“ The wonder of the new heaven and the new earth is not in the first instance that you may link up with your mother who has gone on ahead. Undoubtedly there will be a reunion of the people of God. But the Bible says very little about such reunions compared with how much it says about the sheer God-centered, spectacular, unimaginable glory that will be ours forever as we contemplate God in his perfections. All the other biblical descriptions of the final state, everything that is said in other parts of the Bible about the work we will do and about our increased joy and responsibility and about the peacefulness of everything (“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them,” says Isa. 11:6), as wonderful as these prospects may be, they all pale in comparison of this vision of the sheer Godhood of God, which consumes us and empowers us and leaves us perpetually transformed.
…...when I drive, (going to a speaking engagement) I bring lots of music, and my musical tastes are painfully eclectic. Not too long ago I was listening to Roger Whittaker, a folk singer whose trademark is to sing the folk songs of many different parts of the world. On this recording he sang a folk song from Canada, which immediately perked up my ears. He sang a song of Cape Breton. The song describes the location in extravagant lyrical terms. In the last stanza Whittaker sings that if he could end his time perfectly, God’s gift of heaven would be made up of three: My love, Cape Breton, and me.
And I thought to myself, “My dear Roger, you just defined hell”. Roger and his “love” would breed like rabbits, sinners still. Pretty soon you’d have Cain and Abel all over again, and another downward spiral. God’s gift of heaven would be made up of three? He is still thinking in entirely self-focused terms: his love, his preference for Cape Breton, and himself. Absolutely nothing about God - which means that idolatry reigns.
In the Bible what the song calls “God’s gift of heaven” is first and foremost consumed with the centrality of God such that for the first time without any exceptions or caveats or failures, we will know by experience what it means to obey what Jesus calls the most important commandment: to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength. And we will be so transformed in this beatific vision that we will know by experience what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves.” (Carson,2010)
Carson, D.A. (2010) “The God Who Is There – Finding Your Place in God’s Story” Chapter 14, Baker Books,pgs. 223-24.