I’m going to dive into speculation today and might end up in some crazy places, but hopefully it’ll be interesting and thought provoking to some extent. The query driving my thoughts today is two-fold: 1) What does God do all day (loosely using ‘day’ since depending on your interpretation of scripture it seems likely that our idea of time is not the same as God’s)? and 2) What is Heaven like?
I’ll start with the second question just for kicks (and I guess some giggles).
But let’s hope that we don’t get too much of Heaven…
Heaven for me is a diverse place, sort of like Neverland in Hook, where you can experience all sorts of climates and seasons in a short little jaunt around. Featuring strongly in this Heavenly world I’m creating is a small castle, at least it looks like a castle on the outside, but it lacks the cold, musty, draftiness usually associated with castles and is rather pleasant inside—shag carpet that doesn’t hide food crumbs or bugs or small rodents, the look of lamps and torches without the smoke or smell, incredibly comfortable chairs, a spiral staircase or two, and most importantly, a beautiful library with huge book-shelves from floor to ceiling, with sliding ladders and a giant globe that’s set into the floor, so only half of it is visible at a time—complete with a moat and some ivy growing on the outside walls for good measure.
The castle is set in the midst of what looks remarkably like the Lake District of England, with hills (or mountains, depending on where you’re from…) all around and beautiful lakes nearby. It’s typically overcast with a light drizzle or thick mist hanging about. The hills are strewn with stone paths and remnants of walls and other stone ruins, giving it an ancient feel.
You can wander a wooded path, shrouded in the brisk, cool autumnal air, beneath the many-colored changing leaves of diverse trees. The leaves are crisp beneath your feet providing a delightful crunch as you walk over them. It’s cool enough for a sweater, but the sun is still shining. The air feels fresh with a little bite. The sort of air that makes you feel alive (or like you’re “California Dreamin’”…).
If you head off in a different direction, you’ll encounter a peaceful, snowy night. There are perfect snowdrifts all around the cobblestone streets, lit by Victorian lampposts. The snow gently falls in huge flakes, floating through the air before gathering lightly around your feet in fluffy piles that scatter when you stomp your feet in them. It’s cool, but the wind is noticeably absent and there’s something magical about looking up to watch the snowflakes gently drifting down through the lamplight.
The coast isn’t far away, with the sea crashing against cliffs, ships protected by the lighthouse standing guard. The waves crashing sends the salty breeze floating inland, as I wander the coastline made up of sandy and beautiful rock beaches.
There’s a somewhat dingy concert venue that always has awesome shows going on—The Beatles, Streetlight Manifesto, Journey, Chopin, Jimi Hendrix, Handel, John Williams, Andrew McMahon, Queen, Muse, The Killers, Neon Trees, etc.—the crowd is digging the vibe and moves as one to the music, letting you forget yourself for a little while, becoming one whole, with a perfect show of lasers, lights, pyrotechnics going along with the music.
Not to mention the glorious food. There’s a cinema with buttery, salty, amazing popcorn, along with pizza, burgers, shakes and fries, lobster, shrimp, Goldfish crackers, steak, full English breakfasts, European chocolate, caramel Digestives, sour gummy worms, and definitely some freshly baked cookies like my mom makes (peanut butter, chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, oreos, etc.). Also, probably bacon. Oodles of great drinks—chocolate milk (from Reed’s Dairy in Idaho Falls, because it doesn’t get better than that), gira, Kool-Aid, root beer, and this fantastic mango-melon (or something) concentrate mixture that my siblings and I termed Heaven-juice, so naturally that’s got to be there.
That’s a pretty substantial visualization of Heaven, at least materially. And it gives somewhat of an idea of my perspective on what’s going to go down while we chill in the eternities. To be honest, I think life will be pretty similar to it is here. But just elevated in some sense. I think we’ll continue to learn and grow and progress forever (which is arguably one of Bruce R. McConkie’s “Seven Deadly Heresies”…oops.). I believe that there will still be human (or godly? Divine? What do you call interaction between ‘gods’?) interaction at the root of our existence. I’m not exactly sure what that’ll look like.
I hope to continue to read and engage with great art in all its forms, as well as to actually walk into the Burkean Parlor to not just metaphorically join the great thinkers of the world at a table, but to literally sit down with Burke, Dickens, Twain, Shakespeare, Michealangelo, Kant, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Moses, Samson, Woolf, Marie Curie, JK Rowling, etc. and to chat about great questions. How great will that be? Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
As far as logistics go for our Mormon conception of the different kingdoms of glory, I don’t really see them as necessarily being distinct physical locations. I’d imagine that we all kind of mingle together in our varying degrees of glory, much like we do today, in varying degrees of spirituality. Or maybe we’ll all just be on our own planet someplace creating new universes, so everyone will be separated. Dunno. Point being, I imagine that social interaction still exists to some degree.
Now, this is the very speculative (and more liable to be blasphemous) section. I feel like it’s easier to chat about what Heaven will be like for me and you than it is to wonder what God does all day, since the wrong suggestion could be taken for blasphemy. However, all of you should know by now that the danger of a little blasphemy has never stopped me before and likely won’t now, so off we go.
I mean, since I believe that God was once like us and is living the existence that we can one day have, my idea of Heaven matches up with what God does.
I suppose that in addition to the learning and enjoying great art and divine (literally) food, God does some miracle watching and prayer answering. What does this look like? Great question. I dunno. I’ve felt answers to prayers in the past, sometimes directly after and more frequently later via some other circumstances not always clearly related to my prayer. Now, how does this come about and what does God actually do up in Heaven to make it happen? Excellent question.
The Holy Ghost definitely helps out doing some stuff, but I don’t really understand how the Holy Ghost works or what he can do, so things get pretty murky. We often say that prayers are answered in the Lord’s time and perhaps that means (rather than the idea that God is choosing to ignore them because it’s better for us to hang out in divine silence for a bit) that God has some sort of prayer inbox. Maybe it sorts things by priority, so if you’re praying to not die in the midst of some intense natural disaster that gets flagged as “urgent” and God checks your hourglass to see if you need saving or if your time’s up (a little Terry Pratchett for ya) and then if you’re praying about what university to go to and have weeks or months to decide that gets marked as “low priority,” so after God’s checked all the hourglasses, He/She/They can work out some way to convey an answer to you.
Thinking about that starts to edge into puppet-master God territory, which I really don’t like. Yet, I’ve felt the influence of the divine in my life, so there’s gotta be something the He/She/They do all day to make that happen.
It could be like in The Adjustment Bureau, where God is this master planner with all sorts of blue-prints that sometimes get adjusted and He/She/They primarily coordinate the process of ensuring that the blue-print is followed. An intriguing idea, but one that reeks of pre-destination, which is an unpleasant smell to have about you.
I feel like God’s influence in my life has been more comfort oriented or making meh/awful things have some sense of value. So, perhaps God watches over us, as if we are some grand, epic theatrical drama. Then when need be He/She/They yell out stage directions from the pit or backstage, or otherwise convey the necessary changes/information. I like that more, yet it still seems odd.
Maybe God just chats with some other divine peeps or the billions of people that have lived and died in His/Her/Their spare time.
As usual, I don’t have clear answers. However, I think there’s some value in thinking about what Heaven is like, particularly if we are meant to create a Heaven on Earth. Best to know what exactly that entails and how we can best prepare for the divine reality that awaits.
Who knows, this could be Heaven for everyone…