Friday, July 29

Where is Heaven Located?

Ideas are extremely powerful. Our culture's popular notion of heaven is one of the most depressing and misleading, all at the same time. Part of the problem is geography--or should I say "cosmography"--this vague feeling that heaven is located far away in space and probably time.

I was a little surprised and helped by a recent Christianity Today article on Jack Hayford:

Jack Hayford "got up on the platform and read to himself the passage from the pulpit Bible—John's vision of ecstatic worship around the throne of God.

"Ten days later, Hayford says, in the church parking lot, he suddenly caught a mental picture so vivid that he understood God's message. What he saw was an alignment between the throne of God described by John, and the church he pastored on Sherman Way in Van Nuys. One seemed to blend into the other: vast multitudes of praising creatures in John's vision overlapping with the praising people of the Church on the Way. As Hayford saw it, the entire San Fernando Valley, ten miles wide, became an amphitheater of praise surrounding God's throne.

"Reality, as Hayford came to grasp it, is that God works simultaneously in the visible and the invisible, in the physical and the spiritual. The worshiping church stands at the heart of his reign. Thus the church Hayford pastored (and any church, potentially) was more than a gathering of people dedicated to a far-off spiritual kingdom and to somewhat abstract principles. The church at worship became an expression of the power of the kingdom of God, with the literal presence of God in the middle of its sanctuary.

"David Moore says Hayford's theology of the kingdom of God is strikingly similar to George Eldon Ladd's."

Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." N.T. Wright, in a sermon I was listening to (mp3 files here) says that God created two interlocking realities, or maybe it would be more precise for me to say parts of reality, one seen and the other unseen. As I understand it, because we are spirit and animal we exist in both the heavenly and the earthly realm. The so called "enlightenment" (I think of it as the endarkenment) has blotted out the unseen part from our worldview, our consciousness, and blinded us to anything we can see with our physical eyes.

One of my deepest yearnings and dreams is like that of the man called "Son of the unclean" who put it succinctly: "I want to receive my sight!"


Rene said...

I like the word "enlightenment" together with the understanding of an earthly and unearthly dimension. Research of Near Death Experiences provides evidence that the location of Heaven is in a non-physical dimension that interacts with the mentality of each individual.

Rene said...

...NDE research also gives us a more reasonable understanding of what Hell is and what it 'looks' like.