Heaven as the ONLY LIFE
Why did God create Heaven as an AFTERLIFE? Why not create Heaven as the ONLY life?
After all, if God created Heaven as the ONLY life,
then there would never have been any evil on earth
and no one would ever have to go to hell.
(In this essay, I want you to imagine that you have already died and gone to heaven and that God himself is addressing hundreds of newly arrived believers and answering many of their questions. So imagine that it is God himself who is speaking throughout this entire essay.)
"When you were alive back on earth, many of you wondered,
'If God is ALL-LOVING, then why did God create heaven
as an AFTERLIFE? Couldn’t God have created heaven
as the ONLY LIFE? That way, there would never have
been any evil on earth, everyone could live together
happily for all eternity and no one would ever have to
go to hell.'
"Good question. Actually, we (the Trinity) originally wanted to do just that, but it never would have worked because the free will we felt compelled to give to each of you would also allow you to mistreat each other here in heaven, which would inevitably destroy the same perfect world we wanted to create for you.
"To understand our perspective, you must first recognize that the reason we felt compelled to give you autonomy and free will in the first place is that we ourselves (as the Trinity) don’t actually have autonomy and free will. Remember, since there are three of us living in one body of eternal time—the Living Past, the Living Present and the Living Future—we have been continuously hearing each other’s thoughts, 24/7/365, for all eternity. So we really don’t have the same autonomy as individuals as we gave to you. Further, it has always been problematic for any one of us to regularly do anything that the other two of us might disagree with. Therefore, long ago, the three of us jointly concluded that everything we would do from then on must always be agreed upon by all three of us—like a three-member committee where all votes to do anything must be unanimous. So we really don’t have the same free will that we gave to you either. And this is why we treasure autonomy and free will so much, because autonomy and free will is something we could give to each of you that we ourselves do not actually have, despite being otherwise all-powerful. As a result, long before we put our plan about the perfect afterlife into action, we already knew we would be compelled to give free will to each of you, even though this meant you would now have the free will to love or to hate, to be upset, angry, envious, jealous, hostile, or violent towards one another or not, to apologize or not, to forgive or not, to believe that God exists or not, to believe in a Day of Judgment or not, to believe that heaven or hell exists or not, and so on.
"So this was our problem:
How could we give all of you total free will, including
the free will to mistreat each other and the free will
to sin against us, while at the same time allowing all of
you to live in a perfect world—a world that could only
remain perfect as long as none of you retained your
free will to mistreat each other and none of you retained
your free will to sin against us?
"Obviously, to maintain the afterlife in an eternal state of perfection, we would have to take away the very same free will to sin that we felt compelled to give you to begin with. Of course, since it would be against our nature to forcibly take back our gift of free will, our children had to somehow demonstrate that they would voluntarily give up their free will to sin if ever given the opportunity to do so. This realization forced us to make heaven an afterlife that could only follow a previous mortal life during which our children would be given the time to demonstrate their desire to rid themselves of their free will to sin against each other and against us.
"But now you may wonder,
During this previous mortal life, how would we
be able to recognize which of our children would be
willing to voluntarily give up their free will to sin?
"We reasoned that those children who truly loved us and who truly loved each other would be the ones who would naturally and eagerly desire to rid themselves of their free will to sin against us and to sin against each other.
"You see, all of our children who truly loved each other and who truly loved us would naturally feel guilty whenever they mistreated someone or whenever they disobeyed us. Of course, we designed the emotion of guilt to prompt our children to apologize and to ask forgiveness and make amends with anyone they offended, while inspiring them to become more loving and less unloving, which in turn would promote a subconscious desire to rid themselves of their own free will to ever again mistreat each other or sin against us. So those of our children who truly loved each other and who truly loved us should naturally be eager to rid themselves of their free will to ever again sin while they were alive on earth. Likewise, these same children would eagerly give up their free will to sin in heaven too.
"Now do you remember when you died back on earth and your guardian angels transferred you—the soul—from your deceased body into your new perfect body that you now inhabit here in heaven? None of you noticed it at the time, but the “sin program” (so-to-speak) had already been deleted from the brains of each of your new perfect afterlife bodies. Instead, your new brains were all re-programmed to be incapable of ever sinning against each other or sinning against us, just like each of you wanted (whether you actually thought about it or not). This is what I meant when I said, 'I will write my laws on your hearts and minds'.
"You see, back on earth, just like a person can delete old instructions from a computer program (or write new instructions onto a computer program) my statements in your Bible that 'I will write my laws on your hearts and minds' (as recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and in Hebrews 8:8-12 about the New Covenant) describes our plan to remove your free will to sin in heaven by deleting all programming from your afterlife brains that allow any capacity for sinful thoughts or actions, so heaven can remain perfect for all eternity, while at the same time, magnify your brain’s programming to love one another. In this way, in heaven, it would become impossible for you to ever become upset, angry, envious, jealous, hostile, or violent towards one another or become upset at us in any way either. You would still have complete free will in all other ways (such as what to do, what to say, what to sing, what to learn, who to be with, how to be creative, what musical instruments to play, what sports to play, what job to have, etc.) but you would lose your free will to ever sin again.
"Of course, I would never take away your free will to sin while you were still alive on earth and instructed to follow my Great Commission to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (as recorded in Matthew 28:19). So, to make it clear in your Bible that my New Covenant about “writing my laws on your hearts and mind” would only take place in heaven (when my Great Commission was over because there were no unbelievers in heaven with whom to share the gospel), I added the following condition to my New Covenant: 'No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest' (as recorded in Jeremiah 31:34 and Hebrews 8:11). Obviously then, my New Covenant—that 'I will write my laws on your hearts and minds'—can only refer to the AFTERLIFE in heaven because that is the only time when there are no longer any unbelievers around.
"Under my Old Covenant on earth (as recorded in Deuteronomy 11:18) it was your own responsibility to “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds”. In other words, under the Old Covenant, you yourself were responsible for your own good behavior because you always had the free will to sin (even if our Holy Spirit was living within you, as in the New Testament). But under my New Covenant, I myself am responsible for your good behavior because I—just like any good computer programmer on earth who can delete programs from computers—have now deleted your free will to sin by 'writing my laws on your hearts and minds', and giving you a new body with a new brain for you to administer—a brain that no longer has the capacity to sin.
"This is why the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant, because under the Old Covenant, you always retained the free will to sin and break the covenant (even if our Holy Spirit was living within you), whereas under the New Covenant, you no longer have the free will to sin and break the covenant.
"So when I said, 'This cup is the New Covenant in my blood' (in Luke 22:20), this was my blood guarantee that I would enforce the New Covenant in the AFTERLIFE by 'writing my laws on your hearts and minds', thereby giving each of you a new body with a new brain with new programming that magnifies your love for one another and also makes it impossible for any of you to ever become upset, angry, envious, jealous, hostile, or violent towards one another or becoming upset at us in any way either. And as I said, each of you still has complete free will in all other ways (such as what to do, what to say, what to sing, what to learn, who to be with, how to be creative, what musical instruments to play, what sports to play, what job to have, etc.) but you no longer have the capacity to ever sin again.
"So you see, we—the Trinity—had to make heaven be an AFTERLIFE (rather than the ONLY life), because this was the only possible way to resolve all these issues."