I'm slowly moving through the Heaven book. Loving it, but moving slow. Summer breaks are never as endless as they seem!
What I read today is something I love to think about and remember. Thought it worth sharing. Show of hands.... post comment if you have read "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn, or are planning to read it in the next few months. What did you think of the book if you did read it? Have you read any of his fiction? What did you think of it?
The more I get caught up in heaven, the more I see how people could see me as insane. I mean, let's be real here... those wonderful extremist are willing to blow themselves up for the truckload of virgins on the other side right? (how disappointed THEY shall be!) Are we in the same quack category as they are? Well, I guess it's easy to think of believers as nuts because of one thing....
The enemy has bestowed on us with our sin nature a spell of naturalism. Here is Alcorn:
"C.S. Lewis depicts another source of our misconceptions about Heaven: naturalism, the belief that the world can be understood in scientific terms, without recourse to spiritual or supernatural explanations.
In The Silver Chair, Puddleglum, Jill, and Eustace are captured in a sunless underground world by an evil witch who calls herself the queen of the underworld. The witch claims that her prisoners' memories of the overword, Narnia, are but figments of their imagination . She laughs condescendingly at their child's game of "pretending" that there's a world above and a great ruler of that world.
When they speak of the sun that's visible in the world above, she asks them what a sun is. Groping for words, they compare it to a giant lamp. She replies, 'When you try to think out clearly what this sun must be, you cannot tell me. You can only tell me it is like a lamp. your sun is a dream; and there is nothing in that dream that was not copied from the lamp.'
When they speak of Aslan the lion, king of Narnia, she says they have seen cats and have merely projected those images not the make-believe notion of a giant cat. They begin to waver.
The queen, who hates Aslan and wishes to conquer Narnia, tries to deceive them into thinking that whatever they cannot perceive with their senses must be imaginary- which is the essence of naturalism. The longer they are unable to see the world they remember, the more they lose sight of it.
She says to them, hypnotically, 'There never was any world but mine,' and they repeat after her, abandoning reason, parroting her deceptions. Then she coos softly, 'There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan.' This illustrates Satan's power to mold our weak minds as we are trapped in a dark, fallen world. We're prone to deny the great realities of God and the Heaven, which we can no longer see because of the Curse."
Now.... here is the part I love....that I sat across the dinning room table when my dad was still sitting up, and read to him. He was discouraged and tempted to doubt at the very door of death whether all he had put his faith into was what he would find when he walked through that door... I read this:
"Finally when it appears they succumbed tot he queen's lies, Puddleglum breaks the spell and says to the enraged queen, 'Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things- trees and grass and sun and moon and starts and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that.... the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow.'"
(oh, man, don't you just LOVE Lewis!!!! The astounding thing about Lewis is his endless imagery of the gospel hidden in his fiction and each time you read it you seem to peel back another layer and see more! How does he do that? And yet, on the whole, it is an amazing children's work to boot! Amazing.)
Alcorn goes on to say that the things in that world (lamp and cats) are actually reflections of the real world's sun and Aslan, not the other way around. Also, that earth is an extension of Heaven, created by the Creator, not Heaven being the extension of earth.
He then adds:
"Sometimes we're like Lewis's characters. We succumb to naturalistic assumptions that what we see is real and what we don't see isn't. God can't be real, we conclude, because we can't see him. And Heaven can't be real because we can't see it. But we must recognize our blindness. The blind must take by faith that there are stars in the sky. If they depend on their ability to see, they will conclude there are no stars.
We must work to resist the bewitching spell of naturalism. Sitting here in a dark world, we must remind ourselves what Scripture tells us about Heaven. We will one day be delivered from the blindness that separates us from the real world. we'll realize then the stupefying bewitchment fires of naturalism so that we may clearly see the liberating truth about Christ the King of Heaven, his kingdom."
One of my favorite songs is Toby Mac's "Loose My Soul" and these word are the highlight of the song (you can find the song on Youtube if you want to hear it)
Lord forgive us when we get consumed by the things of this world,
That fight for our love, and our passion,
As our eyes are open wide and on you.
Grant us the privilege of your world view,
And may your kingdom be, what wakes us up, and lays us down.