What is Heaven Like?

First, a little background music while you read this blog. Go ahead, push play, then keep reading:

So judgment day is supposed to happen tomorrow.

More specifically, some fringe Christian ministries are promoting the idea that the Rapture is going to happen tomorrow. Everyone who believes in Jesus will be whisked away into the air (sans clothing), leaving all the heathens down below to deal with the aftermath of a massive earthquake along with gruesome death and destruction.

According to Family Radio Ministries, the main group pushing the May 21 rapture date, roughly 200 million folks will be raptured tomorrow (isn’t it great how they know everyone’s hearts?) — leaving behind 97.2% of the world to be tortured and die.

Yippee. How’s that for “good news”?

So I’m torn. I’m torn between having some fun with the idea that the rapture is going to happen tomorrow or writing a serious piece about how the end really is going to come someday.

So instead, I’ll take door number three and talk about heaven — where we’re supposed to be aiming to end up after all the chaos (tomorrow, or whenever).

Specifically, what is heaven like?

Because it seems to me we as Christians have got a bit of an image problem. All the cool folks want to go to hell instead of heaven. How many times have you seen the badass heroes in movies say something akin to, “See you in hell!”?

Let’s be honest: if heaven is anything like what most of the evangelical church says it’s going to be like, I don’t know if I’d really give up all my worldly pleasures to go there, either. After all, if heaven is tomorrow, then we’d better get all the good stuff we can packed into today.

Like one giant worldwide Mardi Gras before the boringness of eternity sets in.

In heaven, supposedly, there is no sex. No beer. No smoking. No swearing. No dancing.

And if there are none of those things in heaven, then I’d better do all of ’em down here before I go.

Is heaven really just standing around for eternity worshiping God? If so, I’ve gotta tell you – I really love a good worship service, but there’s only so many choruses I can sing before I start getting a little antsy (it’d probably be somewhere around worship song number 5,094,256 or so). Sometimes I wonder if I really “could sing of your love forever.”

Not that I want heaven to be one big “free love” party, because I understand there’s a “dark side” to sex and drinking and all that stuff.

But I do wonder if heaven won’t be more party-like than we’re making it out to be. After all, doesn’t Jesus compare it to a wedding feast, one of the biggest celebratory parties in Jewish culture? All that stuff above is absolutely beautiful in moderation and in proper context. I’m not talking drunken orgies here. I’m talking deeply beautiful sexual intimacy between two people who are wholly committed to each other. I’m talking enjoying the freedom and life represented by alcohol, as Jesus illustrated at the wedding in Cana.

And it makes me wonder — do we try so hard to shield ourselves from “the world” that our view of eternity begins to take on the same bland, lifeless, and freedom-less undertones as well?

So what is heaven? What is it like? I’m hoping that in a completely restored creation, you and I can hang out, share a pint and a pipe, and sit in the contradictory peace and fearsome awe of the presence of God. Maybe if we begin to understand heaven from the context of a theology of restoration and freedom rather than a theology full of evil bogeymen, heaven would be a place people might want to go.

What do you think? What is heaven like?