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Radio Replies Second Volume - Heaven
Celledoor.Com ^ | 1940 | Fathers Rumble & Carty

Posted on 04/17/2011 9:47:42 PM PDT by GonzoII


867. You speak of life as a preparation for heaven. But what is this heaven, and how do you know it exists?

The Catholic teaching is that heaven is an eternal state of perfect happiness rendered possible by the very Vision of God Himself, and that this happiness will be granted to such of mankind as attain the salvation of their souls. The justification of this teaching lies in the fact that God Himself has promised such a destiny, a promise reiterated and confirmed by Christ during His life in the midst of men.

868. We have no destiny beyond this world, and Christ never promised any other. He ascended to the heavens and disappeared.

I am afraid you do not quite understand what we mean by heaven. If you have the idea that we intend the visible heavens, I beg you to put the idea aside at once. For we do not mean that. Heaven is an eternal state of happiness resulting from the very Vision of God just as He really is in Himself with all His infinite perfection. And Christ definitely promised heaven in this sense. Read through the beatitudes in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew. There our Lord tells us of the poor in spirit, and of those persecuted for justice sake, that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He says that their reward will be very great in heaven. And also, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." Mt 5:8. He also said distinctly, "I shall go and prepare a place for you; that where I am you also may be." Jn 14:3. He declared that those who love and serve God will be invited to come and possess the kingdom prepared for them, and He describes the new state as everlasting life. In Jn 16:20-24, the words of Christ are recorded wherein He says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful; but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." St. Paul tells us that we shall know God even as we are known by God, for we shall see Him face to face, and not merely obscurely as now by reasoning from the beauties of creation as one might gain knowledge of an author by reading his books.

869. Is heaven a place where there are land, rivers, mountains, and the utilities of life, such as there are in this world?

No. St. Paul tells us that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him. Therefore, so surely as you have seen, or heard, or touched things in this visible universe which are the objects of your senses, those things will not be constitutive elements of heaven. What heaven will be like I cannot, therefore, describe in human language, for our concepts are all derived from the visible universe, and cannot convey adequate views of the next life. But at least I can say that there is a heaven, and that it will mean everlasting happiness. God must intend life to lead to happiness rather than to misery, and He, therefore, intends virtue, as leading to that happiness. The purpose of a Christian life, said Christ Himself, is "that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." Jn 16:24. The chief happiness of heaven will be eternal union with God, and the immediate Vision of God. As surely as the eye can now see some transcendently beautiful natural scene, so will the mind be immediately conscious of God's infinite perfection and beauty in Himself.

870. Don't you think it absurd to say that God will be our reward, exceedingly great? At best a purely spiritual God could be apprehended only by the mind, and our complex human nature demands more than that.

Despite our complexity, all our happiness even in this world is by means of knowledge secured in various ways. We may know by intellectual understanding, or by sight, or hearing, or touch. Knowledge is the source of happiness insofar as we experience joyous reactions when we are conscious of truth or beauty or pleasure, whether by our senses or by our intelligence. The desire to possess things is merely to insure the continuance of this consciousness. In heaven, God will be all to us, since He contains all. We will find still better in Him all that we may rightly look for in created nature, or in self. And in the measure in which we possess God, we shall possess all else.

871. What is the substance of heaven?

It will be an everlasting experience rendering the complete human being happy, not merely with human happiness, but with divine happiness. Just as the eye now sees the things of this world, so the mind will see God's own personal perfections. Instead of being merely self-conscious, the soul will become God-conscious; and in God we shall find in an ever so much better way all that we ever found to be good in created things or in self. And, of course, ever so much more besides. Heaven, then, is not a place to be described in terms of longitude and latitude, nor by ideas of scenery drawn from this earth. It is a spiritual state of perpetual existence which escapes limitations of time and space concepts. For further knowledge of the conditions that prevail in heaven I can only advise you to live in such a way as to go there. Then you will know all.

872. Doesn't the idea of contemplating God year after year, and century after century, suggest frightful monotony?

That idea does. But it is a wrong idea. Eternity is not time, and is not to be described in terms of time. When you speak of century after century, you are thinking of a succession of years. But eternity is not a question of a long time. It is outside time altogether. This is a great mystery, I know. But I can't help that. We who measure all things by time cannot understand a state of existence without time. But reason itself tells us that God's own existence must be independent of the flux of time. One can get a faint idea of happiness without time from occasional experiences in this life. An artist entranced by a scene of ravishing beauty can be utterly forgetful of time. His mind has gone off into realms not conditioned by time, and he finds it hard to believe that he has been so long inactive, when he comes to himself, and, as we say, back to earth. Of course, that is but an analogy, and has merely the force of an analogy, no more. But it helps to throw some light on the problem.

