I have been wrestling with some questions that were posed to me in a recent conversation. I wasn’t sure then, and am not sure now how to answer what I believe. I’ve researched scripture and in doing so more questions came to my mind. So I sit here more confused and less sure of what I believe.
I was asked what is Heaven, where is Heaven, when will we get there, and what will we do for eternity. I thought I knew. I thought I could surely rattle off my beliefs. I found myself spouting scripture I knew, imaginings I had, in hopes that I was speaking intelligently and with conviction; but no, I was merely babbling and rambling and finding myself in a mire of indecision.
What started as a casual conversation turned into words of depth I had really not considered seriously. I was stumped. I became unclear in my own thoughts. I have not been able to drop those questions from my mind. I decided to go to scripture for answers. I have come away with less not more.
Am I saying I have doubts, yes. Am I saying my beliefs have been challenged, yes. Yet I feel blessed at this time of my life to ponder these questions. I am thankful for this conversation, it stimulated my mind and sent me to Your Word, Dear Lord. That could never be a bad thing.
I will start with the first question, “What is Heaven?” I lay out scripture and beliefs that have comforted me.
One thought interjected, whispered, assured me that the Bible was not intended to show us how to die, but to give us a manual, a textbook, words of Truth, telling me how to live.
I offer some of what I found. I am still searching for answers, but have decided complete understanding is not mine to know.
I went to two creeds I have recited since I learned to read.
Apostles’ Creed: Traditional Version of the United Methodist Church
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Scripture that helped me.
John 14:2 Easy-to-Read Version
There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
Isaiah 66:1-2 Easy-to-Read Version
This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is where I rest my feet.
So do you think you can build a house for me?
Do I need a place to rest?
I am the one who made all things.
They are all here because I made them,” says the Lord.
“These are the people I care for:
the poor, humble people who obey my commands.”
Revelation 21: 3-8 Easy-to-Read Version
3 I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”
5 The one who was sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.”
6 The one on the throne said to me, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give free water from the spring of the water of life to anyone who is thirsty. 7 All those who win the victory will receive all this. And I will be their God, and they will be my children. 8 But those who are cowards, those who refuse to believe, those who do terrible things, those who kill, those who sin sexually, those who do evil magic, those who worship idols, and those who tell lies—they will all have a place in the lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
“I Believe” is a popular song written by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman in 1953.