A dear friend of ours is suffering as his beloved dog was recently diagnosed with an apparent terminal illness. Having recently lost a pet, I could relate to his angst. He pondered whether he would be reunited with his pet, as I am sure most pet lovers have. He even intimated that it would be a cruel God that would allow admitted murderers into paradise, but restrict access to only His human creations, and leave our loving companions to perish. Quite a thought, but it rang true and it got me to think about Heaven a bit, as we all tend to do…
I have come to understand that Heaven, or paradise is more a condition than a place. We grow up imagining all sorts of things about Heaven but almost always it involves a destination. Like we are in Point A and we want to get to Point B. And, it certainly is not this place. But if you consider Heaven as the ultimate condition, one in which we stand (figuratively and literally) in the presence of God, all sorts of things become possible. And, if we could also agree that Heaven is actually what we were created for, that is, to be in the closest possible union with God, a relationship beyond any understanding we have of parent and child, your mind may even go where mine did………………..Now where would that be, Rob?
Well let me tell you: It went to a point in time 30 seconds before our first ancestors, commonly referred to as Adam (man) and Eve (life), succumbed to the first temptation and became aware of right and wrong, and most sadly, sin. So where exactly was that? It was right where God left us. Here we are a half a minute before the whole apple incident; newly created universe, new world, all sorts of new creations (evolved or otherwise). Man and woman, and all of God’s creations in peaceful community with the great I AM – God’s spirit resplendent and ever present in every nook and cranny of the place. All of our needs attended to, care-free, like small children playing in an endless field bathed in the light of Divine Grace. Sounds a lot like a place I would call Heaven. Right? If you agree, then what God did was not so much create this fallen earth for us, as He did create Heaven for us, right? Heaven, in that it is where He is. I mean, if Eve and Adam had zigged instead of zagged and never ran into that God-forsaken ‘snake’, where would they be? They and all of us would be just where they were all along, from the time they were created, in what God created for all of us when He said, ‘Let there be light!’ Heaven. Why would He create anything else considering His intentions to commune with His creations? So quick re-cap: God created only one spot for us to be, Heaven, the true Point A.
Consider then that it is we that threw God out of the Heaven He created, and when we did, everything truly heavenly went with Him. And what was left was what we have now: hints of what could have been (think the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen) but now in a condition with decay, death, and darkness – all things that return when God leaves the room…So two final thoughts I am left with:
On its greatest day, earth is but a bare shadow of Heaven, but nonetheless a shadow from which we can begin to understand what we had and what we are headed back to once God re-enters the room.
In the beginning God created a paradise we call Eden, a place where all of God’s creations lived and will again reside, even our very own loving animal companions.
And this is the point at which my head began to hurt…thoughts anyone?