Wouldn't heaven a place without suffering and pain be boring?

(Anas Ansari) #1

If heaven is the place with no suffering and pain, isn’t that place will be boring and remove the joy of life if we all experience top level of joy and pleasure with God automatically, what meaning would our lives will have then. And does the Bible talks about this issue? If yes please address in your reply, thank you.

(SeanO) #2

@HeroGuy Thank you for that question. I would ask an initial question in response:

Is suffering required in this life in order to have a good time? I think the resounding answer is no - hanging out at the beach with friends or family, sitting around a campfire, talking late into the night - none of those require suffering and are filled with earthly joy.

Regarding whether or not Heaven will be boring, there can be a few points of confusion:

1 - Heaven is not a disembodied existence - the Scriptures promise a resurrected body in a New Heavens and Earth. We will still eat food, dance, sing and many believe even have culture and civilization. Heaven is not about doing nothing - it is a new creation without the brokenness of sin, where we can labor without toil and rejoice without the threat of sorrow.
2 - If God created this world in which we have so much joy, why would we think Him incapable of creating a new world with much more joy in the absence of suffering?
3 - Where did all of the things we enjoy - friendship, romantic love, meaningful labor - come from? They came from God - every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of lights (James 1:17). Heaven will be the absence of evil and the presence of every good thing!
4 - God’s presence itself is joy - a deep and abiding joy that is beyond speaking of or understanding.

2 Peter 3:13 - According to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Corinthians 4:17 - For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…

Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Lewis in ‘Letters to Malcolm’

Here is a quote from C. S. Lewis talking about how our deepest joys here on earth - sitting around a campfire, dancing, laughing over a meal with friends - are only a dim shadow of the joy we will have in Heaven as we delight in God and one another.

“I do not think that the life of Heaven bears any analogy to play or dance in respect of frivolity. I do think that while we are in this ‘valley of tears,’ cursed with labour, hemmed round with necessities, tripped up with frustrations, doomed to perpetual plannings, puzzlings, and anxieties, certain qualities that must belong to the celestial condition have no chance to get through, can project no image of themselves, except in activities which, for us here and now, are frivolous.

For surely we must suppose the life of the blessed to be an end in itself, indeed The End: to be utterly spontaneous; to be the complete reconciliation of boundless freedom with order–with the most delicately adjusted, supple, intricate, and beautiful order?

How can you find any image of this in the ‘serious’ activities either of our natural or of our (present) spiritual life? Either in our precarious and heart-broken affections or in the Way which is always, in some degree, a via crucis ?

No, Malcolm. It is only in our ‘hours-off,’ only in our moments of permitted festivity, that we find an analogy. Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we were place here to live.

But in this world everything is upside down. That which , if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”

–C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harvest, 1964), 92-93.

Lewis in ‘The Last Battle’

In ‘The Last Battle’ by C. S. Lewis, here is a description of Heaven as the beginning of a never ending summer holiday - where every day is better than the one before. I highly recommend reading this book - he has some brilliant depictions of the joys of Heaven - ‘further up and further in’.

“You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be,” [Aslan said].

Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”

“No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Have you not guessed?”

Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them….

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.

And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

The Joy of God’s Presence

In Heaven God’s presence will be all pervasive and anyone who has approached God’s presence knows the joy of such an encounter - the hint of glory and beauty beyond human comprehension.

Revelation 21:23 - The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Psalms 27:4 - One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

“Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror - indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy - but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august presence was very, very near.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

“Unattainability. The most intense joy lies not in the having, but in
the desiring. The delight that never fades, the bliss that is eternal,
is only yours when what you most desire is just out of your reach.” C. S. Lewis

Tim Keller - God Brings the Wine

Tim Keller points out based on the miracle of water into wine that God is the Lord of the feast.

Ravi on Fictional Good vs Fictional Evil

Oftentimes in fiction we are not shown the joy an delight of true goodness rooted in God. Rather, in fiction being good is portrayed as boring. That could not be further from the truth! In reality evil is monotonous and boring and goodness is full of life and beautiful and true. Heaven is Goodness - God Himself.

“Malcolm Muggeridge quoting Simone Weil said that in reality nothing is so beautiful as the good and nothing so monotonous and boring as evil. In our imagination, however, it’s reversed: Fictional good is boring and flat; fictional evil is varied, intriguing, attractive, full of charm.” -Ravi Zacharias

Are those thoughts helpful? The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you study. Feel free to ask more questions.