I came across an internet discussion about Heaven regarding the promises made in the Bible about the hereafter for the Christian. Included in the exchange were accusations by non-Believers about the monotony of God’s Kingdom. “After a trillion years,” said one entry, “a person would HAVE to have gone through every possible event or activity in the universe. You WILL have repetitive boredom.” Another comment referred to the lack of negatives:
“…for instance, you couldn’t play sports in Heaven. Someone would have to lose, and that would make them upset. If there’s no sadness in Heaven, how would this be possible? And if there are no sports, then there surely is tediousness…”
Still another said, “Human nature is to play off one another. Comedy is largely based on mocking people; someone must be a scapegoat, or else it’s not humor. Even friendships need friction, a little bit of anger and hurt. How could anybody have a realistic relationship in Heaven. There’s no variety!”
These three comments joined others in boldly stating that Heaven is not worth achieving because it’s a boring place to be. Forever – no matter how good the location of the residents – is a sure bet road to tedium.
Even some Believers have told me that the contemplation of eternity and the possibility of endless singing services and unceasing worship programs has them teetering on the brink of panic.
What does the Bible say about this?
Well, if we are saying that this massive amount of time is part of the “problem”, we’ll begin here In addressing this, let’s capitalize it: Time. Time seems to be the bully, robbing the Christian of a joyous existence. Is this true?
Let’s start the discussion by looking at a foundational truth of Time itself. The first thing to note is that Time is not dominant over God. When people start claiming that Time will be an enormous burden of uncontrollable linear length, they are asserting that this dimension is stronger than God. This is simply not so; God is the creator of Time. One of God’s names is El Olam, “the Everlasting God”. Psalm 90:1-3 praises Him as such: “… from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” Eternity is nothing to fear when we consider it is under the control of the Creator.
In understanding this, the second point to note is that Heavenly Time is not the same as Earthly Time. 2 Peter 3:8 points out this: “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” We see that this is an echo of an earlier celebration in Psalm 90:4, which praises God because “…a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or like a watch in the night.”
If we start thinking in terms of Earthly years, we're already misguided in our calculations. I want to take a moment and clear something up: there is time in Heaven. Many people have a misunderstanding on this point, as they claim that the King James Version’s presentation of Revelation 10:6 is that the announcing angels are pronouncing judgments and that “that there should be time no longer”, but the implication (as stated by the reliable Strong’s Concordance), is that the context makes it clear that it means the delay is no longer. The song of years back “When the Roll is Called up Yonder” opens with these words “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more…” This is a great, rollicking hymn which I love, but the reference to Revelation 10:6 is inaccurate. Time is existent in Heaven. In Revelation 8:1 John refers to the space of “half an hour”. Revelation 6:9-11 notes that when the martyrs appear in Heaven, the question is presented to the Lord as to the length of the wait for justice to occur. God the Father responds for them to wait a little while longer – remember, this conversation is occurring in Heaven! Revelation 22’s opening verses make mention of trees bearing fruit “every month.” However, these references to Time must always be tempered with the fact that this is Heavenly Time we’re reading about.
The third thing to be noted is that we Christians will be different. We’ll be in our resurrected bodies. I Corinthian 15:51 and 52 remind us twice that we will be changed. Right now, we are making guesses according to the best information that we have right now, and that info comes from our experiences in our Earthly bodies. We get tired. We get distracted. We get bored. In fact, very little time passes before we get bored, right?
Oh, but in God’s presence we won’t have these same bodies. The new condition of the resurrected body will be vastly different, for sure. Revelation 21:5 tells us that the Lord Himself proclaims that He is making all things new. Notice that He said ALL things – that includes the Christian’s physical existence, and the promise is that (1 John 3:2) we shall be like the resurrected Jesus. The Bible tells us that the resurrected Jesus was able to eat, talk, and walk. In Luke 24 He challenged the disciples to feel his hands, declaring that ghosts do not have flesh and blood as He has. Notice, though, that he was also able to move through walls and defy gravity (remember the Ascension in Acts chapter 1?). We are promised a similar condition. Think of it – with the limitations that sin has placed on us here on Earth, how will we appear whenever the curse is gone? (Revelation 22:3) Our restrictions are defeated in many ways. How much more will our resurrected minds be able to absorb new teachings and new discoveries? How much more will our physical strength keep us from fatigue and injury? How will our newness take in the absolute wonder of God’s glory and experience His unhindered love?
I often think of the promise set forth about the New Earth life in Habakkuk 2:14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” We will live in an environment where God’s glory will permeate every breath, every landscape and every moment of the New Earth. This existence will exceed anything we’ve ever experienced, and our present bodies could not handle such a supernatural condition; with such unholy bodies such as we presently have, we’d disintegrate: “You cannot see My face, for mankind shall not see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20). This new necessary sinless condition we must have will require a new body – indeed a resurrected body that cannot die, be injured or suffer illness (Revelation 21:4). Our bodies will be imperishable; they are raised in glory and in power (I Corinthians 15:53) which will definitely overcome fatigue, irritability, boredom and impatience.
My brother Brent found an entry in my late mother’s journal that described him in his pre-school years as “loving to play and mold clay.” That entry was over 50 years ago; today Brent is a professional potter, with a studio that sends out mugs, bowls and clay artwork across the nation. Through the years, his dabbling in a simple mount of Play-Do progressed into the study of design and technique in what is now known as Zockoll Pottery. His early years of play soon yielded the same lumps of clay after each playtime, but today his studio reveals shelves containing an endless variety of artwork. To sit pre-school Brent down at the age of four years and demand to know the mechanics of the pottery wheel and the temperature of a kiln would only frustrate his limited thinking to the point of tears. Today, however, in a grown-up body and with an adult mind, his comprehension of the nuances of this form of art is a joy for him to discuss. I find this as an apt illustration when we talk about facing the immensity of Heaven and the eternal promises of God the Father.
Even with our limited minds today, we can agree that there is nothing boring about being loved. Lamentations 3:22 tells us that God’s compassion for us will never cease. His benevolence continues on into Heaven and beyond as it is described in Ephesians 2:7, letting us know that in the eons to come, God’s grace – according to His limitless riches – will continually gift us with “kindnesses” through Jesus Christ. These gifts will vary and increase as each one is given; nothing routine about that!
We’re given honors and responsibilities in Heaven, such a reigning with Him (Revelation 22:5) and even judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). We’re meeting new people constantly, from different nations, races and cultures (Revelation 7:9) as well as being led into new horizons of the New Earth by none other than the Lamb Himself (Revelation 7:17).
As you continue to read, you’ll soon rest in the fact that we’re not going to see any boredom in Heaven. God has a whole new existence prepared for us, well beyond our most fantastic imaginations. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9 and you’ll see one of the most joyful promises in the Bible:
“…no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him.”
And it’s an even more incredible ,truth to see the next verse, which I a promise to the Christian:
“…these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”
And that’s why we’re embarking on this search of the many promises of life in eternity with God the Father.