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Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - Momarchist - 10-12-2020

Hi everyone,
When the times are ended and the Final Judgment comes, and the saints go to heaven and the wicked are condemned, and the saints live in the New Jerusalem, will there be any new people created? Or will God have created everyone He is going to create? If I had to guess I would say everyone would have been created already, because there would be no way anymore for people's will to be tested and He wants us all to love Him willingly. 
I'm not well catechized or anything so forgive me in advance if there's glaring errors here. 
Thank you!


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - Melkite - 10-12-2020

(10-12-2020, 10:00 AM)Momarchist Wrote: Hi everyone,
When the times are ended and the Final Judgment comes, and the saints go to heaven and the wicked are condemned, and the saints live in the New Jerusalem, will there be any new people created? Or will God have created everyone He is going to create? If I had to guess I would say everyone would have been created already, because there would be no way anymore for people's will to be tested and He wants us all to love Him willingly. 
I'm not well catechized or anything so forgive me in advance if there's glaring errors here. 
Thank you!

Christ says that in heaven there will be no marriage and no giving of marriage.  This can be presumed to mean that no additional souls will be created, because God designed the creation of a new soul to require sexual intercourse within marriage as a catalyst, if not the essential cause.

However, even though we will not be tested per se, we will not lose our free will.  We are not automatons now; our ultimate destination is not to become such.  We would lose the capability of loving God if we no longer had free will.  It some mystical way that we can't really understand, the freedom to love God must still be there in order to truly love him, even if it is the case that no one there will choose not to.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - MagisterMusicae - 10-12-2020

(10-12-2020, 12:49 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(10-12-2020, 10:00 AM)Momarchist Wrote: Hi everyone,
When the times are ended and the Final Judgment comes, and the saints go to heaven and the wicked are condemned, and the saints live in the New Jerusalem, will there be any new people created? Or will God have created everyone He is going to create? If I had to guess I would say everyone would have been created already, because there would be no way anymore for people's will to be tested and He wants us all to love Him willingly. 
I'm not well catechized or anything so forgive me in advance if there's glaring errors here. 
Thank you!

Christ says that in heaven there will be no marriage and no giving of marriage.  This can be presumed to mean that no additional souls will be created, because God designed the creation of a new soul to require sexual intercourse within marriage as a catalyst, if not the essential cause.

However, even though we will not be tested per se, we will not lose our free will.  We are not automatons now; our ultimate destination is not to become such.  We would lose the capability of loving God if we no longer had free will.  It some mystical way that we can't really understand, the freedom to love God must still be there in order to truly love him, even if it is the case that no one there will choose not to.

The mystical way if often described by scholastics as being "impossible" to sin, not because there is not a radical possibility of free will choosing in heaven, but because in the Beatific Vision we see and possess God as perfectly as we can, Who is the Highest Good, every other lesser good would not be desirable, so not sought out, and so not chosen.

In a sense, it would be the sheer attractiveness of God who is no longer hidden, which would make nothing else attractive, just as one who is enamored of his beloved seems to tune out everything else.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - Momarchist - 10-13-2020

I always felt there was something off about the Protestant view of "we'll be with our families in heaven." Maybe that will be so (?) but it is really more an "Elysian Fields" type of view of our eternal destiny rather than a Catholic "beatific vision" one. I do wonder what heavenly society will be like. It is hard for me to imagine.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - Melkite - 10-13-2020

(10-13-2020, 09:31 AM)Momarchist Wrote: I always felt there was something off about the Protestant view of "we'll be with our families in heaven." Maybe that will be so (?) but it is really more an "Elysian Fields" type of view of our eternal destiny rather than a Catholic "beatific vision" one. I do wonder what heavenly society will be like. It is hard for me to imagine.

I don't see why we wouldn't be with our families.  Or at least those family members and friends who make it to heaven.  I've always the beatific vision concept seemed like a hybrid Buddhist-pantheist concept.  Buddhist in that you effectively cease to exist as an individual entity, and pantheist in that your consciousness doesn't cease to exist, but is so focused on God and nothing else that you're basically absorbed back into him. 

