The ultimate goal for Christians is to get to Heaven after they have died. That is their final reward for living the Christian life here on Earth. The Bible gives a description of Heaven, or the rather the city of Heaven that Christians will live in the book of Revelation, chapter 21; even giving the dimensions of it's size. From the description in Revelation, Heaven sounds like a wonderful, beautiful place. It also sounds very man made.
By the dimensions given, Heaven is roughly the size of the contiguous United States, maybe a little smaller. That is pretty small compared to the immense size of the universe. But considering that most people will be going to Hell anyway, and Christians are the minority, then Heaven doesn't need to be that big. The Bible states that this city is square in shape, and surrounded by a large wall, 144 cubits high (roughly 216 feet), with 3 gates on each of the four walls, for a total of 12 gates. Of course these gates are made of pearls, with angels stationed at each one. Will the inhabitants of Heaven have a key or a pass code to this gated community? Will they be able to come and go as they please? I'm not really sure why Heaven would need a large wall surrounding it. This must be the first line of defense to keep sinners out.
The city of Heaven, and the streets thereof are described as being made of pure gold, like unto clear glass. The wall surrounding Heaven is described as being made of 12 different precious stones, layered on top of each other, kind of like Legos©. If that is the case, then each layer would be about 18 feet thick. Heaven is a place built for a king.
It is obvious that the author is trying to make Heaven sound luxurious; a place that someone with great wealth resides. The gold, precious stones, gates of pearl...These things have no true value; they are nothing more than rocks and stones polished up to be made to look pretty. These items only have value, because man gives them value. They are given value because they are rare, and not everyone can have them. It's called supply and demand. If everyone on the planet had an ample and equal amount of gold, then it wouldn't be worth diddley squat. When everyone is rich, then no one is rich.
Now, I have a few questions about what living in Heaven is going to be like. What am I going to be missing?
After Christians get there, then what? How are they going to spend eternity in the most perfect place in the universe? What are they going to do to occupy their time? Will they have jobs? Hobbies? What about pets? Eternity is a long, long, long time. Just what the hell are you going to do when you get there?
Christians claim that sin cannot enter Heaven. This is one reason you must be cleansed of sin in order to get there. If sin cannot enter Heaven, then how did Satan sin against God, and get himself thrown out? I'm assuming Lucifer had free will, and then used his free will to try and overthrow God. If Satan was able to commit such an atrocity in Heaven, then couldn't that happen again? What about man's free will? Will man have free will, or will they be like robots, which God did not want to create according to most Christians? Couldn't some holier than thou Christian...Say someone like Jerry Falwell, size up God and think to himself, "you know what, I think I can take him..." Maybe God learned his lesson, and no longer allows beings in whom he already knows (because of his omniscient's) are going to try and take over his kingdom.
The book of Revelation says that there is going to be a great war there (Rev. 12:7). How can a war happen in such a perfect place? Are Christians going to required to take up arms to help protect their lord and savior? Wouldn't this war be kind of one sided? It's supposed to the most powerful, omnipotent being in the whole universe against Satan and his minions. Couldn't God prevent this thing from happening before it even got started?
When a person gets to Heaven, how are they going to have eternal bliss, knowing that some of their loved ones are being tormented in Hell? Are your memory experiences on Earth going to be intact, or are you going to be stripped of it? Will you have Vietnam War like flashbacks?
Will you still be married to the person you were married to on Earth, provided that they go to Heaven too? What if you were married more than once, who will you be hooked up with? Does everyone get a mansion, or can you shack up with someone if you want? Will there be sex? If you can have sex, does it have to be in a monogamous relationship or is it going to be like true Heaven where you get to have many partners at once? God is supposed to be a jealous god, a vengeful god, so emotions can be experienced in Heaven. Will the people there have similar emotions?
At what age will you be when you enter Heaven? Is it the age at which you died, or will everyone be given new bodies representing an equal age?
When does a person actually go to Heaven, or Hell for that matter? Many mainstream Christians, or at least all the Christians I've known, believe that a person goes to Heaven immediately following death. They believe that a person's soul rises up out of their body and floats up to the sky to be with the Lord. When a friend or loved one dies, Christians say things like, "Well at least they are in a better place...", or "Now they are with Jesus..."
I was taught in Bible study that when Jesus comes back to Earth, all the dead that believe in him, while they were alive, will be raised up out of the grave and taken into Heaven. The living that believe in Jesus will be taken next, and those that do not believe, living or dead will be taken last. And everyone, believers and non-believers will go face judgment. So which is it? Do you go to Heaven immediately after dying or do you have to wait around for thousands of years until the day of judgment?
If Heaven does exist, and only Christians are going there, this is how I imagine it to be...I imagine God sitting on his throne that is located at the center of Heaven. All the Christians are gathered at the throne and walking around it in a counter-clockwise direction. As the Christians march around the throne, they are chanting, "Hail God, hail to the Lord, praise the Father, praise Jesus...Hail God, hail to the Lord, praise the Father, Praise Jesus...Hail God...", etc., etc., etc. This goes on forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever...This is the Christian's reward.
© 1999 Derrick Miller