Throughout the ages, the afterlife has been pictured in many different ways—more ways than we can possibly list here. Christians alone have pictured heaven as:
- The endless pleasure of intelligent and witty conversation with other angels
- Perpetual feasting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the twelve Apostles
- Relaxing in the everlasting springtime of garden paradises while breathing in the fragrant odors of beautiful flowers and enjoying the delicate taste of delectable fruits
- Ruling over the masses as fabulously wealthy and powerful kings and queens
- Praising and glorifying God to all eternity in vast, ornate cathedrals, complete with powerful organ music and inspiring hymns sung with thousands of fellow worshipers
In more recent years, under the influence of near-death experiences together with the mystical strains of various eastern religions, conceptions of the afterlife have grown even more fantastic. One account has us flying on the wings of giant psychedelic butterflies through vast Technicolor panoramas. Or, as inhabitants of the astral realms, we may be seen as diaphanous beings of light wafting around and through one another as we engage in mysterious dances that manifest the harmony of the spheres.
Now, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with any of these activities. For the most part, they’re harmless enough—though I’m not so sure about all those kings and queens! And I have it on good authority that whatever our idea of the afterlife may be, we’re given the opportunity to try it out after we die, and see how we like it.
Even for people who have a less fantastical idea of what the afterlife might be like, I suspect that it’s common to think that death will bring about huge changes in our life.
Perhaps it will.
But I’m here to tell you that the afterlife will not be as different as you think. In fact, in the ways that count the most, the afterlife will be a seamless continuation of whatever your life has been here.
That should get us to thinking about just what we’re doing with our life here on earth.
Let’s look at the afterlife based on:
- the Bible,
- rational thought, and
- human experience.