What Is Eternal Life Like?

September 20, 2011

We as a family are working our way through Kevin DeYoung’s The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism. Here’s DeYoung’s view of heaven from that book. It’s pretty inviting.

The blessedness of eternal life is like savoring your favorite food, drinking your favorite drink, laughing with your favorite friends; it’s like seeing your wife on your wedding day sparkling in her overpriced dress and grinning from ear to ear; it’s like holding a newborn baby or watching your grandkids play; it’s like standing on a dune overlooking Lake Michigan on one side and seeing a sea of green treetops on the other; it’s like the peaceful majesty of corn blowing in the breeze in July, or watching an afternoon storm roll over the front range; it’s like being awed by a visit to the Great Wall of China or the skyline in New York City or the York Minster Cathedral in northern England. And it’s like that rare moment when you know in your bones that God is with you and you know you really love Him and you want to sing and shout and tell everyone how you feel. It’s like all these moments—except the moments never stop and never wane.

Life everlasting is like all of this power, beauty, delight, truth, and sweetness rolled into one experience, then multiplied by ten, then by a hundred, then by ten million. Eternal life in God’s presence will be such a weight of glory that we will feel as if we never knew happiness before and all our troubles will be in a moment forgotten as so puny and so trivial and to be utterly inconsequential compared to all this joy.

And this experience of delight and glory will go on forever. On earth, all our joy is fleeting. Food tastes good and is gone. Sex is enjoyable, then it’s over. Kids are precious, but they drive you nuts. On earth there is anticipation of pleasure, a moment or season of delight, and then it passes. Joy is always mingled with pain. Delight is always interrupted by suffering. But not in heaven. There, the glory and delight and love are always growing, always swelling, and always increasing as we learn more and see more of God. Every Tuesday is better than Monday. Every Wednesday is better than Tuesday. Every Thursday is better than Wednesday. Nonstop, continuous, everlasting glory. Your best life later (to steal Francis Chan’s phrase).

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