I was at Taco Cabana sitting across the table from a friend of mine a while back and during our conversation and meal he posed a question that shocked me a bit. It went like this, “I mean we’re not gonna need our bodies in heaven, right?” I wouldn’t have been shocked had it been someone who wasn’t raised around the church and had simply caught onto some odd cultural view of heaven, but this was someone who was raised around the church and grew up learning about the bible. OK, so what does this have to do with FaceTime? You ask. Well, I’ll go into that a bit further down, but first I have to build out some background so that we’re all on the same page.
So just hang with me a bit. Now, some of you may be wondering why this is a big deal. Well, here’s the thing…..Heaven. Is. Physical.
What? How’s that? We’re not all disembodied beings floating and playing harps while everything is ALL WHITE? No my friend, that’s…well that’s hell. I don’t think God used up all His creativity down here and then when He started preparing heaven for us, like he said in John 14:3, He looked around and said “Ya know what? Let’s go institutional with this…all white!!!” Yeah, I’m almost certain that’s not how it went down.
Now, I’m going to do my best to not take a ton of artistic liberty on the bible here (because there is a ton about eschatology and life after death that we know nothing about), but I think this does require some imagination. I mean, the thought of Heaven should cause us to use our imagination right? It should get us excited about the possibilities and we should dream about it like Paul did in Romans 8:18…or maybe he wasn’t dreaming (2 Corinthians 12:2). I think there’ll be colors we’ve never seen, and music notes we’ve never heard, and textures we’ve never felt. I mean the foundation is made of precious stones and gold?!?! It’s gonna be off the chain!!!
So why else do we believe that heaven is physical? Well in there is a theological term that is found throughout scripture called Resurrection. You may have heard this term, it’s what happened to Jesus when he walked out of the tomb. It’s also what is believed will happen to us once there’s a new heaven and a new earth. Now there are many views on how this happens (I won’t go into that), but the point is that because of the eschaton (the making of all things new by Christ) in the end we all have new bodies, a new heaven, and a new earth.
Ok, so now to how this relates to FaceTime and technology in general. At the beginning I told you about a conversation that I had with friend. Now obviously there are multiple levels of fail here.
Since he was raised around church I think part of the failure, and a growing concern for me, is the lack of teaching on resurrection. Resurrection and the eschaton (the making of all things new by Christ) are by my account the most incredibly encouraging doctrines in all of Christendom.
The other problem is that technology is not neutral. It isn’t necessarily evil or good, but it does carry with it intrinsic values given to it by those that created it. E.G. FaceTime gives us the idea that being physically present isn’t necessary for actually being present. The same is true for Facebook and Twitter. Despite all of the advantages they bring in terms of increasing our ability to communicate, they also take away part of our ability to communicate as we would physically(text for example takes away body language and voice tone). Those technologies do this while at the same time giving us the idea that our physical bodies aren’t as necessary as they actually are. John Dyer writes extensively about this in his book From the Garden to the City.
What about you? Have you given thought to the resurrection? What will it be like? Does it encourage you? Does it excite you? How does technology affect your ability to be present?