As we walked around the bottle shop at The Blue Cattle Dog, he asked, “if you knew Jesus was coming again wouldn’t you want to buy a bottle of Penfolds Grange just to see what it was like?”
I thought for a few seconds, and said ‘No mate, I probably would not. I think the wine in the new heavens and the new earth is going to be way better that anything that Penfolds – or anyone else – can offer.”
He looked puzzled. “Why would we have wine in heaven?”
“Well, why wouldn’t we?” I responded. “What makes you think there won’t be great wine in heaven? And food better than anything we can imagine?”
This seemed to confuse him even more. He said he knew we would still have bodies, but wondered whether they would be the kind that will have need for food or drink, or any other kind of sustenance.
Will we eat in heaven? Live in homes? … Will there be a structured society? Or will it be a case of some kind of bodied existence will little or no relation to the world around us?
And then I started wondering about this little exchange, and why I thought an eternal physical reality, with joys like eating and drinking was such an obvious thing to expect, and why he thought it was so abnormal…
What do you think? Will we eat in heaven? Live in homes? Walk in national parks? Or grow vegetables in the backyard? Will there be a structured society? Or will it be a case of some kind of bodied existence will little or no relation to the world around us?
These are not just academic questions, the answers to which we’ll only know when Christ returns. My belief is that the picture you have of where you have come from (Eden) and the picture you have of where you’re going (eternity) will determine the shape of your spirituality and your mission in the present.
So, the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that my friend would probably have most of the Christians in Australia on his side, and that maybe I was a minority.
How you see where you have come from (Eden) and where you’re going (eternity) will determine the shape of your spirituality and your mission in the present.
After all, haven’t we always been told that the heaven is a spiritual place? And doesn’t that mean there will be nothing physical or material there? Isn’t it true that this earth will pass away, and be burned up and there’ll be nothing left of it?
This is the tension I want to wrestle with. In future posts I want to draw on some of the biblical themes relevant to these questions.
For now, why not let me know what your thoughts are?
Grace and peace,
Well Dave, up until now I hadn’t really given it any thought. I will be interested in having you flesh this out somemore.
BTW I still think you should have the Grange – just so you could appreciate that wine in heaven all the more.
Hmm. Reminds me of the time I was taking Peter back home from college, and he was enthusing about the music there will be in heaven. Peter is an accomplished muso. I said ‘Hey Peter, will there be Jags in heaven?’ We were driving my Jag at the time. He looked puzzled. ‘Why would there be Jags in heaven?’ ‘Well, to me music is the sound of a well tuned 4.2 litre Jag with triple SUs coming on song! And if there is to be your kind of music in heaven, why not my kind?’ (BTW Dave, you can check this story with Peter if you like)
I don’t think we came to a conclusion on the presence of Jags in heaven, but I do know this. We will have real bodies in heaven, bodies that can eat and drink. Proof? Luke 24:40-42. Jesus asked for some food and ate it in their presence. He needed to show them that his resurrection body was a real body. But there’s more. Jesus became one of us. He was born of a woman to become a man, a human being like one of us. That is the only way that he could stand in our place and take our punishment for us, by being just like us. It is not for nothing that he is referred to as ‘the son of man’ very many times in the Gospels. And Jesus is our fore-runner. He is the first, and where he goes we will go. Our glorified bodies will be like his glorified one. Carefully read 1 Corinthians 15 and you will see that Christ is the first-fruits, and we will be like him.
And there will be a new heavens, and a new earth. The earth will be renewed, and we will live there. For eternity.
I once heard an Anglican pastor’s response to an objection to the new earth “but there won’t be any beer in heaven!’ He said ‘I tell you what mate, the beer on the new earth will make this stuff taste like swamp water!’