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Where's Heaven?

Heaven is not “up there.” There is no “up there.” If by “heaven” we mean the locality of God’s throne and/or where people go when they die, then heaven is another dimension, a dimension that is normally hidden from us, but which is here and now. Heaven is as close as our breath. The Kingdom of God is in our midst. In that heavenly dimension time feels differently. In the spirit realm, time is not measured as we measure time.

 

God is not timeless. God is not frozen “outside time,” or “beyond time.”  God is eternal. God is the uncreated creator who always was, is now, and always will be. God’s perspective on time differs from ours. A year for me is 1/73rd of my life; for a five-year-old, it is 1/5th. One day is a tiny fraction of my life; a much larger fraction of hers. That’s why time seems to speed up as we age. God has been alive forever, so any period of time is an infinitely small slice of eternity for God. For me, it takes more than a lifetime to reach full maturity, but from God’s perspective, it’s a done deal.

 

Does God know the future? God is infinitely wise and knows everything that can be known. God gave us genuine free choice. We are not puppets. We have agency. Our choices matter. But from eternity past, God knew every possible choice I could make and every possible choice those around me could make. Being both wise and loving, God has a contingency plan for each possible combination of choices and circumstances. Nothing catches God by surprise.

 

God did not cause me to sin, hurting myself and others. My freewill was operative. But God had a contingency plan in place – a plan to bring beauty out of the ashes of my transgression.

 

The New Testament contains many examples of the now, but not yet paradox. In Ephesians, Paul depicts believers as already seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Hebrews envisions us as living in the Holiest of All in the Heavenly Temple. Revelation depicts the complete vanquishment of all evil even while we are living in the midst of oppressive empires. In Romans, we are saved, we are sanctified, we are glorified. That which is future, like our complete sanctification and the glorification of our physical bodies, is stated as a done deal. The Kingdom of God is here, but not yet. It is now and future.

 

From a Christian perspective, the True Self is equivocal to full sanctification, individual holiness, being fully enlightened, a state of perfection. The True Self is who we were created to be. While unique and individual, the True Self thinks and acts like Jesus, whom I would argue is the only fully actualized and fully enlightened person to come down the pike. The path of spiritual and psychological growth involves living into who we really are.

 

God wants us to have inner peace in a world of rising threats and chaos. There was large basin on a pedestal called a laver outside the Tabernacle used for ceremonial washing. When Solomon built the Temple, he included a laver so large they called it a sea. Perhaps John is alluding to the laver in Revelation 4, when he sees a crystal sea in front of God’s throne. More likely, Revelation’s crystal sea is connected with the ancient Neareastern view of the seas reflected in the Old Testament. Ancient people viewed the earth as a flat oval island surrounded by waters that were chaotic, dangerous, and demonic. In the New Testament, Jesus walks on the stormy waters and rebukes them using the same language with which he rebuked demons – literally, “Be muzzled!” The gospel writers are showing us that Jesus is YHWH incarnate. YHWH, the God of the Old Testament parted the waters and rescued his people from the deep. Embodying Jesus, YHWH stilled the symbolic forces of evil. Revelation declares there will be “no more sea” in the Kingdom. No more chaos; no more evil; no more demonic activity. Around the heavenly throne is a calm, peaceful crystal sea that stretches out as far as the eye can see. Perfect peace. Perfect tranquility. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Closer in, elders representing all God’s people, and living creatures representing nature with its variety of creatures, adore and worship God. Worship is to express love. It is offered freely.

 

We can be there now, but only if we take the time to sit in the heavenlies with Christ, for it is there that the crystal sea is tranquil. The contemplative path leads us there.

 



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