If Heaven is Perfect, Won't It Be Perfectly Boring?
- Hank Hanegraaff
- 2001 22 May
An all-too-prevalent perception in Christianity and the culture is that heaven is going to be one big bore. Pardon the golf analogy, but I have heard more than one person say that a never-ending repetition of hole-in-ones would make even Tiger Woods want to give up the game. That, however, is far from what heaven will be. Rather, heaven will be a place of continuous learning, growth, and development. By nature, humans are finite, and that is how it always will be. Thus, while we will have an incredible capacity to learn, we will never come to the end of learning. In the words of philosopher Peter Kreeft: "Knowing everything would be more like Hell than Heaven for us. For one thing, we need progress and hope: we need to look forward to knowing something new tomorrow. Mystery is our mind's food. If we truly said, 'I have seen everything,' we would conclude, as did the author of Ecclesiastes, 'all is vanity.' For another thing, the more knowledge, the more responsibility. Only omnipotence can bear the burden of omniscience; only God's shoulders are strong enough to carry the burden of infinite knowledge without losing the joy."
To begin with, we will never come to the end of exploring our Creator. God by nature is infinite and we are limited. Thus, what we now merely apprehend about the Creator we will spend an eternity seeking to comprehend. Imagine finally beginning to get a handle on how God is one in nature and three in person. Or how Jesus Christ can at once be fully God and fully man. Imagine exploring the depths of God's love, wisdom, and holiness. Imagine forever growing in our capacities to fathom his immensity, immutability, and incomprehensibility. And to top it all off, the more we come to know him, the more there will be to know.
Furthermore, we will never come to an end of exploring the Creator's creative handiwork. The universe will literally be our playground. Even if we were capable of exhausting the "new heavens and new earth" (Revelation 21:1), God could create brand-new vistas for us to explore. I love the way A. A. Hodge puts it:
Heaven, as the eternal home of the divine Man and of all the redeemed members of the human race, must necessarily be thoroughly human in its structure, conditions, and activities. Its joys and activities must all be rational, moral, emotional, voluntary and active. There must be the exercise of all the faculties, the gratification of all tastes, the development of all talent capacities, the realization of all ideals. The reason, the intellectual curiosity, the imagination, the aesthetic instincts, the holy affections, the social affinities, the inexhaustible resources of strength and power native to the human soul must all find in heaven exercise and satisfaction. Then there must always be a goal of endeavor before us, ever future.
Finally, we will never come to the end of exploring fellow Christians. Our ability to appreciate one another will be enhanced exponentially. In the words of B. H. Streeter, our love for one another will be of an "intenser quality, will lavish itself on a wide range of persons, and will always express itself more freely and in more diverse ways." Imagine being able to love another human being without even a tinge of selfishness. Imagine appreciating, no, reveling in the exalted capacities and station that God bestows on another without so much as a modicum of jealousy.
Will heaven be perfect? Absolutely. Will it be boring? Absolutely not! We will learn without error — but make no mistake about it, we will learn, we will grow, and we will develop. In heaven, Kreeft eloquently explains, "we remain like the tiny figures in a Chinese landscape: small subjects in an enormously larger objective world." Far from being dead and dull, heaven will be an exhilarating, exciting experience that will never come to an end.
Adapted from Hank Hanegraaff, Resurrection (Word Publishing, 2000).