missing the point of what Piper said!!!! WoW!


I get what he was saying. He's asking what the most imoportant thing to us in heaven will be because that tells us what our main focus is. The problem is people can take this question to different places, hence the loaded question comment.

Steven3
Oct 18th 2007, 01:43 AM
Hi ProjectPeter :)
I have to ask... huh?Nothing too original. Just that me going to heaven won't do anything for the rest of God's offspring will it? Also I'm not sure I'd enjoy having even less power to do anything about it than I have now. So on balance, thanks, but no thanks.
God bless
Steven

SemperReformanda
Oct 18th 2007, 01:45 AM
Supposing the Bible did promise (pace Ps115) that man could go to heaven, even with Jesus being there, isn't there another problem? We'd be up there watching our friends neighbours, children, grandchildren down here continue to sin, continue to be sinned against, suffer, be sick, here on earth. Would we enjoy that? Is watching powerless to help all the war and famine continue paradise?

Personally the idea of going to heaven has nothing for me at all. If I was offered I wouldn't want it. In fact I pray to God that I never go to heaven. :(
God bless
Steven
As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
(Psalms 68:2-3)

Toolman
Oct 18th 2007, 02:03 AM
As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
(Psalms 68:2-3)

SR,

Were you once counted among the wicked?

SemperReformanda
Oct 18th 2007, 02:14 AM
SR,

Were you once counted among the wicked?
Of course, brother.

I posted that Psalm to illustrate that God's judgement on the wicked will in no way make heaven an unpleasant place to be, as Steve was implying.

Steven3
Oct 18th 2007, 04:04 AM
Hi SemperReformanda :)
Of course, brother.

I posted that Psalm to illustrate that God's judgement on the wicked will in no way make heaven an unpleasant place to be, as Steve was implying.I'm probably missing something, I often do, but why would God judging the wicked make heaven any better? Is that future, or happening today? Do people in heaven today look down and see God judging the wicked and take comfort? I'm assuming, so by all means correct me, that the view of the earth from heaven is much like the view from CNN, except with less power to do anything about it.
God bless
Steven

SemperReformanda
Oct 18th 2007, 04:16 AM
Hi SemperReformanda :)I'm probably missing something, I often do, but why would God judging the wicked make heaven any better? Is that future, or happening today? Do people in heaven today look down and see God judging the wicked and take comfort? I'm assuming, so by all means correct me, that the view of the earth from heaven is much like the view from CNN, except with less power to do anything about it.
God bless
Steven
Hi Steven.
I am unaware of any Biblical evidence that would suggest that anybody currently in heaven is "watching on" as things occur in time, and I do not take that position. I believe that those who are currently with Christ are not "looking down on us" in any way whatsoever.

I quoted the Psalm in an eschatological sense. On the final day, when God judges the wicked, it will be a joyous occasion for the righteous. Will it be joyous because the wicked are "Getting what they deserve"? No. It will be joyous because our sovereign creator God is expressing His character fully. He will be destroying evil and death, finally.

Now, moving on from that, we can infer that any worries or memories about worldly turmoil, sin or sadness pale to insignificance compared to the joys currently experienced by those who have departed to be with Christ.

God's judgement on sin is totally righteous. As Christians, when we see God judging the world in anger, we should understand that He is good, and He is in control, and moving all things for the good of those who love Him.

Steven3
Oct 18th 2007, 07:38 AM
Hi SemperReformanda :)
Hi Steven.
I am unaware of any Biblical evidence that would suggest that anybody currently in heaven is "watching on" as things occur in time, and I do not take that position. I believe that those who are currently with Christ are not "looking down on us" in any way whatsoever.But given that there's no Biblical evidence of anyone being in heaven at all, and no verses about life in heaven, surely then it's legitimate to construct our own imagination of what it must be like? For example Heb 12:1 speaks of "a cloud of witnesses", and this verse is often taken as being about the departed in heaven literally "witnessing" what happens on earth. Likewise "the souls under the altar" and the "144,000" in Revelation are usually taken literally to be about literal souls and literal 144,000 in heaven - who appear to literally have cognisance of what's happening on earth. I do not personally believe such literalism is required (I'd read Heb12:1 to include Abel witnessing by his blood, not after his death, and so on) but most folks do read it that way - that the witnesses in Heb 12:1 are literally souls witnessing what happens below on earth.


