I’ve always loved C.S. Lewis’ A Great Divorce. It is an allegory about heaven and hell. He is very imaginative about each place, but I especially love his description of heaven. He describes Heaven as a place where every sense is heightened, every small twig and branch are so thoroughly real and its inhabitants are glorious and exuberantly beautiful.
The narrator says: Then some re-adjustment of the mind or some focusing of my eyes took place, and I saw the whole phenomenon the other way round. The men were as they always had been; as all the men I had known had been perhaps. It was the light, the grass, the trees that were different; made of some different substance, so much solider than things in our country that men were ghosts by comparison. Moved by a sudden thought, I bent down and tried to pluck a daisy which was growing at my feet. The stalk wouldn’t break. I tried to twist it, but it wouldn’t twist. I tugged till the sweat stood out on my forehead and I had lost most of the skin off my hands. The little flower was hard, not like wood or even like iron, but like diamond. There was a leaf-a young tender beech-leaf, lying in the grass beside it. I tried to pick the leaf up: my heart almost cracked with the effort, and I believe I did just raise it. But I had to let it go at once; it was heavier than a sack of coal. As I stood, recovering my breath with great gasps and looking down at the daisy, I noticed that I could see the grass not only between my feet but through them. I also was a phantom. Who will give me words to express the terror of that discovery? “Golly!” thought I. “I’m in for it this time.”
What does Lewis mean when even the daisies are more solid, more real in the new heavens and the new earth? He is hinting that all of creation is fallen, and chiefly that we are fallen creatures. What we see is just a foretaste of what is to come in the new heavens and the new earth, where all of creation will jostle and babble and shout about the God’s glory.
Likewise, as I mentioned in a previous post, Lewis states that all of the joys that we have presently are but signposts or previews of the joys that await us in heaven. In the new heavens and the new earth all of our joys will be fulfilled. It is hard to even fathom what that will be like, as many of our earthly experiences, although joyful, are still tinged with difficulty and sadness.
The reason though that the new heavens and the new earth will be so wonderful is because God is there and will be dwelling with us, as was intended from the beginning. Of course the new heavens and the new earth will be beautiful, and peaceful, and harmonious, but it will be so because God is king and we are his children. We will be fully satisfied in His presence. Then, we will have ultimate joy.