Monday, July 29, 2013


What is Heaven?
Think of how our view of heaven has been shaped by Hollywood, books, magazines, even from our church services. What does the bible say about heaven?

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He *said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Revelation 21:1-5 (NASB)

Key word: New. The Bible tells us that our eternal dwelling place with God, will be new. Something not yet created until He creates it. But there's more, much more!

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. Revelation 21:10-16 (NASB)

The capital city, Jerusalem, will be fifteen hundred miles long and wide as well as tall. And that's just the city! Imagine the size of New Earth.
We won't float about in a disembodied state, (1 Thess 4:13-18), no harps and angel wings. We come and go as we fellowship perfectly with God and each other. No bills to pay, no foreclosures, no car troubles, no labor (we will be working), and no world embroiled in the turmoil of just getting by. We will travel, explore our new home, meet old friends, old pets (?) and meet new friends. From the Bible we can see that we can't fully comprehend what heaven will truly be like, but one thing is for certain: God will rule! His reality will be the only reality we exist within.

Friday, July 19, 2013

God vs. Evil pt 2

So let's continue. How can I trust a God that allows us to suffer? I've always wrestled with the idea that God allows (basically condones) evil for a greater purpose. That line of thought, although it keeps intact the idea of an all-knowing all-powerful God, leaves me cold and resistant to Him. I don't deny scripture clearly states that God disciplines those He loves and that discipline is meant to teach us. But I can't wrap my mind around the idea that God would willfully, and wantonly condone the death of innocents to serve a greater purpose. What lesson could possibly be learned from something so horrendous like the death of a child? The common Christian statement during those times when something awful happens is "everything happens for a reason". I agree with the statement, just not the sterile Christian implications of that statement.
Yes, everything happens for a reason. It's called love. God created us with the capacity to love and with this capacity for love comes the capacity for hate. It's true with us and the angels. God is also bound by His words, which say he gives man choices. These choice may be influenced by God but He doesn't coerce us into seeing things His way. Gregory Boyd said it best when he states :Can God create two mountains with out creating a valley?
God risks everything in creating a world where love is possible. For love to be possible so must hate. Why doesn't God just do away with evil? Becuase He himself limits His power over us, to allow us to freely choose Him. If He gives us the free will to choice or not to choose, then becuase He isnt happy with us, takes that freedom from us, then did we ever truly have freedom?
I read through the bible and see a God who loves, and suffers with His creation in the name of love. "Jesus wept", the shortest verse in the bible, shows us a God coming to reconcile a world to Himself, but realizing many would not. God doesn't remove Himself from our suffering,He entered it on the cross and endures generations of people for whom He died, freely rejecting Him.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

God vs. Evil
Many people pose the question, "If God is all-powerful, then why do we still encounter evil in the world"? After all couldn't God stop this evil?For some the answer is simply replying that God knows what he is doing and all things are in His control, "everything happens for a reason". For others, because is supposed to be all-powerful and evil is still present, this God must not exist. Still others tenaciously cling to their faith wondering if God even cares.
The Bible is replete with verses which state that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal and actively involved in the lives of humanity. But there are others forces at work. Dark forces which actively move against God's creation with evil intentions. And then there is the human race.
Where there is the potential for good there is by proxy potential for bad. When God created man he gave man a choice, this choice allows for the presence of evil. But not only did God give humanity freewill he also gave His angels this same option. We know that Satan made his choice and those angels which followed were thrown out of heaven and those evil angels (demons) now occupy this world. While we shouldn't give the enemy more attention than he deserves, ignoring his presence is just as dangerous. Consider John's words in Revelation.
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: " Rev 2:1
"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:" Rev 2:8
 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: " Rev 2:12
All of the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation start by addressing the "angel of the church". It's odd that a letter to the church would start in this way. Now consider that John is relaying a message from Jesus to these angels and NOT the leaders of the church and the spiritual ramifications are huge!
I'll continue this thread in my next entry, but for now ask yourself how do I explain the presence of evil in this world? Why does God sometimes intervene and then at other times He doesn't. Isn't God allowing something to happen basically the same thing as willingly letting something happen? If we had knowledge of something that was about to happen and did nothing we would be considered an accomplice. How do we trust a God that "let's" us suffer?