Heaven & Earth
Most of my good lines I rip off from Woody Allen and most of my good insights I rip off from RC Jr. And his material was stolen from either his father or C.S. Lewis. There — full disclosure; we have nothing new to give you but we’re still not offering any refunds.
Doing my homework I can trace the notion of heaven on earth that has been intriguing me to Lewis’ The Great Divorce, where in the preface he opines with regard to how the existence we’ve known on earth will appear in hindsight after Christ’s triumphant return:
I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.
The notion is obviously consistent with the truth that all we do here on earth counts for eternity but then puts it on its head.
Those who end up in hell will look back at their time on earth as the beginning of their days in hell and those in heaven will see that they were in heaven all along. Well not exactly because there won’t be sin or tears in heaven and heaven knows we suffer from that now. But RC gleaned from this an important nugget of inspiration; if we reduce our sinning and die to self then we can enter into a heaven-like or at least a heaven-lite existence here on earth.
Because what is heaven but a glorious union with Christ, worship of the Father and living without sin. We can’t achieve the fullness of any of those things here but we can have a bit of all of them, in fact we are ordered (while here) to,
A. worship the Father
B. be united with Christ in His life and in His suffering and by picking up our cross daily and
C. to be without sin. Q.E.D.
It was God’s intention that His people experience heaven on earth and for this purpose He has enabled them through the guidance of His Word and the inner-workings of the Holy Spirit.
More and More Heaven
Based on some hasty calculations, I’ve concluded that about 94% of the suffering in my life has been caused by my own sin, 5% by the sins of others and 1% by really bad mexican food. If I can eliminate my sinning more each day and enter more into a rich life of constant worship then I will be more and more united with Christ — and simultaneously — by giving over my whole life to Christ so that He reins supreme in all things I will be submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ thus bringing to earth that reality of His lordship over all things which will be demonstrated to all on that glorious last day.
Pulling the flannel sheets of heaven down over our cold noses here on earth helps make our glorious future a present reality. The crumbs of the here and now are a sweet taste of the feast of the there and then. In addition, living boldly tethered so closely to a sure eternity will certainly cast the kind of warm glowing light that cannot be hidden from men.
This post was originally published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2010.