reply to post by 0rbital
First, you have to separate the varying teachings about Heaven by different religions. In Buddhism reaching Nirvana is a state of bliss where you
don't experience anything. It is bliss because you no longer exist and can no longer suffer the pains of life. Buddha taught that nothing is
permanent. Muslims teach that it's pretty much going to be an everlasting orgy with a bunch of virgins for the men, though I don't recall ever reading
in the Quran what women will receive. A lot of new-age religions speak about Heaven being what you decide it to be, since you yourself have the
potential to be god if you just unleash that inner spiritual you.
Being a Christian, I'll be answering your question based on what the Bible has to say about Heaven.
A lot of people think the Christian concept of Heaven means that we will all get wings and halos while we float around in the clouds singing songs to
God for all eternity. Honestly, that would get VERY boring in my opinion. But that's the impression I had as a kid and I felt bad that going to Heaven
sounded so boring, but it was still better than burning for eternity. In reality, the Biblical Heaven is nothing like that.
Imagine life now, only perfected. No more pain (physical, emotional, etc.). The Bible doesn't actually teach that we go to Heaven but that God is
going to create a New Earth and that He will come and dwell with us there. The best way to define Heaven is "the place where God dwells" and right now
that is in an area that we don't have access to, but when God comes to live among His people on the New Earth, Heaven will essentially be on earth.
That being said, we also will NOT be omnipotent. We will not know everything. I imagine if we did that it would be boring. But instead we have an
eternity to continue to learn and grow in knowledge. Our new bodies will be similar to the one Christ had after resurrecting from the dead. They will
be spiritual bodies that are very similar but do not have the same restrictions. Jesus appeared to his disciples in a room that they had locked down
tight for fear of being persecuted. Jesus just appeared among them as if to go through the wall or something. He disappeared from view on occasion as
well. Some speculate that this means we will also be able to explore the deepest parts of the oceans and the bounds of outer space, exploring other
galaxies and potentially planets that have life.
I do admit the personality issue is one that I'm not 100% sure how to answer. Any mental illnesses would be cured, and that would affect their
personality, but it's only fair to them that they not have to suffer those limitations any longer. The angle that I've always wondered about was how
God will deal with the imperfections that we still have in our personalities. The Bible says that those who reject God/Christ will go to Hell along
with the murderers, adulterers, thieves, etc., but even the best of us are still not perfect and would cause turmoil in a perfect place like Heaven
(New earth). Catholics answer this by saying that we will become perfect through our time spent suffering in purgatory (it refines you and removes all
sinfulness from you). How God will do this I am unsure, but I have faith that He can figure it out. I do think for the most part our personalities
will remain intact.
Hope that helps answer your question. If you are really interested in the topic I would suggest a book called "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. It's
Christian, but it's also very enlightening and makes good use of Bible verses alongside of his claims to show you a pretty good picture of what the
next life will be like.
Edit: Also, I should mention that you are experiencing eternity right now. None of us knows what it is like to not exist, or, we have never
experienced non-existence. So far as I am aware, I have always existed. I only know that there was a time that I did not because of the testimony of
others. Eternity will continue on and on, just like it did yesterday, today, and tomorrow. don't think of eternity being some long distant time that
just will never get here. Think of it as eternity is right now.
edit on 17-3-2012 by Mykahel because: (no reason given)