What does heaven look like?
I recently asked that question to a group of young children. Here is how they responded.
“It’s in the sky.”
“There are lots of clouds and it’s really, really bright.”
“It’s not the red place (hell).”
“There’s a big castle in the middle of it.”
“There are golden steps all over.”
When you think of heaven, do any of these images come to mind? Ask anyone – Christian or not – and it’s likely they’ll agree with this list.
Now. Have you ever thought to yourself something like this: “I know I’m supposed to want to go to heaven, but I think I’ll really miss some of this earth’s beauty. I just love trees and mountain peaks. I know my life isn’t perfect here, but there are parts I truly do enjoy. Will I really enjoy heaven? I mean, what will I be doing up there… for eternity?”
If you’ve ever had a thought like this, you’re not alone. The great news is, heaven will not be boring. And it won’t be pastel blue and bland, either. The Bible gives us some really amazing clues about what heaven will be like.
First, we know that heaven will be paradise. When Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross, he called it just that (Luke 23:43)! In the book of Genesis, God’s word tells us that, before humankind fell into sin, life was very good. Adam and Eve lived in a paradise. The garden of Eden gives us a glimpse of what heaven may be like. Picture fresh spring waters, newly blooming fruit trees, fantastically unique animals, and landscapes like you’ve never scene. If Eden is a taste of what heaven looks like, then heaven will be complex, vibrant, and beautiful.
Second, we can bet that we won’t be bored. Adam and Eve had tasks to do. They weren’t bored. They took care of the garden, and nurtured it. God even had Adam name all of the animals (that would have been a very creative and stimulating work day)!
Revelation 7:15 says that people in heaven “are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple.” When we are made new and brought to our perfect home, we will be worshiping and serving God according to our callings.
In his book “What Happens When You Die” Pastor Michael Newman describes how fulfilling heaven will be.
Heaven is a place of stimulating and creative activity. It is a place where we will find our niche, our calling, and our purpose. It is a place where we will be engaged in what we were created to do. If you’ve ever jumped out of bed in the morning, eager to tackle the tasks that awaited you, you’ve experienced a taste of heaven.
The Bible even talks about food being in heaven. Isaiah 25:6 describes a “feast of rich food” and “the best of meats” and the “finest of wines.” Doesn’t that sound satisfying? In heaven, we will feast like we’ve never feasted before!
All of this rich fullness, vibrant beauty, and peaceful complexity is God’s gift to us, his children. When Jesus defeated sin, death, and the devil, each of us was given the promise of life in this beautiful heaven with Jesus. When we think of how glorious and fulfilling heaven will be, it’s hard to not want to be there.
When we speak to our children about heaven, we can go beyond the “stereotypical” descriptions of light blues and clouds. We can, in confidence, tell them how colorful, spectacular, and satisfying life in heaven will be. Heaven will have the most beautiful trees, the clearest waters, the tastiest food, and the most engaging activities. And best of all, we will all be living together in complete peace and happiness with our God, Jesus.
Boring? Not even close!