After my recent post about David Platt going after Heaven is for Real along with other “I saw the afterlife and came back to tell about it”-type books and movies, one of my four regular readers left a comment that got me thinking that maybe I was giving too much credence to Platt’s take.
A few years ago, I read an article by someone (I would look it up, but I’m lazy) decrying all the bumper stickers, mugs, and tshirts that say, “I (heart) Jesus.” The author thought that such souvenir-stand expressions belittled the love that God has for us and trivializes the relationship that we should have with Him.
I understood his point, but my main thought after reading the article was, “Hey, lighten up, dude.” I agree that we do a lot that de-glorifies God and often don’t treat Him with the honor that He’s due. However, you shouldn’t have to produce a perfectly-reasoned PhD thesis in theology every time you want to express your love for God.
“Love” is a pretty big word, and people experience it in a lot of different ways. Sometimes, the same people experience it in different ways during different seasons of their lives — one way when they’re young and another when they’re old, one way when they’re single and another way when they’re married. God is big enough to know the hearts of all those people and to appreciate their sincere expressions of love. We say it over and over: God can meet you where you are. If where you are is holding a coffee mug that says, “I (heart) Jesus,” I don’t think God is going to slap it out of your hand because the sentiment isn’t deep enough.
And just like “love” is a big word, “heaven” is also a big word. Maybe it’s so big that different people experience it in different ways.
In the video from the previous post, David Platt is pretty definitive that there is one clear, Biblical description of heaven, and that’s it. Anything that doesn’t conform to those Biblical descriptions must be wrong.
And, y’know, he’s probably right. I’m never going to propose that there are authoritative descriptions of heaven anywhere other than the Bible.
But is it at least possible that God might present a different picture of Himself to a child from 21st century America than He world to a grown man from the ancient Middle East? Isn’t God capable of that? “My father’s house has many rooms…” Maybe all those rooms aren’t the same.
Again, I’m not interested in any anti-Biblical speculation, and if I contradict scripture anywhere, I hope my Christian brothers and sisters pull me back in line. But I’m willing to consider the possibility that the Bible only gives us the slightest taste of what heaven is, and that the whole thing is too big to be fully contained in any description.