What is Heaven Like?
by Pat Steel
In my first post, I wrote about heaven being a real place, a physical place. As for our new resurrected bodies, we have the example of Jesus. When He rose from the grave He received a real physical body. He challenged the disciples to touch him, to examine the wounds in his hands and feet. He asked them for some broiled fish to eat, so they could see he was not an apparition. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul tells us a little about what our new bodies will be like.
Aside from the biblical information describing heaven and the witnesses found in the Bible that testify to the reality of heaven, we need faith to believe it. Without faith to believe what the bible reveals about heaven it is only a wish or a dream, something nice to think about but never going to be.
In Hebrews 11:1 we read, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV). Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (ESV).
Faith is needed because no matter how hard I try, regardless of the number of good arguments I can present, and despite the overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Bible, I cannot prove any of it to anyone.
Faith is needed to believe it, to believe what the Bible proclaims and to live our lives in anticipation of what God has in store. However, to refuse to believe in God, his word and what he reveals to us requires the same amount of faith. No one can prove God does not exist.
So how do we get this faith? How do we develop it in our lives and how does our faith get stronger?
In an effort to keep this simple, I will avoid using foreign languages (no Greek or Hebrew), no fancy theological words and no deep philosophical ideas. The first way to develop our faith is through enquiry and study, it is not a leap in the dark. Jesus invited Thomas to examine his wounds from the cross.
Talk with people you know and trust who have a relationship with God and a personal knowledge of the Bible. Ask them about their faith, how God has shown himself to be trustworthy to them. If you trust these people to recommend a good doctor or lawyer or even a good restaurant for a fancy occasion, then their comments about God, and his word should have some credibility with you.
The next part of enquiry and study is to investigate the bible for yourself. Many people claim the bible has continually changed over time, but have you looked into it yourself?
When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found they discovered a complete scroll of Isaiah. This scroll was dated around 125 BC. When compared with the then oldest known scroll (950 AD approx), they learned there was virtually no difference between the two copies, though written 1000 years apart from each other. They also discovered fragments and manuscripts from every book in the Old Testament with the exception of Esther.
One of many possible sites to go to is Probe Ministries – down the left-hand side column is an article entitled “The dead sea scrolls”. This and other articles are written by well-educated and respected people in their field of study.
I almost forgot the best way to achieve faith in God. Don’t pass this one up! Ask God for faith to believe him.
Patrick Steel has been married for 28 years. Father of four children, two on their own now and two at home. He is presently a Chaplain at Centennial Place Long Term Nursing Care Home in Millbrook, ON and an Ordained Minister with the P.A.O.C.