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A heaven of the passions
on April 16, 2004
This is a childish book which contains little theology and lots of speculation.
The author views heaven as an earthly paradise where all his physical needs and desires will be satisfied. It is compared to a vacation and Disneyland, to traveling around the world.
You will have your favorite pet in heaven, there will be sex or something far better there. Heaven is a pie in the sky, a fullfillment of all your human desires.
What the author has failed to grasp is that pleasure does not exist for its own sake: While it is pleasurable to eat, pleasureable to sleep and pleasurable to have sex, pleasure is not the purpose behind the acts.
God has attached pleasure to the things he wants us to do because of their usefulless to us:
Surviving and staying healthy (eating), resting our bodies and minds (sleeping), creating lifelong bonds between spouses and having children (...). The pleasure exists for the sake of the purpose.
The chapter on marriage is also problematic. The author tries to dodge a clear statement of Jesus which is a "problem" for his pie in the sky.
The Sadducees ask Jesus a question. A woman is married and her husband dies. She marries his brother and he dies. This happens seven times and finally she dies. Which husband will she have in heaven? Jesus answer is that there is no marriage in heaven, people live like the angels. (Matt 22:23-31)
The book's "solution" is to say that there is no longer a marriage, but the relationship itself continues.
This doesn't solve anything. With the sadducees we could ask Jesus, "with whom will she continue in a marriage like relationship?"
Would Jesus answer suddenly change into something like "all seven of them"? Of course not! Marriage is not a mere word, it is a concept and a description of a relationship. His words are clear, there will be no such thing in heaven.
Heaven is spiritual, it is relational. It is about being perfected selfless persons who are in unity with God and each other. It is about beholding God in an eternal vision. It is a state completely different from our current experiences. And we see very little of this heaven in the book.
A better book is written on the subject by Peter Kreeft: "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking". Get that one instead.