"How much more appealing is the Bible’s final scene in which God moves house, bringing his dwelling to earth, where he lives with us there, wiping away our tears and seeing to it that everything that makes life bad is taken away. That is good news to hope for … It forces us to take this kind of life -bodily life in a physical world – seriously, because we will, apart from a possible brief interlude, experience nothing but this kind of life for ever and ever…"
When it comes to a good read, I absolutely love a well written 'classic' period Star Trek novel.
You can always tell when such a book has been crafted with care - in a few pages, I'm back amidst the decks of that famous TV star ship, hearing the voices of the characters that have become as much a part of my life as the people and places that I cherish.
A few years back - sad person that I am - I attended a Star Trek exhibition in London. There were some amazing exhibits, but the one that struck me the deepest was a full size re-production of the bridge of the original USS Enterprise. I have spent so many hours in that place - the novels allow me to entertain a very pleasant fiction that somewhere, right now, that beautiful ship is carrying the likes of Kirk, Spock and Mc Coy into another inspiring adventure....
Of course, many people ascribe to fictions that are far more distressing.
Somehow, Christianity for much of the last twenty centuries (yes, that long), has been plagued by the mis-understanding that any 'dream' or desire related to seeing life here and now lasting forever is misguided and incorrect - that 'heaven' is the final address for our souls, so get ready to become something other than a human being.
That always makes a huge question jump right up in front of my eyes - if God had just meant us to be ethereal, disembodied 'souls' all along, why did He bother with the whole business of making the physical world - why wasn't He just content to bring out a different 'brand' of angels?
When God viewed all that He had made in Genesis, He was very pleased with everything that constituted what can be defined as the physical universe, and there's a key reason why. In the last few pages of Revelation, we discover that this is where God intends to permanently 'house' heaven - to make Creation, redeemed and glorified through Jesus Christ, His eternal home.
Rather than seeing the universe around us as some temporary stop-over that we just 'pass through' to get to 'the other side', we need to realize that sin and death have introduced a foreign interruption into something which God intends to last forever.
I cannot begin to tell you, as an artist and a 'dreamer', how vital this truth has become to me. All the moments of wonder, joy, amazement, beauty and splendor that have coloured life here will find a depth and completion in tactile eternal life that we cannot yet even begin to fully comprehend...
Who knows - perhaps the day is coming when we will indeed travel through the stars and really begin to see the array of God's handiwork in a very direct way; but of one thing I'm sure - this is our home, and it always will be.