Thursday 21 March 2024

Why is Heaven postponed?

Why is Heaven postponed? Why should we be made to wait? Why can't we have Heaven now - whether here on earth, or elsewhere? Why are we compelled to go through all this mucking about in mortal life? 

This is, and perhaps always has been, the most powerful question for those who believe in a Good God. And it is a killer question for those who believe in an Omni-God. If God really is all powerful and also really is Good - then why must we wait, when we could have it now? 

Self-identified Christians are afflicted as strongly as anyone else. In the time of Jesus it seems that most people Did not Want what He offered. They instead wanted Jesus to be the Messiah. 

In other words they wanted a better mortal life now, more than they wanted resurrected everlasting life. 

Or else they did not really believe Jesus's promise of eternal joy beyond death. 

Or maybe they demanded both: paradise on earth now (or ASAP), and after death then eternal resurrected life in Heaven? 

The killer question for Christianity is: Why can't people have what they most want? 

The official compromise answer was that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but Heaven on Earth must wait until after his second coming... 

But this compromise doesn't work at all well. The killer question still stands: Why must we wait, if Jesus is God, and God is omnipotent? 

Why - if He really is omnipotent - didn't Jesus finish his work in the first coming? 

Why - if He is really Good - does Jesus allow, indeed actually cause (because as Omni-God He is omnipotent, and created absolutely everything) even the very worst the sufferings of mortal life? Why do this when (apparently) He could give us Heaven Now? 

And if a wholly-Good God allows/ actively-causes all the nasty stuff He does in this mortal life; then is this really a definition of a Good God that we would really want for ourselves? 

How could we have faith in and trust and love such a God; a God with such incomprehensible and apparently evil understandings of Good? 

It has the same for most Christians for the past two thousand years and continuing; what these "Christians" really want is a better world now, rather than Heaven later. 

For example; they want their church to become powerful enough to impose a better world now; indeed many Christians believe that one-or-another Christian church did indeed impose a better world in some times and places - and regard this as a primary justification for Christianity.

But if then, why not now?   

Or, such church-Christians believe that Christians are better people now, than not-Christians. (Or - at least - they believe their affiliated church's kind of Christians are better people.) 

They believe this despite that better-people-now wasn't what Jesus promised - any more than he promised a better-world-now. 

Because of its implicit determination to put this world first, in a context of asserting an Omni-God; historical Christianity really has painted itself into a corner; and from here it is clear that messing around with incomprehensibly complex abstractions does not convince people anymore - if ever it really did convince, rather than compel obedience.

There are two answers. The first is to be clear that Jesus's Kingdom is, as he repeatedly said in many ways, Not Of This World. Jesus promised us eternal resurrected life after death in Heaven - and if that is not what you want above all; then maybe you aren't really a Christian? 

Secondly; we need to to explain why Heaven must be after death and resurrection, and cannot be Now - in this mortal earthly life. 

(This entails (inter alia) that the (un-Biblical) Omni-God assertion must be dropped; and God clearly conceptualized as The Prime Creator who worked and continues to work creation with already-existent Beings in an already-existing universe - a universe that already contained evil.)

To answer the question of why we must wait for Heaven, we need some such concept as the Second Creation (if not exactly that) to explain clearly and simply how it is that (as Jesus often explained - and as is obvious to observation!) this mortal life cannot become Heaven; and that is why God the Prime Creator was not sufficient; and that is why Jesus was necessary - and therefore why it is only on the other side of death that evil can be left-behind, and we can enter Heaven.  

(...Only after which can we understand the real purpose of this mortal life - which is, to learn spiritually in preparation for Heaven; and the constraints of evil and entropy within-which God's creative power operates on earth and in mortality.)

NOTE ADDED 23rd March 2024

For those unfamiliar with this blog, I should clarify my reiterated view that - in broad terms - I believe that people "get what they want" after death. In the sense that they will subjectively-experience (or be-aware-of) something like what they want and ask-for (or "believe in") in terms of reincarnation or paradise (of the various types), life as a kind of ghost (Sheol, Hades, ghosts on earth etc.), Nirvana, extinction. The exception is when people are affiliated to demons and desire things evil - in which case they are delivered to the demons with whom they have chosen to affiliate - but this is also "getting what they want", even though they will not like what they get.  


Laeth said...

thank you for linking to my text.

to me the answer is: the one thing that we really MUST do here is die, we need to experience it. There is something about the process of death and rebirth in the flesh that seems to be the key. This is why resurrection is not just resuscitation, we really have to die all the way and be reborn, remade.

I have some inspirations about why this is the case, mostly from gardening, but they are hard to put into words. but I can say this: the death that Jesus talks about abolishing is spiritual, and I think the physical process is so important that even He had to come here to do it, it wouldn't be enough to do it directly from the outside.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Laeth - Agreed.

Colin said...

Gosh, God creating something new and better amidst beings and stuff that were already there changes everything! A long way from Omni God.
More of a Heavenly Entrepreneur.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Colin - "More of a Heavenly Entrepreneur."

But probably more like a Heavenly Father, of a (very!) large family.

Or an idealized Emperor ("Father" of his peoples) who harmonizes the goals of previously disparate and warring nations, tribes, and religions - and brings them towards a condition of mutual love.