To answer last week's questions:
Will we see our beloved pets in Heaven?
This is a particularly poignant question for me right now as my oldest daughter suffers greatly with the news that her precious cat, Honey, has a terminal disease that will take her life within the month. As I cry along with my daughter, I'm reminded of a similar time, almost two years ago when I held my constant companion and friend of 15 years in my arms while the vet put him to sleep. I cried for a week and still think of that cat, who we called SnowBall. The Bible is not entirely clear on this issue but it does give us some clues. As we've already seen, there will be animals on the New Earth. And we know from Romans 8:21-23 that animals, along with all of creation suffer in this present fallen age, waiting for God to make things right. So, it would make sense to me that God would simply bring back some or all of those animals who suffered here on earth and regenerate them for the New Earth. Why not? And if we asked Him to bring back our pets, why wouldn't He? God is a good God, full of grace and mercy and the giver of all good gifts. So, I for one, have no doubt that I will see Snowball again and other pets who have passed away, and my daughter will see her precious Honey fully restored and healthy on the New Earth.
Will dreams be fulfilled and missed opportunities regained?
Let's face it. We live in a fallen world. Things aren't the way they're supposed to be. When God created Adam and Eve, He wanted them to rule the world, to be prosperous and mulitply. His plans were good plans. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us He came to give us Life and life more abundant... to have life to the full! The Lord longs to bless us. (Part of that blessing may be allowing trials in our lives to build our characters and bring people to Him, but ultimately they are blessings) He has a plan for our lives--a purpose that fits exactly how we were made. But sometimes things don't work out that way. Sometimes circumstances occur that drag us down. We lose our hope or get sidetracked by the world or Satan's lies. And our lives don't end up the way we had dreamed or the way God intended. But never fear. This earth is not our only chance! As we've seen through our previous sessions, we will have full, meaningful lives for all of eternity on the New Earth. So, maybe you've always wanted to travel to France, or learn how to ski, or write a novel (hey, there's an idea!), or play an instrument, or basically just do something important with your life, but you never had the chance here on Earth. You will be able to do all those things in Heaven. Suppose some disease or accident has kept you in bed or in pain or in a wheelchair. Here's what Joni Eareckson Tada has to say about that. (She's been a paraplegic since her youth) "I haven't been cheated out of being a complete person---I'm just going through a 40 year delay, and God is with me through that. Being glorified--I know the meaning of that now. It's the time after my death here, when I'll be on my feet, dancing!"
There will be no more sorrow or disappointments or lost dreams in eternity. If God placed a dream inside of you, then He will fulfill it, either in this world or the next.
Will there be new inventions and new technologies?
I say, why not? God is a creator. He has a creative mind. When He creates, He looks at it and says it is good. And mankind, created in God's image has the same creative mind. Even in our fallen society, look what mankind has achieved? Look at the art of Rembrant, Monet, Michelangelo. The music of Chopin, Bethoven, The Beatles! Look at our inventions: Cars, trains, rocket ships to the moon. And just in my generation: Color Plasma TVs, Computers, Cell phones, microwaves, Ipods, DVDs. Just think what immortal man can come up with in a perfect world with the creativity of God flowing through him? Sure God can just say the word and bring something into existence but He knows how much we enjoy creating things ourselves. I don't know a single person who doesn't enjoy making something, who doesn't get fulfillment out of creating something new whether it be a cake or a computer program, or a new song. The possibilities are endless, and exciting!
Next week, I'm going to end this series on Heaven by summing up what we've learned and hopefully giving us a new way to look at this life on earth and look forward to the next one. So, stay tuned.