December 04, 2008

The closest we get to heaven . . .

My son Lucas had just awakened from his nap. As I held him, he snuggled into my shoulder for a minute or two--waking up is so hard. And as I enjoyed his embrace, it occurred to me that that feeling, loving embrace, may be the closest we get to heaven in this life. I've just enjoyed a couple wonderful books on the Trinity (Coppedge, The God Who Is Triune, and Shults, Reforming the Doctrine of God), and one of the beautiful pictures they paint is of God's life as a mutual sharing and indwelling and relating. Instead of thinking of God as a static monad, we develop a picture of dynamic, vibrant life and love. Further, we come to reimagine our relationship to God. We come to see salvation as including the joining of our lives to the Trinitarian life, a participating with God in this beautiful relationship. Paul uses the image of marriage to point toward the beautiful intimacy and union the church shares with Christ, and likewise the Gospel of John repeatedly talks of Jesus' unity with the father and believers' unity with Christ. There is a beautiful embrace that takes place here. (Cf. Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace; I'll need to go back and give it some attention when the opportunity presents itself.) So, I say, the beautiful contented and loving embrace of a father with child and of a husband and a wife are the closest we get here on Earth to experiencing everlasting life. And that's a great thought.

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