I don't think it makes much sense for God to have created us as social, communal creatures if that aspect of our nature will be substantially lost in eternity.  I also think the beatific vision concept is why so many atheists and former Christians think heaven sounds so boring they would never want to go there.  If heaven really is just staring at God for all eternity, I don't blame them.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - Momarchist - 10-13-2020

Yeah, you described much more articulately my confusion and struggle with the idea. Like a type of nirvana, an erasure of self. But we should be more fully ourselves than ever, we should be the entities we were intended to be, fully indwelt and perfected as selves. So how do we reconcile this? Is the Beatific Vision the position of the Church? What is heaven like? Do people still live in houses, re-create, have hobbies? I imagine it as how God intended man to be before the fall. From what I understand about Christian metaphysics, we are a body-soul composite, and after the Resurrection we will have our bodies back. At home in our bodies, wouldn't we still be creatures with a material existence, and not more contemplative like the pure spirits of the angels? And work is not a fallen task, it is a material way in which we fulfill our responsibilities of dominion over what God has entrusted us with. Re-creation, a little different than work, means exercising the creative power that is given to us as we are made in His image- art, craft, etc. And because we have rational knowledge instead of immanent knowledge like the angels, we are forever learning since God is infinite... right? I admit that the idea of an eternity without dwelling in a material place (a home), or not tinkering, or learning, is disorienting to me! I love to tinker and learn.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - MagisterMusicae - 10-13-2020

(10-13-2020, 09:42 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(10-13-2020, 09:31 AM)Momarchist Wrote: I always felt there was something off about the Protestant view of "we'll be with our families in heaven." Maybe that will be so (?) but it is really more an "Elysian Fields" type of view of our eternal destiny rather than a Catholic "beatific vision" one. I do wonder what heavenly society will be like. It is hard for me to imagine.

I don't see why we wouldn't be with our families.  Or at least those family members and friends who make it to heaven.  I've always the beatific vision concept seemed like a hybrid Buddhist-pantheist concept.  Buddhist in that you effectively cease to exist as an individual entity, and pantheist in that your consciousness doesn't cease to exist, but is so focused on God and nothing else that you're basically absorbed back into him. 

I don't think it makes much sense for God to have created us as social, communal creatures if that aspect of our nature will be substantially lost in eternity.  I also think the beatific vision concept is why so many atheists and former Christians think heaven sounds so boring they would never want to go there.  If heaven really is just staring at God for all eternity, I don't blame them.

It's not either/or, but both/and.

The essential aspect of heaven is the Beatific Vision. That is heaven. It is essential and perfect beatitude/happiness. It is an intellectual vision, though, and not seen through eyes (else the Blessed today could not have it). In no case, though, does this dogma suggest that individuality is absorbed, or that our consciousness ceases to exist. Nor does it make the soul a "part" of God, any more than saying that to be created in God's image and likeness, and participate in Being (of which God is unqualified Being itself), is pantheism.

Nevertheless, there is, in addition to what is essential, many accidental things, which, while not essential, are useful, good and beneficial. The essential aspect of food is its nutritave value. Pills could provide this without any taste, in the exact amount needed, and so essentially be food. To have a nice meal with all of the flavors and aromas and textures is not essential, but accidental, but certainly part of the proper "eating experience" and we would not be happy without that part.

In us, to have a soul and body are essential. To be able to exercise all their powers is accidental. A man in a coma is still human. He has a body and a soul. He cannot use many of the powers of each, which are "proper" accidents, and we would say are "necessary" for a good human life, but they are still only "attached" to what it is to be a human being, and so, accidental, even if normally and for a real human life, they are necessary. 

Other things, like being able to know other people, converse, spend time with these people, and many other things which are bodily are not essential to heaven, but are accidental goods. No one has suggested, except perhaps heretics, that the Catholic dogma teaches that heaven is just where we all stare at God, rather that in actively contemplating God, we see everything God wants us to see, and when we have our bodies restored to us at the end of time, we will have an added (but accidental) happiness, because we can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and do all the things that humans do as social creatures, without ever being at risk of sin.

