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Creation magazine print - 1 yr new subn


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The Creation Answers Book
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Feedback archiveFeedback 2001

Can Heaven be ‘true bliss’?

From Mr S.Y. [Ed. note: four years later, he informed us that this particular letter was in fact written in his sophomore year of high school, and has since changed his ideology to belief in a higher power and self-identifies as a Jew]. A response by Dr Jonathan Sarfati immediately follows his letter, first in its entirety.


I would like to first state that I am of no religious or atheistic sect at this time, and do keep my mind open to different opinions. As of today I have both contended and agreed with many views of Christianity, but one question has been left unanswered. My theory is that a being or conscience thought cannot exist in pure bliss alone. I have been told that Christianity’s Idea of heaven is a place of eternal bliss, a place where no problems occur. However, in my theory, man lives solely for the purpose of bettering his life. When a man is born, he first may feel short of breath. To counter act this discomfort he breaths. This is a simple necessity for living, and therefore battling discomfort results in life. This explains the impossibility of pure bliss in the physical realm, but what about mentally? It is my theory that the mind is based solely around the ability to problem solve. This means that the mind is made to satisfy the means of life. Now, if the mind were to live on past the body and travel to a state of pure bliss, the mind would have no need to work, or problem solve, and therefore would not function. Now, this entire theory may work in a time/space realm, but you have stated in your Q&A sections that God’s domain may be in a place of no time/space, and therefore the body or chronological mind would not exist, just a perpetual bliss. But this realm is beyond the ability of human comprehension. Then one could contort that bliss is an emotion of time/space, so the realm of god would not contain an emotion of time/space. How would one explain then the supposed “pure bliss” of heaven?

I would like to first state that I am of no religious or atheistic sect at this time, and do keep my mind open to different opinions.

Unfortunately, many use ‘open-mindedness’ as a lame excuse for not making decisions about some of the most important things in life. I hope you are not one of those people. G.K. Chesterton put it well when he said that an open mind is like an open mouth—only good when it has something of substance to chomp on.

As of today I have both contended and agreed with many views of Christianity, but one question has been left unanswered. My theory is that a being or conscience thought cannot exist in pure bliss alone.

You fail to present evidence for your theory, which you need to do before you should expect Christians to answer it.

I have been told that Christianity’s Idea of heaven is a place of eternal bliss, a place where no problems occur. However, in my theory, man lives solely for the purpose of bettering his life.

But the whole idea of ‘bettering’ implies an objective standard of goodness as a goal. How can your theory explain this? Otherwise it’s like seeking with no possibility of finding.

When a man is born, he first may feel short of breath. To counter act this discomfort he breaths [sic]. This is a simple necessity for living, and therefore battling discomfort results in life.

For what purpose? It seems very circular: battling discomfort results in life, whose sole function is to battle discomfort.

This explains the impossibility of pure bliss in the physical realm,

It explains nothing, because there is neither evidence for your theory or for that which it purports to explain. That is, how can you be sure that pure bliss is impossible in the physical realm, when your entire experience is in a fallen world?

but what about mentally?
It is my theory that the mind is based solely around the ability to problem solve. This means that the mind is made to satisfy the means of life. Now, if the mind were to live on past the body and travel to a state of pure bliss, the mind would have no need to work, or problem solve, and therefore would not function.

But this presupposes that your theory has any basis whatever. The biblical teaching is that the human mind was made to have fellowship with God for eternity. In this fallen world, problems indeed have a role in helping us grow, but it would be a mistake to extrapolate to a world without sin.

The theory also fails to explain the mind of God, who knows everything, therefore nothing is a problem for Him, therefore His mind must function in the absence of problem-solving. But the biblical teaching ‘God is lovedoes explain it—in the timeless state commonly referred to as Eternity Past ‘before’ the creation of the physical universe, the being of God existed in perfect love between the three Persons of the Trinity.

Now, this entire theory may work in a time/space realm, but you have stated in your Q&A sections that God’s domain may be in a place of no time/space, and therefore the body or chronological mind would not exist, just a perpetual bliss. But this realm is beyond the ability of human comprehension.

The last sentence is true. Jesus gave us enough imagery to encourage us that heaven, with fellowship with God for eternity, is a far greater form of happiness than anything we can conceive on earth. It is far more sensible to trust Him than to complain that it’s beyond human comprehension.

 

Then one could contort that bliss is an emotion of time/space, so the realm of god would not contain an emotion of time/space. How would one explain then the supposed “pure bliss” of heaven?

What is there to explain? We can hardly answer a question when the questioner has not demonstrated the cogency of his question!

Please consider that the only way you can come to know the truth is that someone that knows the truth reveals it to you. Otherwise, we are just groping in the dark, in a sea of relativeness. If life is a giant cosmic accident, as many believe today, then life has no meaning and purpose.

You cannot get purpose from a chance assemblage of atoms! The Bible claims to the the revelation of the Creator of all to mankind, the creatures specially made ‘in His image’. Jesus Christ, the one through whom the Bible says all things were made, said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6). In other words, you will never know the truth unless you come to Jesus. You will never find the truth through mind games, only through submitting humbly to your Creator, asking for His forgiveness for your sin of having lived life as if He did not exist (when the evidence is all around you that He does exist—Romans 1:20).

We would, humbly but strongly, suggest reading (or re-reading, if that is pertinent) John’s Gospel in the New Testament, as a beginning point to getting to the truth of the Gospel. This of course depends on the first few chapters of Genesis that explain creation and the origin of sin and death.

Dr Jonathan Sarfati


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