I quoted the Psalm in an eschatological sense. On the final day, when God judges the wicked, Ah, okay. Makes sense. I thought you meant it was related to the present.


Now, moving on from that, we can infer that any worries or memories about worldly turmoil, sin or sadness pale to insignificance compared to the joys currently experienced by those who have departed to be with Christ.Depends. If it was me I'd still care what happened on earth. Christ, apparently can look down on earth and cares. So why should the Heb 12:1 "cloud of witnesses" not be allowed to witness what is happening if they are literally now alive in heaven?


God's judgement on sin is totally righteous. As Christians, when we see God judging the world in anger, we should understand that He is good, and He is in control, and moving all things for the good of those who love Him.Fully agreed. But whether alive down here able to play a part in that, or up in heaven unable to play a part, we should have some work/role to play in that, yes? Surely we are more use to God on earth than in heaven? Unless of course the RC church is right and the saints in heaven have certain intercessory powers as angels.

I'm just trying to work through the logic and consequences of being in heaven...
God bless
Steven

Brother Mark
Oct 18th 2007, 11:16 AM
A few thoughts...

1. God said it wasn't good for man to be alone when man was perfect. So being alone is not what God intends for us.

2. All my dreams without Jesus are as dung. Been there done that. It is empty. Or as Jesus said "is not life more than these". I have had success and failure. I would rather have failure in this life with Christ than success without Him. I can't explain it. But without Jesus, life is meaningless.

3. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Blessings!

Brother Mark
Oct 18th 2007, 11:18 AM
Hi SemperReformanda :)But given that there's no Biblical evidence of anyone being in heaven at all, and no verses about life in heaven, surely then it's legitimate to construct our own imagination of what it must be like? For example Heb 12:1 speaks of "a cloud of witnesses", and this verse is often taken as being about the departed in heaven literally "witnessing" what happens on earth. Likewise "the souls under the altar" and the "144,000" in Revelation are usually taken literally to be about literal souls and literal 144,000 in heaven - who appear to literally have cognisance of what's happening on earth. I do not personally believe such literalism is required (I'd read Heb12:1 to include Abel witnessing by his blood, not after his death, and so on) but most folks do read it that way - that the witnesses in Heb 12:1 are literally souls witnessing what happens below on earth.

Hi Steven. Many take the passage in Hebrews to mean they are a witness to us not that they are witnessing events here.

But if the throne of God is in heaven, then Revelations suggest people are in heaven with him.

Rev 7:9-12

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

"Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,
NASB

Toolman
Oct 18th 2007, 01:55 PM
Of course, brother.

I posted that Psalm to illustrate that God's judgement on the wicked will in no way make heaven an unpleasant place to be, as Steve was implying.

I understand my reformed brother. My point is that you (your "old man") also were amongst the wicked at one time until God destroyed you and birthed a "new man" which is righteous and will live forever.

So, my point is don't limit the grace of God. Where sin abounds grace does much more abound.

God has NO pleasure in the death of the wicked but that they repent and live. Will He not accomplish all His good pleasure? If God was able to translate your wicked self into His righteous kingdom is He not able to do the same for other "wicked"?

God's attributes of justice and love are not in opposition to one another but are harmonious and working together in God's plan of redemption.

That is what I see in the text anyway :)

always
Oct 18th 2007, 07:20 PM
Wow, who would have thunk that this thread would have gone on this long:o

My goodness, we've gone from totally not being enthused about meeting our saviour in heaven, to not really wanting to be in heaven.

not a loaded question, but maybe one of those foolish questions we're told to avoid.

2Titus 2:3 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

since there would be no heaven without Jesus, and Jesus abides in us, and if he abides in us in heaven I would only want Jesus

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 18th 2007, 07:32 PM
Another twist on this is...

Would you want to be in heaven if you found out that you had to be eternal roommates with Hitler, Marlyn Manson, and the guy who stole your girlfriend and beat you up in the 7th grade?

Toolman
Oct 18th 2007, 07:39 PM
Another twist on this is...

Would you want to be in heaven if you found out that you had to be eternal roommates with Hitler, Marlyn Manson, and the guy who stole your girlfriend and beat you up in the 7th grade?

