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What's Heaven Like?

That’s the question I remember asking my grandmother when I was a kid. During the summers, I used to go to a Bible Study group with her at the mall, where she and her friends would study while I sat off somewhere to the side, playing with whatever toys they had available. Honestly, the highlight of the trip was eating at McDonald’s before the meeting.

“It’s like church every day,” I remember she said.

Problem: I used to go to her church, and it was crazy-boring. (Thank heavens, my mom’s church was more exciting.)

Looking back, I get what she meant, though. It just came out wrong. What she meant was we’ll be worshipping God every day. But that doesn’t have to be like me sitting on a pew for the rest of eternity, singing from a hymnal with a bunch of songs that don’t resonate with me.

On my daily commute to work, I often listen to Shekinah Glory Ministry. When I go biking along Lakeshore Drive, I’m often singing their songs and enjoying my time with God.

What I pictured and what my grandmother meant were two entirely different things. But I want to take it a step further. Heaven can have different focuses: Theocentric, Anthropocentric, and Cosmocentric (I made that word up).

What my grandmother meant about worshipping God every day could best be described as a theocentric view of Heaven. Theo means God, and centric means centered. A God-centered view of Heaven focuses on the time we spend in God’s presence or giving praise to God. But, just like when I’m riding my bike and praising God, it’s not like I’m trapped in a temple, unable to leave to do anything else. And remember, God is omnipresent, so it’s not like I’m ever out of His presence.

An anthropocentric view of Heaven is human-centered. For many who’ve been especially hard hit by the death of a loved one, they may want more than anything to be reunited with them in Heaven. It’s not that they don’t want to see God, but that they want to hold their loved ones again. Anthropocentric views go further than that. It can also focus on peace between people. For those who have been marginalized on earth, they may strongly desire in Heaven to be accepted and celebrated. It’s not that one stops being black or white or any other people group. We keep our languages, we keep our cultures. But the part where we look down on someone else for not being like us, that goes away.

A cosmocentric view of Heaven is earth-centered, or better put, creation-centered. The restoration of the universe means a lot to people who’ve grown tired of the environmental degradation, the extinction of God’s animals, the inability to breathe clean air and drink clean water and eat clean food. When my wife came to the US, she marveled how blue the sky was here, because in China, the air pollution clouded the skies too much. I remember on an especially clean day in China, the sky was so blue I stopped to take pictures, as did everyone else. For others, a cosmocentric view of Heaven means the opportunity to practice extreme sports, knowing they would never get hurt. Or they could interact with animals that would have normally been a mortal danger.

And all of this can happen while giving thanks and praise to God for eternity. So, I’ll kick it back to you. What is Heaven like, to you?

About The Author

Jamaal Fridge is the author of The Life and Times of Theodore Addison book series. As an evangelist, he looks for ways to engage people with the Gospel, and uses books as one outlet. You can learn about him and other contributors to this work at this link.