Being able to contemplate God is not opposed to human actions as well, and we have proof of it in Our Lord, who from the moment of His Conception, even in his human soul, had the Beatific Vision, and yet managed to eat, converse, and socialize pretty well.

The reason, I think, this latter part is often downplayed in catectchetical manuals is because there is always a danger of picturing heaven in too human or natural of a way. Being a place for humans, however, there is a material aspect to it, but the fear, and rightly so in a world obsessed with individualism, materialism and naturalism, is that if "heaven" is just a humanly "happy place" we misunderstand God, and also misunderstand why and how it is possible to lose heaven and be condemned to Hell for unrepented sin.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - 51olds - 10-13-2020

I've also thought about this a bit, about what kind of things we will "do" in heaven if we get there. Staring at God forever does enter the mind, but also I know that scripture tells us that we cannot even begin to imagine what awaits us there. So I trust God as Our Father, and he know how to make us happy
So, I think that perhaps protestants and others maybe don't "trust" that God will make them happy for eternity? Not sure, but it is sad. I have relatives that are Jehova Witness and they've said things like "why do you want to go to heaven, it will be boring there". Their opinion is that we will 'inherit' the earth and live here forever.
I dont think they have a concept of the Beatific Vision.


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - Melkite - 10-13-2020

(10-13-2020, 02:37 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(10-13-2020, 09:42 AM)Melkite Wrote:
(10-13-2020, 09:31 AM)Momarchist Wrote: I always felt there was something off about the Protestant view of "we'll be with our families in heaven." Maybe that will be so (?) but it is really more an "Elysian Fields" type of view of our eternal destiny rather than a Catholic "beatific vision" one. I do wonder what heavenly society will be like. It is hard for me to imagine.

I don't see why we wouldn't be with our families.  Or at least those family members and friends who make it to heaven.  I've always the beatific vision concept seemed like a hybrid Buddhist-pantheist concept.  Buddhist in that you effectively cease to exist as an individual entity, and pantheist in that your consciousness doesn't cease to exist, but is so focused on God and nothing else that you're basically absorbed back into him. 

I don't think it makes much sense for God to have created us as social, communal creatures if that aspect of our nature will be substantially lost in eternity.  I also think the beatific vision concept is why so many atheists and former Christians think heaven sounds so boring they would never want to go there.  If heaven really is just staring at God for all eternity, I don't blame them.

It's not either/or, but both/and.

The essential aspect of heaven is the Beatific Vision. That is heaven. It is essential and perfect beatitude/happiness. It is an intellectual vision, though, and not seen through eyes (else the Blessed today could not have it). In no case, though, does this dogma suggest that individuality is absorbed, or that our consciousness ceases to exist. Nor does it make the soul a "part" of God, any more than saying that to be created in God's image and likeness, and participate in Being (of which God is unqualified Being itself), is pantheism.

Nevertheless, there is, in addition to what is essential, many accidental things, which, while not essential, are useful, good and beneficial. The essential aspect of food is its nutritave value. Pills could provide this without any taste, in the exact amount needed, and so essentially be food. To have a nice meal with all of the flavors and aromas and textures is not essential, but accidental, but certainly part of the proper "eating experience" and we would not be happy without that part.

In us, to have a soul and body are essential. To be able to exercise all their powers is accidental. A man in a coma is still human. He has a body and a soul. He cannot use many of the powers of each, which are "proper" accidents, and we would say are "necessary" for a good human life, but they are still only "attached" to what it is to be a human being, and so, accidental, even if normally and for a real human life, they are necessary. 

Other things, like being able to know other people, converse, spend time with these people, and many other things which are bodily are not essential to heaven, but are accidental goods. No one has suggested, except perhaps heretics, that the Catholic dogma teaches that heaven is just where we all stare at God, rather that in actively contemplating God, we see everything God wants us to see, and when we have our bodies restored to us at the end of time, we will have an added (but accidental) happiness, because we can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and do all the things that humans do as social creatures, without ever being at risk of sin.

