3 Things You Won't Find in Heaven
- Dr. Stephen K. Moroney
- 2016 23 May
The Power of “Negative” Thinking about Heaven
In 1952 minister Norman Vincent Peale authored his best-selling book, The Power of Positive Thinking. In the decades that followed, many within corporate America promoted the idea that positive thinking (visualizing, believing, and verbally affirming the goals you will attain) is a key to success in business and in life. In recent years, however, researchers have also touted the power of negative thinking, which foresees and prepares for problems. In a backlash against the “all-positive” approach, there is now a call to use the best of both positive and negative thinking.
A similar insight can help us enjoy a more full, biblical heavenly hope. When most people think of heaven, they think “positively” about what or who will be there. That’s incredibly valuable. We need a life-giving focus on who will be in heaven: God’s angels, God’s people, and God himself! But we can also benefit from thinking “negatively” about what won’t be in heaven.
The last two chapters in the Bible tell us that in the new heavens and new earth there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). There won’t be any people in heaven who are cowardly, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, or liars (Rev. 21:8 and 22:15). Nothing unclean or impure will ever enter heaven, nor will anyone who does what is detestable or false (Rev. 21:27). There won’t be anything accursed in heaven (Rev. 22:3)! We all live under the curse of sin now, but things will be blissfully different in heaven.
No More Health Problems
Every human being grapples with some sort of health issues. It’s not just the “biggies” of heart disease and cancer, but also a thousand other medical challenges, whether they have to do with weight, illness, or other things that trouble us physically. But there will be no more of those struggles for God’s people in heaven, when we’ve been clothed with our perfect resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44). No more cancer or colonoscopies, heart disease or hospice in heaven!
Or consider more minor things like dental procedures. When I had my wisdom teeth extracted, it was the old-fashioned way, with local anesthesia and pliers. It wasn’t too bad until my lower left tooth cracked in half, making my already woozy head spin faster. The dentist spent what seemed like hours trying to get a grip on the partial tooth still embedded in my gums. Though it is small potatoes in the big scheme of things, I’m glad there won’t be any more dental pain in heaven. No more cavities, fillings, root canals, extractions, bridges, or implants. Dental problems and pain, like all health issues, are part of the former things that pass away in heaven (Rev. 21:4).
No More Emotional Problems
Then there are the emotional issues that so many of us face. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that forty million adults in the U.S., nearly one in five, suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. In heaven, as God’s people enjoy their Father’s care and provision, there should be no worries. The new heavens and new earth will be the perfect environment, filled with relationships of pure love, which leaves no room for panic attacks, social anxiety, or irrational fears. Full abundant life in heaven will be completely free of debilitating anxiety (John 10:10).
Of course, anxiety is only one of many emotional problems people struggle with in this life. Our local Christian counseling center helps people with abuse, addiction, anger control, depression, family issues, grief, marriage counseling, parenting problems, and stress management, just to name a few. Every single one of us has headaches and heartaches now, but no more in heaven!
No More Security Problems
Deep down inside, humans long to be safe and secure. That’s why we look to prisons, police, and pepper spray to protect us. It’s why we have locks on our windows, our doors, and our computer accounts. The good news is that in heaven, under the rule of the Messiah, God’s people will live securely (Mic. 5:4). In heaven there will be no more school shootings, stealing, or suffering. With no wrongdoers in heaven, we won’t need police departments or military. There will no more international conflicts in heaven because everyone there will enjoy a common citizenship with a common Lord (Phil. 3:20). God’s people from every nation, tribe, and language will worship God in harmonious peace under the reign of the Prince of Peace (Rev. 7:9)!
As my wife’s recent birthday approached, I asked her how she’d like to celebrate it. She had an idea about a family outing to the state fair (which we did). But the evening of her actual birthday she had penciled on our calendar her plan to attend a women’s self-defense class at the YMCA. Something is deeply wrong here! But in heaven there will be no more need for self-defense classes. No more carrying mace. No more worrying about our loved ones. No more need to educate kids about “good touch” and “bad touch.” No more take-back-the night marches.
When we stop to think about it, a big part of what will make heaven so heavenly is what won’t be there. When John describes the wonders of the new heaven and new earth, he includes a major focus on what is not there (Rev. 21:4, 21:8, 21:27, 22:3, 22:15). So should we. All the horrible ways that sin impacts the world now will be vanquished. Forever. Never to return. As Jesus’ followers, we can find life-giving hope by “negative thinking” about what won’t be in heaven.
Dr. Stephen K. Moroney is an elder at Parkside Church in Green, Ohio; a theology professor at Malone University; and the author of What You Won’t Find in Heaven: A Surprising Source of Hope (Weaver Books, 2016).
Publication date: May 23, 2016