R. The short answer is we don’t know because scripture is virtually silent on this issue. There are 655 uses of the word “heaven” in scripture. Sometimes heaven refers to the skies above. Heaven is also understood to be the place God resides, along with the heavenly court. Many times, however, heaven is connected to other words, so you get “heaven and earth” which is shorthand for saying, “all of creation.” or you get “kingdom of heaven” which is what Jesus talks about a lot. The kingdom of heaven is focused not on the next life but is used in opposition to the kingdom of this world.
So, what do we know about heaven? We know heaven is where Christ goes when he dies, because he goes to be with his Father. According to Paul, when we die, we go to be with Christ (Romans 8:38-39, 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23) Jesus supports this notion when he tells the thief on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” We know there is room for many people in heaven (John 14:2). The book of Revelation is where we get most of our descriptions of heaven; it is a city of gold and glass, a place where we will eat from the tree of life, God will wipe away every tear and death, pain, crying shall be no more.
What is life in heaven like? From what scripture tells us, it will be life lived in the presence of God and Jesus. We shall live forever there (eat from the tree of life). It will be a life without sorrow, pain, or death. A life much like God created life to be in the Garden of Eden. It will be life lived with all the faithful who have died before us. The specifics of what heaven will look like and how we will fill our days is something we can only speculate on as scripture doesn’t tell us.
I understand people’s fascination with heaven. When I was younger, I wondered about this as well. But as I have gotten older and spent more time in scripture, I am struck by how little Jesus and the scriptures spend time on heaven and what it is like. Instead, the focus is on trusting that God has claimed us, and death has no power over us (Romans 6:8-9). That in Christ those who have died are healed and with God and that we will see them again.
Confident in what is in store for us, we are free to live in this life as those already living in the Kingdom of God.
Let me know if you have further questions by contacting me.