Being able to contemplate God is not opposed to human actions as well, and we have proof of it in Our Lord, who from the moment of His Conception, even in his human soul, had the Beatific Vision, and yet managed to eat, converse, and socialize pretty well.

The reason, I think, this latter part is often downplayed in catectchetical manuals is because there is always a danger of picturing heaven in too human or natural of a way. Being a place for humans, however, there is a material aspect to it, but the fear, and rightly so in a world obsessed with individualism, materialism and naturalism, is that if "heaven" is just a humanly "happy place" we misunderstand God, and also misunderstand why and how it is possible to lose heaven and be condemned to Hell for unrepented sin.

Just to clarify, I don't actually think that the beatific vision means pantheism, or that it is an inherently either/or situation.  But, if in the beatific vision, one becomes so focused and absorbed by the contemplation of God that they aren't aware that anything else exists, then isn't the differentiation between it and pantheism largely an academic exercise?  In experience, what would really be the difference?  I also don't agree with the atheists that heaven is "boring."  I'm just saying, since we can't imagine what heaven is like, I can understand why someone who thinks heaven is nothing other than staring at God finds the prospect of spending eternity there to be less than appealing.

You do raise a new question about it for me.  I had never really thought of the beatific vision as an intellectual vision.  I just kind of thought it would be essentially a bodiless, yet still more or less physical vision.  If there is no physical, or physical-like, component to it prior to the resurrection, and it is just an intellectual awareness, is the beatific vision then just a sort of dreaming soul-sleep?


RE: Question about heaven, New Jerusalem - MagisterMusicae - 10-13-2020

(10-13-2020, 04:02 PM)Melkite Wrote: Just to clarify, I don't actually think that the beatific vision means pantheism, or that it is an inherently either/or situation.

I didn't think you did, necessarily, but it's good to reply to an objection as if it were asserted, rather than just proffered for consideration. It helps make things more succinct and clear.

(10-13-2020, 04:02 PM)Melkite Wrote: But, if in the beatific vision, one becomes so focused and absorbed by the contemplation of God that they aren't aware that anything else exists, then isn't the differentiation between it and pantheism largely an academic exercise?  In experience, what would really be the difference?  I also don't agree with the atheists that heaven is "boring."  I'm just saying, since we can't imagine what heaven is like, I can understand why someone who thinks heaven is nothing other than staring at God finds the prospect of spending eternity there to be less than appealing.

If someone would suggest that the contemplation of God is so all consuming that everything else, including breathing and other functions become quasi-impossible, then that's a fair objection. It would make the body's resurrection superfluous.

I'd just point out, however, that Our Lord, as man, had the Beatific Vision, and it not only did not impede his normal human actions, it enhanced and perfected them.

On that topic, I'd like to think that the body's experience in heaven as related to the Beatific Vision is much like Our Lord's infused knowledge (of everything) which was perfect, but also lacking experience, so He could grow in knowledge by experiencing what he already knew in theory and by speculation. Thus, the Beatific Vision will give us all knowledge and happiness, but the experience of that happiness is not merely an intellectual exercise, but accidentally increased and so "perfected" when we can also use the senses again (which depend on the body).

(10-13-2020, 04:02 PM)Melkite Wrote: You do raise a new question about it for me.  I had never really thought of the beatific vision as an intellectual vision.  I just kind of thought it would be essentially a bodiless, yet still more or less physical vision.  If there is no physical, or physical-like, component to it prior to the resurrection, and it is just an intellectual awareness, is the beatific vision then just a sort of dreaming soul-sleep?

I'd hesitate to use the term, because it probably does not capture the true intellectual activity which is involved, but I guess that's a somewhat crude way of looking at it.

"Dream" does not really capture it, because dreaming is not an intellectual activity. Dogs dream. This is an act of the imagination which assembles and presents images in seeming random fashion, and so it does not necessarily involved the intellect.

The Beatific Vision is something which is an active contemplation of God, so also it's not merely a passive action like sleep.

Perhaps a better analogy is a dream in which one is engaged, active and aware of everything, actively choosing and delving deeper into the dream and mystery of God constantly.