I have no experience beyond what we all experience as being alive: I am self-aware, my body carries out its functions, I experience a range of sensations and emotions and so forth. It is not all good, but it certainly isn’t all that bad either. At present, given the choice, I would choose to remain alive. But it doesn’t take too much imagination to image something better, and what if there are experiences that I can’t even imagine because I have no frame of reference?
Paul, who had an out of body experience, throws out an intriguing phrase in 1 Timothy 6:
As for the rich in the present age, charge them not to be haughty,, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasures for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life.
What does God have in store for those that He saves? Can there be a life so good that it would seem ridiculous to call our current experience “life”? Imagine life free of pain, illness, hunger, thirst, exhaustion, boredom. Imagine interacting with God face-to-face. Imagine an existence with rich relationships with everyone: no conflicts, biases, loneliness or alienation. These are just things readily imaginable.
There also can be breathtaking beauty. Even in this world, you can see the creative genius of God and it is gorgeous. Look into deep space and you can see God’s creative outlets, there for us to see from afar. What beauty will surround us in Heaven and the New Earth?
The Timothy text speaks of “treasures”. If you understand Scripture at all, you understand that we don’t deserve or earn a place with God. We are sinners. We deserve exile. But the death of Jesus gives us a place with God. It is a gift. It is grace. No further treasure beyond admittance should be expected, but the Bible frequently speaks of treasure and reward for faithful stewardship of what God gives us. What could this treasure be? Whatever it is, Jesus makes it clear that it is worth any sacrifice or suffering experienced here.
As we get closer to the end of our life on Earth, few of us are as forward thinking as we should be. Because of our limited experience we long for the past and prefer to stay here, even if we are in pain. The Words of the Bible try to turn us around to think about a future that is truly life. Even the experiences of those who have had out of body experiences of Heaven affirm that the sights, sounds and feelings they had far outstrip the experiences of this life.
In length, in quality, in richness of experience, there is more. There is life that is “truly life”, and Jesus makes it possible.
Check out my other blog, “Giving Christ”, which has many more articles about the role of Jesus and the power of God’s plan, the Gospel.Giving Christ