How Can We Picture Heaven?

Christians frequently fail to picture what Heaven will be like. Movies often portray Heaven as a silly place with people floating on clouds and angels playing harps. But we know from the Bible that the eternal Heaven will be centered around a transformed and reconstituted Earth. If that’s the case, then maybe Heaven is a little easier to picture.

Randy Alcorn offers some very practical advice to the person who cannot picture what Heaven will be like. In his book, aptly named Heaven, Alcorn explains that in order to get a picture of Heaven, “you don’t need to look up at the clouds ; you simply need to look around you and imagine what all this would be like without sin and death and suffering and corruption.”

He continues:

When I anticipate my first glimpse of Heaven, I remember the first time I went snorkeling. I saw countless fish of every shape, size, and color. And just when I thought I’d seen the most beautiful fish, along came another even more striking. Etched in my memory is a certain sound— the sound of a gasp going through my rubber snorkel as my eyes were opened to that breathtaking underwater world.

I imagine our first glimpse of Heaven will cause us to similarly gasp in amazement and delight. That first gasp will likely be followed by many more as we continually encounter new sights in that endlessly wonderful place. And that will be just the beginning, because we will not see our real eternal home— the New Earth— until after the resurrection of the dead. And it will be far better than anything we’ve seen.

So how can we get a preview of Heaven?

So look out a window. Take a walk. Talk with your friend. Use your God-given skills to paint or draw or build a shed or write a book. But imagine it—all of it— in its original condition. The happy dog with the wagging tail, not the snarling beast, beaten and starved. The flowers unwilted, the grass undying, the blue sky without pollution. People smiling and joyful, not angry, depressed, and empty.

If you’re not in a particularly beautiful place, close your eyes and envision the most beautiful place you’ve ever been— complete with palm trees, raging rivers, jagged mountains, waterfalls, or snow drifts. Think of friends or family members who loved Jesus and are with him now. Picture them with you, walking together in this place. All of you have powerful bodies, stronger than those of an Olympic decathlete. You are laughing, playing, talking, and reminiscing. You reach up to a tree to pick an apple or orange. You take a bite. It’s so sweet that it’s startling. You’ve never tasted anything so good.

Now you see someone coming toward you. It’s Jesus, with a big smile on his face. You fall to your knees in worship. He pulls you up and embraces you. At last, you’re with the person you were made for, in the place you were made to be. Everywhere you go there will be new people and places to enjoy, new things to discover. What’s that you smell? A feast. A party’s ahead. And you’re invited. There’s exploration and work to be done— and you can’t wait to get started.

Sign me up. I can’t wait to get there.