873. The eternally fixed state of heaven would be unbearable to mankind.

Heaven is eternally fixed insofar as it is a permanent as opposed to a temporary happiness. But to imagine that, because it is permanent, it must consist of a never-ending monotonous passivity is ludicrous. It is a fallacy to judge of heavenly occupations and joys in the light of earthly pleasure in finite and created things which are too trivial for the human soul and must begin to pall sooner or later. That is why people seek change, and think that there can be no real happiness without constant change, even, nowadays to the changing of wives in many cases. This attitude is due to loss of faith in the spiritual and supernatural, with a consequent adoption of a merely materialistic outlook. Yet while they have come to think only in terms of materialism, men are quite confident that they understand the Christian heaven despite the fact that it cannot be interpreted in terms of materialism.

874. Shall we have a new kind of knowledge altogether in heaven, different from ordinary human methods of knowing things?

Certainly there will be a new way of knowing things in heaven. Here we know created things by personal experience, and we find God reflected in them. In heaven we shall know God as the first object of our experience, and we shall know all created beings by their reflection in Him. Here, too, we form representative ideas of things, and know things insofar as these representative ideas of them are within our minds. But in heaven we shall not have an idea of God. We will not have to form a representation of Him, thinking God by ideas of God. We shall think God by God; for being in the spiritual order, God will immediately unite Himself with our intelligence, flooding our souls with supreme and eternal happiness.

875. Men must have some form of employment to develop further their personality and gain richer experience.

Evolutionary philosophy wrongly dreams of eternal developing. When a photographer goes into his darkroom to develop his picture his purpose is to attain definite results, not to stay there forever developing. Development and progress are not ends in themselves, but are ordained to perfect fulfillment of all capabilities. It is absurd to want to develop yet to be afraid of developing into anything definite. One might just as well set out on a journey with only one dread, the dread lest one should arrive at one's destination. In heaven our personality arrives at its fullest perfection. But that perfection, instead of excluding activity and experience, demands these things, and offers a greater capability of them than is possible in any earlier stages of development. There the object of our experience will be, not any finite created thing, but the infinite and inexhaustible truth, goodness, and beauty of God Himself. He will be more than enough to absorb us, and the experience will be so rich, profound, and significant that no richer will be possible. If men say that they find this concept beyond them, I can only remind them that, in their present imperfect stage they are not capable of comprehending fully those conditions which require perfect development for their full appreciation. Owls can't see in daylight, not because there is no daylight, but because their visual powers are not adapted to daylight.

876. If heaven is eternal, it can never cease or be lost. Yet the angels in heaven sinned and lost it.

We say that heaven, once attained, can never be lost. Yet we also say that some angels rebelled in heaven, and lost their right to happiness. But a right idea of Christian teaching on this subject shows that there is no trace of contradiction. Heaven is not used in the same sense in the two expressions. God created men upon earth, and angels in heaven. Heaven is used there merely to designate a spiritual state of a higher nature than that we know on earth. God gave us men a half-material, half-spiritual nature. He gave the angels a purely spiritual nature. Both men and angels were capable of operations proportionate to the nature they possessed. And those operations were natural. Now it is not natural to any created being to see God immediately and intimately, as God sees Himself. An angel by its natural powers could no more comprehend the vastly superior being of God, than a horse could comprehend the psychology of man. Any immediate knowledge of God must be above a created nature, and, therefore, supernatural. The angels, therefore, though in heaven in the sense that they were not of earth, did not have the immediate Vision of God. They were not, by virtue of their mere creation, in that full and permanent happiness which the Vision of God alone can give. And they had to earn that full happiness by conforming to God's will in all things. Some did not, and in that sense they rebelled and forfeited the additional supernatural and essentially permanent happiness given to the good angels. When we speak of our attaining heaven, we mean the attaining of the supernatural and immediate Vision of God as He is in Himself. The moment one sees God, sin becomes impossible. Yet sin alone could interfere with one's happiness. Sin is due to our being attracted by wrong things. We deliberately exclude our consideration of the good we should do; refuse to weigh the evil aspect of our proposed conduct; and concentrate upon some prospective apparent advantage. But the moment we see God as He is in Himself, it will be impossible not to advert to His infinite goodness, and sin will become impossible.

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TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: heaven; radiorepliesvoltwo

869. Is heaven a place where there are land, rivers, mountains, and the utilities of life, such as there are in this world?

No. St. Paul tells us that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him. Therefore, so surely as you have seen, or heard, or touched things in this visible universe which are the objects of your senses, those things will not be constitutive elements of heaven....

Of course these elements will be renewed as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

VI. Hope of the New Heaven and the New Earth

1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. the universe itself will be renewed:

The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.629

1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth."630 It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth."631

1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men.632 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."633

1045 For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has been "in the nature of sacrament."634 Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, "the holy city" of God, "the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."635 She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community.636 The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion.

1046 For the cosmos, Revelation affirms the profound common destiny of the material world and man:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay.... We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.637

1047 The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just," sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ.638

1048 "We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man, nor the way in which the universe will be transformed. the form of this world, distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of men."639

1049 "Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That is why, although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society."640

1050 "When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise . . . according to the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal kingdom."641 God will then be "all in all" in eternal life:642

True and subsistent life consists in this: the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, pouring out his heavenly gifts on all things without exception. Thanks to his mercy, we too, men that we are, have received the inalienable promise of eternal life.643

629 LG 48; Cf. Acts 3:21; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Pet 3:10-13.

630 2 Pet 3:13; Cf. Rev 21:1.

