Back to the Word of the Week
The Diversity of Heaven - The Book of Revelation
Week 35, 2018
The next basic thing I learned about heaven is how diverse it is. For this reason, all of my experiences together probably do not represent even a measurable percentage of the vastness of the heavenly realm. When I hear others with very different experiences of heaven, I think it is to be expected. We all see in part and know in part, so no one has the whole picture. To have the whole picture we need to put the different parts together.
Heaven is the creation of God just as the physical realm is, so there are similarities. Just as the physical realm has such diversity and yet is all interconnected and related, this seems to be the same throughout heaven.
In Scripture we get a glimpse of the different kinds of spiritual beings, but it seems that there are many times more species in heaven than on the earth, and we are constantly discovering more on earth. The God who so loves diversity that He makes every snowflake different has sown this diversity throughout His creation, in the natural and in the spiritual. This makes it not only a place of constant marvel and wonder at the unique beings, but also the seemingly infinite kinds of interchange between them all. With each there is both learning and building of a perpetually expanding and wonderful community. We were all made for God, but also for interchange with one another.
Obviously the present fallen state of the world has greatly inhibited the cognitive abilities of man, but I think it has affected the animals and plants here too. It does seem that the ability to communicate between Adam and Eve and the animals was on a remarkable level before the Fall, which is why it did not seem abnormal for the serpent to talk to Eve. In heaven, all of the creatures, trees, and even grass could communicate, and with remarkable intelligence. However, this communication was not just in audible words.
In a sense, communication is life, or life is communication. When one stops communicating, or interrelating with its environment, it is dead. Over thirty years ago, it was discovered that plants communicate and register emotion, such as fear and comfort. Recently it was discovered that all of the trees in a forest communicate with each other, even to the level that if some of the trees needed nutrients, the other trees will move them through the soil to the needy ones through their roots.
One remarkable discovery is that even the things that we do not consider alive, such as water or ice, are impacted by its spiritual environment. Ice crystals formed where there is human discord will look jagged and discordant under a microscope. Those formed in a more peaceful atmosphere will be smoother and more uniform. I think as we develop the ability to listen to those we share our world with, we will find that all things are communicating in some form and are therefore alive.
I think we will also be amazed at the level of intelligent communication there is between things such as plants. We call things higher forms of life because they can communicate on higher levels, which is why Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63 ISV). Spiritual life is the highest form of life. When we learn to communicate spiritually by living in the Spirit, we can begin to communicate on any other level. The fish and even the storms obeyed Jesus. Because He is the Truth and could only speak truth, He was right that the rocks would have even cried out for Him if the people had been silent.
I know this all may seem weird to some, which could be because of my inability to express it better, but scientific discoveries they are finding continually about the creation seem very weird. This is mostly because of our limited cognitive abilities because of the Fall, and the fallen environment we were born into. As our minds are renewed they will also be opened. The things that may seem weird to us now are a good weird. This communication between all things in creation will one day bring an amazing harmony to all of this fallen creation, such as heaven already enjoys. This is because all things will be summed up in Christ, who is the Word, the Communication between all things.
In heaven, the communication is not just in words, or even thoughts, but also emotions—it is somehow a communication of the whole being. It felt like you fully knew all who communicated with you, and knew that they would fully know you. Communication was therefore a rich and deep experience. Because of the seemingly unlimited numbers and diversity of beings, there seemed to be no end to this joy and experience of communication. In heaven, communication is not just a conveyance of thoughts, ideas, or feelings, but it is also a wonderful bonding experience that we may get some taste of in the highest conversations we have now with other people.
This is also why fellowship, koinonia, is so crucial, and as we are told in I John 1:7, is required if we are abiding in the light.
next week 36