Or even better.. would you want to be in a heaven where you were allowed in by grace but others were kept out, like Hitler, MM and the guy who stole your girlfriend.

I'd be ok with any of those people as roommates in "heaven" because nothing undefiled can enter therein.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 18th 2007, 07:51 PM
Or even better.. would you want to be in a heaven where you were allowed in by grace but others were kept out, like Hitler, MM and the guy who stole your girlfriend.

I'd be ok with any of those people as roommates in "heaven" because nothing undefiled can enter therein.

Right. :D

Just like we all know that heaven without Jesus is actually called hell.

:saint:

Toolman
Oct 18th 2007, 07:55 PM
Right. :D

Just like we all know that heaven without Jesus is actually called hell.

:saint:

Right... hence the goofiness of the question in the 1st place :)

Whispering Grace
Oct 18th 2007, 07:57 PM
Another twist on this is...

Would you want to be in heaven if you found out that you had to be eternal roommates with Hitler, Marlyn Manson, and the guy who stole your girlfriend and beat you up in the 7th grade?

Wouldn't bother me a bit.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 18th 2007, 07:59 PM
Right... hence the goofiness of the question in the 1st place :)

Well for you and me yeah. I wouldn't say goofiness though, I would say obvious. But a very serious one to others.

:D

Whispering Grace
Oct 18th 2007, 07:59 PM
Or even better.. would you want to be in a heaven where you were allowed in by grace but others were kept out, like Hitler, MM and the guy who stole your girlfriend.



Wouldn't bother me a bit.

SemperReformanda
Oct 18th 2007, 11:22 PM
But given that there's no Biblical evidence of anyone being in heaven at all, and no verses about life in heaven, surely then it's legitimate to construct our own imagination of what it must be like?
Well, I disagree. Let's have a look at the Scriptural evidence:

And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
(Luk 23:43)

I know, the whole comma thing is a bit of an issue. However, I think this problem is easily overcome through two points:

1. In the gospel of Luke, of the seven times Jesus says "Truly, I say to you" (4:24, 12:37, 12:44, 18:17, 18:29, 21:32, and here), this is the only time he adds "today". If he really were saying "Truly, I say to you today", then there would be far more evidence of this in the rest of the gospel. The word "Today" is not even added to the end of any "Truly I say to you" in any other instance of the phrase in the New Testament! That is 72 times, by the way.

2. Even if point 1 were to be proven false, there is the argument from necessity. Jesus, dying on the cross, did not mince his words. Here is a man slowly suffocating after being tortured, skinned, and hung from a piece of wood. Would he engage in unnecessary, trivial additions to sentences such as "today"? Of course he is talking "today"!

Secondly, we have evidence from Ecclesiastes:

...the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
(Ecc 12:7)

And 2 Corinthians:

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
(2Co 5:8)

Philippians:

I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
(Php 1:23)


For example Heb 12:1 speaks of "a cloud of witnesses", and this verse is often taken as being about the departed in heaven literally "witnessing" what happens on earth.
Sorry, you've lost me there. The Greek word used there, μάρτυς, pretty much means "Martyr". The word "witness" means the same thing as martyr, and that means witness in the evidential sense, which would fit with the context (read through Hebrews 11). The martyrs in Hebrews 11 bear witness to the better covenant which they were awaiting.


Likewise "the souls under the altar" and the "144,000" in Revelation are usually taken literally to be about literal souls and literal 144,000 in heaven - who appear to literally have cognisance of what's happening on earth. I do not personally believe such literalism is required (I'd read Heb12:1 to include Abel witnessing by his blood, not after his death, and so on) but most folks do read it that way - that the witnesses in Heb 12:1 are literally souls witnessing what happens below on earth.
Oh... well... it looks like we agree then!


Depends. If it was me I'd still care what happened on earth. Christ, apparently can look down on earth and cares. So why should the Heb 12:1 "cloud of witnesses" not be allowed to witness what is happening if they are literally now alive in heaven?
See above. We have no reason to think that they do.


Fully agreed. But whether alive down here able to play a part in that, or up in heaven unable to play a part, we should have some work/role to play in that, yes? Surely we are more use to God on earth than in heaven? Unless of course the RC church is right and the saints in heaven have certain intercessory powers as angels.
Hebrews talks about the rest that remains for the people of God. It also teaches that Christ's presence is that rest, the place where all the work is finished. No more work to do. There is a role to play, though, and that is singing with the creatures and the elders and the angels in Revelation 5.


