Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can
Create Heaven on Earth
I've asked people to list the Top 10 reasons they're glad to be alive in 2004 instead of 1804. Here are some of the answers I've been given:
One person answered, "machines." I wanted a more specific answer, so I asked, "Which ones?"
"All of them," he replied. "I like machines."
"You like to build machines, or do you like using machines?" I probed.
"Both. I'm not as good a carpenter as those who lived a couple hundred years ago, but with my machines I can have a better day than 10 of them put together. And I only have to work for 1/10 the time to buy one of these machines. Some of them may have existed 100 years ago, but only the very richest could afford them. I'm just an average guy, but I have tools that kings could only dream of two centuries ago."
We truly have a lot to be grateful for.
Living in an industrialized society, each of us is able to raise the standard of living for others every day we're on the job, to a degree that people living two or three centuries ago could never imagine. Most people couldn't explain what makes industrial society and its benefits possible. Paul talked about it in 1 Corinthians 14: The Division of Labor. We can sum it up in a word: capitalism.
I'd like to take the answers I received in my surveys and put them in a chart. I'm expanding the answers a bit.
|Things human beings enjoy doing in 2004 that they couldn't enjoy in 1804||Things human beings will enjoy doing even more in Heaven|
|harvesting more food in a day than 100 slaves could produce all season long.|
|keeping my family comfortable by warming up the house -- without having to chop wood and breathe ashes.|
|cooling off the house with the push of a button|
|having healthy teeth|
|traveling on a 4-lane highway, arriving at my destination hours, maybe days, before I would have in 1804|
|flying in a Boeing 757|
|driving safely in a car made of steel|
|living safely in a home that can withstand a moderate earthquake or severe storm|
|having pure drinking water available with the twist of a wrist|
|keeping food fresh with refrigeration|
|having hot water available at all times, for only pennies|
|enjoying good health with the help of antibiotics|
|enjoying the benefits of instant electricity|
|doing more and producing more with gasoline engines|
|completing assignments, making calculations, designing buildings, learning about the world around me, aided by computers|
|watching a NASCAR race|
|learning and being entertained by television; seeing important events around the world as they happen|
|The Division of Labor: Producing one item and being able to chose from 50,000 items made by others and sold at Wal-Mart.|
|eradicating diseases like smallpox, polio, with vaccines|
|preparing food quickly with microwave ovens|
|watching the Lord of Rings (the movie) in Dolby® stereo|
|watching Alabama (the band) in the front row of an arena with 10,000 other fans|
|eradicating pests and disease with DDT|
|bringing a symphony orchestra into my living room with a stereo CD.|
Most people have a hard time putting something in the right-hand column that is as satisfying as the answers in the left-hand column. This is partly because the answers in the left-hand column reflect our basic nature: exercising dominion over the earth.
So what's so great about heaven?
I'll pose the question to you in another way: What can you put in the right-hand column that future scientists could not possibly be able to provide in a century or two? What will human beings be doing in heaven than is inconceivable for us to be doing in this life, in this present age? What will human beings be able to do in heaven that human beings will not be able to do in another 200 years? What is it about the nature of reality, and the nature of human beings, that we cannot do it on earth, but can only do it in heaven?
The man who looks forward to getting his leg back in heaven is not looking forward to anything that science cannot provide in the next century. Do you suppose a couple of centuries ago people said they were looking forward to dying and going to heaven so that they could get rid of their toothache?
Why do you look forward to substituting heaven for life on earth rather than making further progress in our task of dominion? Why have Christians given up on creating heaven on earth?
Another reason people find it hard to fill in the right-hand side of the chart is that the Bible really doesn't say much about heaven. Most of what we "know" about heaven is myth. Playing harps, bouncing on clouds: not really in the Bible.
The more I read the whole Bible and the less I listen to evangelists who only talk about heaven, the more I feel that we should be focused on bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven on earth rather than abandoning earth and spending a lounging eternity in heaven playing a harp.
The Good Old Days by Gary North
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