631 Eph 1:10.

632 Cf. Rev 21:5.

633 Rev 21:4.

634 Cf. LG 1.

635 Rev 21:2, 9.

636 Cf. Rev 21:27.

637 Rom 8:19-23.

638 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 5, 32, 1 PG 7/2, 210.

639 GS 39 # 1.

640 GS 39 # 2.

641 GS 39 # 3.

642 1 Cor 5:28.

643 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 18, 29: PG 33, 1049.

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1 posted on 04/17/2011 9:47:49 PM PDT by GonzoII
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2 posted on 04/17/2011 9:49:52 PM PDT by GonzoII (Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea...Quare tristis es anima mea?)
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To: All

The Radio Replies Series: Volume One

The Radio Replies Series: Volume Two

Chapter One: God

Radio Replies Volume Two: Proof of God's Existence
Radio Replies Volume Two: God's Nature
Radio Replies Volume Two: Supreme Control Over All Things and the Problem of Suffering and Evil

Chapter Two: Man

Radio Replies Volume Two: Destiny of Man/Death
Radio Replies Volume Two: Immortality of Man's Soul & Pre-existence Denied
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Human Free Will
Radio Replies Volume Two: Determinism Absurd

Chapter Three: Religion

Radio Replies Volume Two: Necessity of Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Salvation of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume Two: Voice of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: Religious Racketeers
Radio Replies Volume Two: Divine Revelation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revealed Mysteries
Radio Replies Volume Two: Existence of Miracles

Chapter Four: The Religion of the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Gospels Historical
Radio Replies Volume Two: Missing Books of the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Bible Inspired
Radio Replies Volume Two: Biblical Account of Creation
Radio Replies Volume Two: New Testament Problems

Radio Replies Volume Two: Supposed Contradictions in Sacred Scripture

Chapter Five: The Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Source of Christian Teaching
Radio Replies Volume Two: Jewish Rejecton of Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christianity a New Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Rational Foundation for Belief
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of Unbelief

Chapter Six: A Definite Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Divisions Amongst Christians
Radio Replies Volume Two: Schisms Unjustified
Radio Replies Volume Two: Facing the Problem
Radio Replies Volume Two: Wrong Approach
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is One Religion as Good as Another?

Radio Replies Volume Two: Obligation of Inquiry
Radio Replies Volume Two: Charity and Tolerance

Chapter Seven: The Protestant Reformation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Meaning of "Protestant"
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of the Reformation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Reaction
Radio Replies Volume Two: Reformers Mistaken
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Idealization of Protestantism
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Estimate

Chapter Eight: The Truth of Catholicism

Radio Replies Volume Two: Meaning of the Word "Church"
Radio Replies Volume Two: Origin of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Claim
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Roman Hierarchy
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Pope

Radio Replies Volume Two: The Petrine Text
Radio Replies Volume Two: St. Peter's Supremacy
Radio Replies Volume Two: St. Peter in Rome
Radio Replies Volume Two: Temporal Power
Radio Replies Volume Two: Infallibility

Radio Replies Volume Two: Unity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Holiness of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholicity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Apostolicity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Indefectibility of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Obligation to be a Catholic

Chapter Nine: The Church and the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Attitude Towards the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is Bible Reading Forbidden to Catholics?
Radio Replies Volume Two: Protestant Bibles
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Douay Version
Radio Replies Volume Two: Principle of Private Interpretation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Need of Tradition
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church

Chapter Ten: The Dogmas of the Church

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revolt Against Dogma
Radio Replies Volume Two: Value of a Creed
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Divine Gift of Faith
Radio Replies Volume Two: Faith and Reason
Radio Replies Volume Two: The "Dark Ages"

Radio Replies Volume Two: The Claims of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Holy Trinity
Radio Replies Volume Two: Creation and Evolution
Radio Replies Volume Two: Angels
Radio Replies Volume Two: Devils

Radio Replies Volume Two: Man
Radio Replies Volume Two: Reincarnation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Sin
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Mary

Radio Replies Volume Two: Grace and Salvation
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Sacraments [Baptism]
Radio Replies Volume Two: Confession
Radio Replies Volume Two: Holy Eucharist
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Sacrifice of the Mass

Radio Replies Volume Two: Holy Communion
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Priesthood
Radio Replies Volume Two: Marriage and Divorce
Radio Replies Volume Two: Extreme Unction
Radio Replies Volume Two: Judgment

Radio Replies Volume Two: Hell
Radio Replies Volume Two: Purgatory
Radio Replies Volume Two: Indulgences
Radio Replies Volume Two: Heaven

3 posted on 04/17/2011 9:54:17 PM PDT by GonzoII (Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea...Quare tristis es anima mea?)
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