I'm just trying to work through the logic and consequences of being in heaven...
God bless
Steven
John Piper does a fantastic series called "What happens when you die?" If you are up for some passionate, Biblical preaching, check it out here (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/BySeries/74/).


I understand my reformed brother. My point is that you (your "old man") also were amongst the wicked at one time until God destroyed you and birthed a "new man" which is righteous and will live forever.

So, my point is don't limit the grace of God. Where sin abounds grace does much more abound.

God has NO pleasure in the death of the wicked but that they repent and live. Will He not accomplish all His good pleasure? If God was able to translate your wicked self into His righteous kingdom is He not able to do the same for other "wicked"?

God's attributes of justice and love are not in opposition to one another but are harmonious and working together in God's plan of redemption.

That is what I see in the text anyway :)
I agree with you... I don't know where I disagreed :dunno:

Steven3
Oct 19th 2007, 06:20 AM
Hi Always
My goodness, we've gone from totally not being enthused about meeting our saviour in heaven, to not really wanting to be in heaven.Yes, well one of the reasons for that is that if we go up there after he's come back here, he wouldn't be up there, and our insistence on getting into heaven would mean missing being with him on earth.

Hi SemperReformanda :)

Well, I disagree. Let's have a look at the Scriptural evidenceYou're welcome to disagree. The vast majority of good Christians believe in heaven-going. Nevertheless as you say Luke23:43, Ecc12:7, 2Co5:8, Php1:23 are, some of them, I'd say all, verses capable of more than one translation. Not everyone takes them as contradicting the rest of OT and NT teaching that the hope is resurrection at the day of Christ. I'm not going to address those verses here, as if I do the next verses up will probaly be Samuel's ghost, Enoch being moved, and Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration ;). By all means, let anyone who wants to know what these verses mean search the forum for threads where they are discussed in detail. That's what 'search' is for, bon chance.

But back to "Heaven without Jesus", the OP, and Heb12:1. As I said I don't personally think dead people can "witness" anything from heaven, because I don't believe dead people go to heaven (John 3:13, Acts 2:34, Ps6:5, Ps115 etc etc etc etc), but if they do, then why can they not witness whats happening on earth. Why can Jesus see the suffering in the Third World but the saints are banned from watching - seems to me that EO and RC teaching about heaven is more consistent than this (new to me) idea that the saints are blindfolded or kept in the dark in heaven. Where's the verse that says people in heaven can't see what's happening on earth?
God bless
Steven

SemperReformanda
Oct 19th 2007, 11:12 PM
I should probably make it clear that in no way do I believe that the great Christian hope is the return of Jesus in glory. Those who have died and gone to be with Him will also be there.

God bless.

Steven3
Oct 20th 2007, 02:14 AM
Hi SR :)
I should probably make it clear that in no way do I believe that the great Christian hope is the return of Jesus in glory. Those who have died and gone to be with Him will also be there.

God bless.Ah, yes, I admit I was assuming that. Fair enough, if Jesus is never coming again to do anything about sin, death, injustice or suffering on earth then it makes perfect sense for those souls in heaven to not look down at what's happening earth and not be concerned. It also makes perfect sense for souls to go direct to heaven if there is no return and hence no resurrection when Christ returns.

Each to his own I guess.
Take care and God bless
Steven

ikester7579
Oct 20th 2007, 12:11 PM
Wow, who would have thunk that this thread would have gone on this long:o

My goodness, we've gone from totally not being enthused about meeting our saviour in heaven, to not really wanting to be in heaven.

not a loaded question, but maybe one of those foolish questions we're told to avoid.

2Titus 2:3 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

since there would be no heaven without Jesus, and Jesus abides in us, and if he abides in us in heaven I would only want Jesus

:agree: People seem to want their sin along with their salvation. So they want a little hell in heaven. But because God is no respector of persons, He can only give one deal, or He has to give all the same deal. So if one sin is allowed to "exist" and be "committed" in heaven. Then "all" sin has to exist and be "committed" in heaven.

Heaven is a promotion to rightousness and holiness. It is not going to be the same as life as we know it here on earth. This is why God's word says:

mt 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.