Interacting with God in Eternity

Today, especially if you are living as a disciple of Jesus, you interact with God. At the most basic level, God keeps you and the universe you live in functioning. God is aware of your actions and thoughts. He hears your prayer, considers your situation, and moves in this world for your well-being. You can experience God teaching you when you study the Bible. You can experience God working through you when you step out to serve. It’s good but it is not what we would like.

We want to see Jesus and touch Him. We would like to see and feel the Father and the Holy Spirit. Will we?

The best and certainly the most underrated blessing of eternal life with God is the interaction we will have with God in Heaven and in the New Earth. What will that be like?

My understanding is that we will always be a creature that is in one place at a time. There will be no omnipresence for us even in Heaven. That said, I understand the Bible to say that we will ultimately have a very vast domain to explore: a recreated universe (not just a planet) and the whole domain of Heaven. With that I would infer that our means of movement will be greatly enhanced; but no matter where we go, Jesus will be near us. That will be a great blessing.

Right now, Jesus is with us as well, but we don’t perceive that. After we leave this life, Jesus in His already resurrected body will speak with us, comfort us, guide us first just in Heaven and then after Judgment Day everywhere.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Revelation 7:17 (ESV)

What about the other persons of the Trinity? It is true that when you encounter Jesus, you encounter them all, but will we specifically experience the Father or the Holy Spirit?

Jesus is still the incarnate Son of God. While omnipresent, He has a specific, human form. The Father and the Holy Spirit are spirit(s). I believe that means that they can take on forms but are not specific in their appearance.

One way we will experience the Holy Spirit is as the waters of the River of Life.

 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Revelation 22:1

I don’t think this river is just something to look at. I expect that it is something to experience. We will wade into the river of Life and experience an interaction with the Spirit unlike anything we have in this life.

It would not be surprising if we encounter the Spirit in many forms, including human form. It will make for a uniquely beautiful relationship.

How will we experience the Father?

 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Revelation 22:3-4

The curse is attributed as being the cause of many woes in this life: illness, natural disasters, defects in genetics, really anything that is not directly caused by sin. But what is it? I think it is just God stepping back a bit from the controls (Not stepping away). The world operates out of sync. It is a part of our rejection of Him as God. The curse also phases in (in Genesis) as people lose the face-to-face interaction with God. In Heaven and the New Earth, that will no longer be an issue.

There we will see the Father’s “face”. Does He have a face being a spirit? I’m not sure. What we will behold will be glorious. How we will behold it is still a mystery. Seeing God’s face implies a broader and more personal interaction. It is not just reserved for when we enter His throne room.

The experience of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will be the pinnacle experience of eternal life. The limited revelation we have and our best speculations I’m sure don’t come near to describing it. There is value, however, in trying to imagine what will come. It keeps us looking forward. There is also value in making the most of the interaction that we can have now. That sense of personal relationship with God keeps us strong in the faith.

Author: tdwenig

Tom is the Senior Pastor of the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Evansville, IN. He has served his congregation since 2000. He has a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO

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