Heaven is A City, not a Picture Show

“Our eyes will be forever fixed upon God,” I said in the previous blog post. I am completely convinced that the statement is true. Would you puzzle this idea with me for a minute?

Let no one misunderstand. When I say our eyes will be eternally fixed on God, I do not mean to suggest that Heaven will be some sort of eternal picture show where we are unable to move from our seats. Like most Evangelicals Christians, I’ve heard it said that Heaven is an eternal worship service. The older I get, the less attractive that sounds!

In the Asian religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as in Greek Platonism, the final state of humanity is absorption or “becoming One with the Universe” or something along those lines. In those systems, the end to which personal identity strives is its complete loss. When I say we will have our eyes fixed on God for eternity, I certainly do not mean to suggest that we will be absorbed into God and thus lose our identity. The Biblical doctrine of the resurrection of our bodies serves as the guarantor of our personal being and integrity in the end.

As I have often preached from Romans 12:1, our truest form of worship is not what we do in the exciting, symbolic services held in churches, but rather the daily living sacrifice of offering our whole existence (bodies) to God. It is our life in the streets, in the marketplace, at the workbench, at the dinner table, with our families, that constitute our “latreia logike” (Greek from Romans 12:1 that should be translated “true worship service”).

One more piece of the puzzle: the book of Revelation refers to the Church in Heaven, the Bride of Christ, as a City—the New Jerusalem. If we are to be a Bride, it is clear that we will live together in unity. If we are to be a City, it is clear that there will be a beehive of activity going on. A movie theatre or exhibit hall full of agape onlookers is hardly consistent with the metaphor of a city.

And so it would seem that while we will be unable and unwilling to take our eyes off the Heavenly Bridegroom, we will have our personal identities intact. And we will have things to do in the “economy” of Heaven. We’ll be a bustling city. And yes, it will be an eternal worship service, but not one in which we are fixed in our seats. No matter what we will be doing, we will always be simultaneously fixed on the Beauty of our Savior, conscious of God’s presence, and busy about enjoying it all.

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