How would I react to an evangelist knocking on my door? I thought about this, and wrote up this fictional dialogue. It is quite long, so I’ve divided it up into parts which I will post separately.
Evangelist: Good morning, sir. Sorry to bug you.
Kevin: Hello. What can I do for you?
E: Can I ask you a spiritual question?
K: Uh, oh.
E: What if you were to die tonight, and stand before God, and he asks you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” What would you say?
K: I think I might ask, “God, what makes you think I would like to enter your heaven?”
E: Er. . .
K: Heaven is for eternity, right? And it is supposed to be perfect?
E: Of course. There will be no tears, pain, sorrow or sin. Everything will be good. Now, getting back to standing before God: if we read Romans 3:23 –
K: Sorry to interrupt. But I just want to make a humble point here. If someone shows you an incredible act of kindness, how do you feel?
E: An act of kindness?
K: Sure. Lets say your car runs out of petrol on the side of the road, and after many cars have passed you by, a stranger stops to help. He rides to the nearest station and gets you a canister of petrol. How would you feel?
E: I will be very appreciative of his kind act.
K: Why would you feel that way?
E: Well, he has gone out of his way to help another person. What has this to do with heaven?
K: Bear with me. You say he has gone out of his way. What do you mean by that statement?
E: Well, he could have just driven past and ignored me. That would have been the easiest thing to do. But he chose to help.
K: So, in a sense you are saying that the act of kindness has value because the man chose to be kind.
K: Do you think this will be the case in heaven?
E: In heaven, my Ferrari will never run out of petrol.
K: No, what I mean is, do you think you will appreciate acts of kindness in heaven?
E: I can’t think why not.
K: Let me tell you why I don’t think you will. You have already answered the question to why humans value positive human attributes like kindness, love and compassion. We value these because they are voluntary. A person who shows love could have easily been cruel, right? However, you have also said that there will be no cruelty, jealously or any kind of sin in heaven.
E: That’s what the Bible says: Revelation 21:27 says that nothing impure will enter heaven.
K: If this is the case, then everyone will automatically love everyone else, nobody will be able to choose to be cruel, nasty or jealous – simply because these attributes will no longer exist. In this sense love will loose all of its value.
E: Carry on.
K: But it’s not only love that will suffer as a result of perfection. In heaven, how can someone be truly courageous in the absence of fear? How can someone build character without experiencing hardship? How can anyone in heaven possess gifts and talents if everyone is perfect? If there is no bad, how can anyone appreciate or measure good? Attributes such as courage, happiness, goodness, creativity, inspiration and joy will become absolutely meaningless in a perfect world. By gaining perfection in paradise, we will loose all the contrasting attributes that make us human.
E: I never thought of that before.
K: I have. And that is one of the reasons why I don’t want to enter your God’s heaven.
To be continued . . .
(This post was inspired by the article, Why There Are no Flowers in Heaven)