We long for beauty, and when the biblical writers speak of heaven, they use the most beautiful imagery they can. You can almost hear the agony of the writer trying to get it right while knowing he falls far short of what he sees. In the book of Revelation, John uses the word like again and again. “And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance … Before the throne there was … a sea of glass like crystal” (4:3, 6 NASB). The beauty cannot be captured, only alluded to by the most beautiful things on earth.
I believe the beauty of heaven is why the Bible says we shall be “feasted.” It’s not merely that there will be no suffering, though that will be tremendous joy in itself; to have every Arrow we’ve ever known pulled out and every wound dressed with the leaves from the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). But there is more. We will have glorified bodies with which to partake of all the beauty of heaven. As Edwards wrote, “Every faculty will be an inlet of delight.” We will eat freely the fruit of the tree of life and drink deeply from the river of life that flows through the city. And the food will satisfy not just our body but our soul. As C.S. Lewis said,
“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” (The Weight of Glory)
And so we shall.
And that’s the memo.
By John Eldredge from Sacred Romance