“Your heaven is boring! We have multiple books the size of your Bible called the ‘Vedas,’ which tell countless adventures in the heavens, beautiful descriptions of the gods who live there, and the endless pleasures that are enjoyed,” spoke the young Hari Krishna while we were debating about Jesus and the need for the cross. I retorted back in confidence, “Well, if you want to talk fiction then so does Disney World, Hollywood, and Islam!”
Well, my line of reasoning sounded better in the heat of the moment.However, as I drove home that day and prayed and meditated on the people I had met while street witnessing in the party town of Belmont and Clark in Chicago, I began to realize that what the young man had said had a bit of truth to it.If one were to gather together all the descriptions of heaven and what happens there it would seem like the Bible is sort of keeping heaven a “big secret” or in Bible terminology, “a mystery.”
Why?If our God is the only real God and the Bible is really the unique “true” Word of God, why not talk about heaven in a “Lord of the Rings” kind of way?Really, why didn’t Jesus just simply sit down and say to the disciples, “Okay guys- get ready for me to blow your mind!Get out the ink and scrolls- clear your calendars!I am going to tell you all about heaven!”
Seriously, I hear all the time about these “supposed visits to heaven” and wow, they really have a ton of material- but Jesus on the other hand can only share just a few verses. Plus, the descriptions are sort of “cheesy” when compared to today’s make believe world found in most movies and books, ie, “Avatar, Star Wars, etc.” For example, Jesus only describes heaven with a few vague terms like, mansions, golden streets, and a place of treasures. In comparisons, the writers of the Hindu Vedas explode with color and in-depth descriptions. Also, even most elementary children could be more creative if asked to describe a “type of heavenly place.” They might say heaven has giant water slides from the moon to the earth ending in a rocky road ice cream ocean. Therefore, why didn’t God give us more to hold on to?
Even the Muslims have a place where there are virgins, non-alcoholic wine(?), and slaves to serve the faithful.However, John the Revelator, who has the grandest vision of heaven, simply talks about flying creatures covered in eyes (sounds pretty dull compared to virgins), trees with fruit, a clear river, and a big city made of jewels and precious metals. Why stop there?
As I was driving home that day all these thoughts flooded into my mind. I was getting discouraged; heaven was looking really dull compared to the extravagant descriptions of the Hindu heavens (See art here)!There are sexy goddesses doing sensual things, warring gods creating and destroying all over the universes.It seems like Hindus are living out the greatest eternal adventure!
At that moment of losing my joy in heaven and the glory of God I felt the Holy Spirit come over me and God spoke to my heart, “The reason I have not ‘bribed’ you with notions of grandeur is because I only want to show my glory to those who love me for who I am. Heaven is simply where I am- am I enough for you?”
Even to this day tears come into my eyes when I recount this powerful Word from God. I believe God was never intending to lure us in with our carnal desires of what heaven could be. He is drawing His children to be with Him- period. All the other “heavens” just seem like a “bigger” version of our earth, filled with emptiness. If God is God, heaven would have to be so much greater than our world as the distance is between our world and His. That is why I believe the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT), “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Jesus said it like this to the Jewish people of His day, “You have no idea where I come from or where I am going” (John 8:14). After all the things written in the entire Bible and all the ideas presented by man, I still believe, “We have no idea what awaits us, no idea.”
Note: Here is the detailed article that I was asked to review and share my thoughts on, click here.