There Just Might Be Roller Coasters In Heaven

Posted in Faith, Religion on  | 7 minutes | 5 Comments →

Atheists often remark that they would find traditional concepts of the afterlife boring and unsatisfying. I tend to sympathize with them: I would, too. You might think that’s an odd thing for a believer to say, but, allow me to explain.

In a recent discussion on William Lane Craig’s argument that life without God is absurd, Polymeron described heaven thus:

Bliss that is eternal and irreversible. To me, personally, this still lacks something; I don’t know that heaven is something that I could feel I am working toward, so it does not really qualify for what I consider purpose.

Another commenter, Steven, wrote:

Back as a Christian, when I was told that Heaven might be worshiping God for eternity, I despaired. It seemed so boring. But for my pastor, it was the grandest thing.

An old buddy of mine—the Spanish Inquisitor—recently dedicated an entire post to this subject. SI begins by reproducing a snippet from the Catholic Dictionary:

In Holy Writ the term heaven is used to designate the dwelling-place of God, His angels, and saints, as well as their happiness…The supernatural beatitude of heaven fundamentally consists in the intuitive vision of God, i.e., the seeing of God face to face and in experiencing perfect happiness through this beatific vision.

In response, SI writes:

I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me that’s very unsatisfying. If I’m a good boy all my life on earth, and I qualify for a slot in  eternal nirvana, all I get, as my just reward, is an “intuitive vision of god”? WTF? Am I finally going to meet this guy, face to face, or will I only intuit the meeting? I thought heaven was a fun place where you got to have ecstatic, near orgasmic experiences; where existence had no down side, no negativity, where everything was always positive, always creating joy and happiness, where all the suffering we experienced on earth was non-existent.  A beatific vision is simply a joyful vision. While that might be uplifting for a few seconds, what about the rest of eternity?

A few paragraphs later, SI asks the million-dollar question:

Is it possible that the blueprint for heaven is already in front of us?

My answer is an emphatic yes, but we’ll return to that shortly.

The point I’d like to clarify is that the Bible implies a physical afterlife on a new Earth, and not in heaven:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [Revelation 21:1-4, ESV]

The rest of chapter 21 describes a physical city in great detail:

And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. [21:15-21, ESV]

Author Randy Alcorn writes,

Scripture speaks of the likeness of Adam and the likeness of Christ, making some distinction between them: “And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49). Christ will remain a man, but his deity that was once veiled in his humanity will shine through it. Because of the Fall and the Curse, we have never been or seen human beings who are fully functional as God’s image-bearers, conveying the brightness and majesty of his being. But that day is coming. Christ, the God-man, the new head of our human race, will be the ultimate image-bearer, fully conveying the brightness and majesty of the Almighty.

Note, however, that the difference between Adam and Christ, which Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49, is not that one was a physical being and the other wasn’t. It was that Adam was under sin and the Curse, and Christ was untouched by sin and the Curse. Jesus was and is a human being, “in every respect like us” (Hebrews 2:17, NLT), except with respect to sin. So although we should recognize that our resurrection bodies will be glorious in ways that our current bodies are not, we should also realize that those bodies will continue to be—in both the same and in greater ways—the functional physical bodies that God designed for us from the beginning.

Of those who are servants of God and the Lamb, we are told, “…they will reign for ever and ever.” [22:5, NIV] I don’t know about you, but to me, all of this points directly at an eternal, physical existence. This is in stark contrast to the notion of floating around in clouds while cherubs and angels play harps.

So, might the blueprint for the afterlife be in front of us? Indeed. Since the afterlife is clearly depicted as physical, it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable to assume there might still be things like art, sports, music and entertainment. However, these things would certainly be different.

As I am a person who literally never gets bored, I feel confident that I could keep busy for eternity, doing most of the same things I enjoy now, along with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. In a nutshell, I envision the new Earth as a place where we have all the good and fun things of this Earth, without sin. Imagine the creativity of computer programming without the burdens and problems introduced by malicious hackers! Imagine the tech support! Imagine sports and entertainment that amount to sheer enjoyment, with neither the egos of overpaid celebrity superstars, nor the ulterior motives of multi-national marketing corporations! Imagine skateboarding on streets of gold without police to kick you out, and no pain when you fall! Imagine never having to lock one’s doors or bar one’s windows! Imagine an unlimited amount of time to do all the things you love to do, just without sin.

Who wouldn’t want to partake in that type of afterlife?

I suppose only those who enjoy sin.

On that note, Lord, may I take as deathly serious your call to put sin out of my life, that I might enter such a bountiful rest.


  1. Mike


    It’s not necessary to foresee future eternity as being on earth in order to imagine that it is exciting. Having said that, imagining our eternity in heaven is at least as difficult for us as imagining life outside of the womb is for a baby while in its mother’s womb.

    By the way, I loved the last line of your post. Indeed, just because everyone is going to heaven doesn’t mean we shouldn’t repent. On the contrary, it gives us all the more reason to repent.

  2. cl


    Hey there Mike. I don’t suppose you’re “Mike Gantt” who’s been commenting over at CSA recently? If so, can you shoot me that link to your article / book / paper again? I spent some time looking for it on CSA, to no avail. I promise I’ll make a note this time, so as not to waste your time.

    It’s not necessary to foresee future eternity as being on earth in order to imagine that it is exciting.

    I agree, and didn’t mean to leave that impression if I did. However, as far as I can tell, it is necessary to foresee future eternity as being on Earth if we’re following what the Bible says. So, when you say,

    …everyone is going to heaven …

    …I raise my eyebrow on two grounds:

    1) I still need to hear your arguments from the Bible in support of the “everyone” part; and,

    2) I still need to hear your arguments from the Bible on the “heaven” part.

    It seems to me that the verses I provided clearly state that future eternity takes place on Earth.

  3. Mike


    Yes, it’s me.

    The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven (

  4. tmp


    I’m stuck on the concept of eternity, really. I cannot, of course, really conceive it, but while I would probably be able to enterntain myself for a good long while, I’m going to assume that some kind of ennui will set in at three or four hundred billion trillion years or so… And since I’m not afraid of ending, I find the concept conforting actually, then given the option between eternity and oblivion, I would always choose oblivion. An afterlife with an definite endpoint would be the best of both worlds, of course.

  5. spec


    Why do you believe Revelations is a trustworthy source? As far as I know, your blog has no discussion of this.

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