In yesterday's daily reading of A Year With C.S. Lewis, I read a particularly intriguing piece from Lewis' work, Miracles. The passage is titled No Chocolates? and interestingly enough is about sex. He says that because the greatest physical pleasure our earthly bodies can feel is the pleasure of sex, we are hindered in imagining the glories of heaven. He says that the glory and pleasure and beauty of heaven will be beyond compare, but we, in our finite state of being, cannot even begin to imagine it.
But it's the analogy Lewis uses that struck me. He says, "... I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer "No", he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don't bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate; he does not know the positive thing that excludes it."
I love how he captures his point in such a simple allegory. He compares sex to chocolate and heaven to sex, saying that since we don't know heaven, we naively consider sex to be the best thing ever. In a similar way, a young boy who loves chocolate but has never had sex would easily believe that chocolate is better than sex. He has never had sex; how could he know how much better it is? We've never been to heaven, so how could we be expected to know how much better heaven is?
I'm reminded by something Paul wrote. In Philippians 3, he writes, "... I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." I think that once in heaven, we will be able to fully agree that all these things we were so consumed with on earth were not but rubble, trash, and garbage in light of the surpassing greatness of the glory of heaven. Isaiah 65 is a beautiful chapter. In it, God describes the new heaven and earth, which is also described at the end of Revelation. God says in verses 17-18, "'Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.'" God essentially says it will be so great that we won't even remember the pleasures of this earth. That sounds incredible! Too good to be true. I must admit, it's very hard to imagine greater pleasures than the things on this earth, pleasures so great that we will never think of these things. But that's what God says. And what God says is Truth.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" ~Revelation 21:1, 3-4