What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
the things God has prepared for those who love him.
Have you ever worried that you might grow bored in heaven, that things may lose their luster or taste, that the whole novelty and intrigue of heaven might fade as do most things on earth? When you sing, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years … we’ve no less days to sing his praise than when we’d first begun,” do you wonder whether or not to be encouraged by such a statement?
Sure, eternal life sounds wonderful at first. But unless you have a firm grasp on what the Bible has to say about eternal life, you may begin to wonder. “Eternity really is a long time,” you might think. “Is this something I really desire? After ten million years, will I really have the same desire I once had to go on existing here?” At the heart of these existential questions lies a deep concern for whether eternal joy actually exists.
If at this point Jonathan Edwards were still alive and knew what you were thinking, he would probably put his hand on your shoulder and lay your fears to rest.
In his sermon “Heaven, a World of Love,” Jonathan Edwards—in a way that is nothing short of breath-taking—brilliantly unpacks the staggering realities of our joy in heaven.
Here are just a few of these realities:
1. You Will Have Greater Capacity for Joy.
The Bible says you will have a resurrected body far better than anything you knew on earth. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, says that your body will be stronger, fuller, more spiritual, more glorious and everlasting. Your delight, your knowledge, your intellect and all your affections will be renewed and restored so that you might enjoy Christ with perfected bodies. Edwards states: “[Our earthly soul] had only a little spark of divine love in it, in heaven it shall be, as it were, turned into a bright and ardent flame, like the sun in its fullest brightness, when it has no spot upon it.”
So far so good. An enormous amount of joy. But that still doesn’t solve the problem of complacency. Isn’t it still possible that the joy will fizzle out? Edwards, again, would say: “No way!”
2. You Will Have an Ever-Increasing Capacity for Joy.
In heaven, your capacity for joy will never cease to grow.
Never. According to Edwards, you will be “enraptured with joys that are forever increasing, and yet forever full.”
Sam Storms argues that your capacity for love, knowledge, understanding and, yes, joy are “ever-expansive, progressive, incremental” (“Joy’s Eternal Increase”). Never-ending. The implications of this are staggering.
First, it pummels any idea of heaven becoming boring, static or all-too-familiar. How can it? If your ability to enjoy God and his gifts is always expanding, your perception of heaven will always be fuller, deeper and richer. You will never look upon the same reality twice without some new way in which to enjoy it. You will look at each day through some new lens, where you see more clearly, understand more fully and feel more deeply the truest joy—ever-increasing, ever-full joy for all eternity.