In his book, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis takes an imaginary tour of Heaven. Lewis forgoes the standard imagery—clouds, pearly gates, streets of gold, etc. As Lewis envisions it, Heaven is much like our own earth only more so. It is our world as it was always intended to be. There is still grass, flowers, water (and waterfalls), rocks, and animals—all the things that populate our world.
The difference between our world and the heavenly realm is that everything is more real. It has more substance. The narrator tries to pick up a daisy and finds that it can’t be plucked. He describes it as “hard…like a diamond.” The water in heaven is so substantial that a normal human can walk on it without breaking through the surface.
In fact everything is so real and so vibrant the narrator notices that he and his normal human companions appear to be almost transparent by comparison. They become ghost-like in appearance. But then he realizes that perhaps they had always been like that. Perhaps they had only appeared real all along and that heaven is the reality.
He thinks the same thing when he sees Heaven’s inhabitants—people who have already entered into eternal life. Just like their surroundings these people are more real. The narrator refers to them as the “solid people.” The earth shakes beneath their feet. They have a glow about them that makes regular folks even more transparent.
I like Lewis’ description of Heaven. It’s just the opposite of the way it is usually imagined. Think about the way you see Heaven portrayed on TV and in other art forms. Isn’t everything kind of smoky and ethereal? Like it wouldn’t hold up under our weight?
Lewis’ depiction is much more Biblical. The Biblical picture says that our world is the one that is “passing away” or “perishing,” and that the Kingdom of Heaven is the one that is incorruptible and eternal. I wonder what it says about us that we so easily get that mixed up.
This morning (Easter Sunday!) we’re going to be reading this amazing story about a couple of men who are very mixed up about what has really happened. They look at our world and see gloom and despair—a place abandoned by God. Jesus comes along with another point of view. Because of what has happened, Jesus knows that the “real” world is just getting started, and it’s one where God reigns victorious.
My hope today is that you will be reminded of what is “real.” I hope you’ll see things as they truly are. Because it’s a wonderful thing to see. The life we are living now is merely a shadow of the things that are to come. God is in the process of bringing true life to his children. That’s what Easter means. I hope you’ll get a glimpse of the true life to which He’s calling us.
Robert Lee