Is it possible for eternal life to be boring? Will we tire of the “endless day” and the “unending now” of heaven? Might it be better not to live forever, as atheists often think?
By Derrick Huestis
Several years ago, I had a conversation with an atheist friend of mine about God and heaven. He mentioned to me that in his mind, to live for an eternity would be very boring. To him it would seem that he would accomplish any and all of his dreams, wants and desires and would be left with nothing thereafter. But would this really be the case? Does God truly wish us to live for an eternity and become bored, with nothing left to do as we have done it all? The best answer to this question seems to be through understanding God as being a God who makes all things new.
The only thing you can become bored of are the things which are old. The things which are old you’ve experienced. The things that are old you already know about. The things which are old can bring you no knew joys, no new experiences, no new feelings. They can’t bring any surprises. The things which are old have little to offer. Maybe just a recollection of what was. But we aren’t to live an eternity pointed backwards. We aren’t to spend an eternity contemplating what was as if there were nothing in the present, nor anything into an infinity in the future. If we’re truly to live an eternity with God it isn’t an eternity living what was, but what is, and what is to come. What is to come is not now. What is to come is that which will be. It is not to be known, because you can only know what is. But if it has not yet come, then it can’t be known. It brings us surprises. It brings us a new rejuvenation of experience.
This seems to be what God has destined for us. It is why heaven can never become old, because heaven is always new. The best analogy to understand this reality is to look at the course of humanity on this earth over the past several thousand years. Do we play the songs that they would have played 3,000 years ago? Perhaps with the psalms in the bible, when you hear them sung in the church. But even then, it is different. We’re not sitting with David, listening to the psalms in the original language, accompanied with a harp. It has been made new. A new language, a new way of singing, new instrumental accompaniment. Even though they might be the psalms of old, they have been made new.
What about the secular songs, do we play the secular songs of 200 years ago? What has happened to music over that course of time, have we not made it new? What about language? Do I speak now to you with many thee’s and thou’s? Or has language been changed, and made new? All language is constantly made new, not just English. Spanish, Arabic, French, German—all language changes over time. It’s why there’s so many languages that exist—because it never stops changing, it’s always made new. Do we still move around with horses? Or what about prior to when we were able to use horses for transportation? They say that during the time of the ancient Egyptian dynasties they used chariots because the horses were too small to carry the weight of humans. They were later bred to be bigger to be able to carry us, but that’s not the size horses were previously. Did we not breed to make a new horse? And when the time and technology allowed it, did we not replace even that with the modern vehicle? But even vehicles didn’t stay the same. The Fords of today are far different from the Fords of old. We have made it new.
This is the thing about knowledge, it’s the thing about experience—it never ends. It’s always made new. Could you learn how to make a website 200 years ago? You could not. Could you learn how to ride a horse before they had ever been domesticated and bred large enough to carry us? No, you could not. Could you know how to train a dog before wolves had ever been bred into dogs? No, you could not. Could you know how to drive before they made cars? No, you could not. Does that mean that those from generations prior who did not know how to drive were lacking in knowledge? No, because that knowledge was unobtainable for their generation. But once it had been created, the knowledge of it could then ensue. Subsequently, knowledge and experience aren’t finite. They do not have an end but are never-ending and infinite.
We can see the allusion to this in this world here, but how much more perfect will it be in heaven? Why? Because of the beneficence of God. The things of this world are put together with atoms. Atoms are a creation of God stemming from his beneficence. He created it. Can he create something different than atoms? Can he construct life out of materials that are different than this world? If you believe in a spiritual existence other than the material world you must necessarily believe this to be so. God’s ability to create is never-ending. This is important for us to recognize when we ask, “What will heaven be like?” Heaven is a place of infinite experience. Heaven is a place of infinite knowledge. Heaven is a place of infinite possibility. The only thing that is not possible in heaven is that which works contrary to the infinite—sin. Sin will be a thing of the past, it will be old and those who are saved will gladly forget about it. But new creation, new learning and new experience will be ours to enjoy for an eternity. Can you ever get bored of that? I know I won’t.
“What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9