American Beaver Swimming In Pond Photograph by Ken Archer

Bruce Charlton hit on a pretty meaningful question.  Is heaven static or dynamic?  The Saint Christian view of heaven is very dynamic–millennia of progression followed by forever of creation–so when I got old enough to digest the scriptures on my own I was surprised that the consistent image of heaven in holy writ was static.  PeaceThe end is come. Never more to go outEnter thou into my rest.  The gospel, in other words, has the static view and the dynamic view.  Our lives have both also.  There are sometimes when we want to be out and doing and striving attracts us.  At other times we just want to be done.

Some thoughts.

    • The desire for peace is a desire to keep what you already have, to stop having to run the Red Queen’s race. How much would our desire for peace change when we truly experience the reality of stable, sure triumph?   When we know our victory is sure?  When we see an opportunity for an easy win, doesn’t the fine piratical gleam enter the eye and we are off and doing?

      • Maybe we don’t realize how restful heaven will be just by having the active and overwhelming presence of evil removed.  Think of the ideal school or art studio.  Everyone is doing great things, everyone is wonderfully supportive, you bounce out of bed every morning eager to achieve new levels of greatness, to participate in the ferment, to loot the frontiers of knowledge.    “Every man should be a holy pirate king.
    • The natural rhythm of mankind seems to be alterations of rest and activity like a hunter-gatherer.  It is endless slog and endless inactivity that do not sit well with us.


    • C.S. Lewis used enjoyment and contemplation as technical terms.  He explained that while you are doing an activity (“enjoyment”) you are focused on the doing and are unable to fully appreciate it.   Afterwards you think about the activity (“contemplation”) and you are now focused on your experience of doing it and are able to appreciate things you could not while enjoying it.  This is the same dynamic as heavenly rest and heavenly activity.

        • Glory is one of the key characteristics of heaven and God.  I think it is very significant that glory by its nature is contemplated.  It is not a quality of certain acts.  Instead, it is a quality that comes from appreciating those acts.  In the moment itself what I actually experience is terror or fear or determination–because glory comes out of hard things.  The glory emerges in God’s contemplation, other spectator’s contemplation, or my own later contemplation.   Here is my introduction post to Glory.  In case the connection isn’t obvious, let me explain.  I say that glory is conditional love.  Conditional love means an observer who is offering the love in return for performance–the observer can be one own’s self later.  Here is my full glory poasting.   Here are specific posts about glory as contemplation:



          • Somewhere out there is a post straight on point, I don’t know where.


        • Glory is where stillness and action meet.


        • Glory is sociality.  There must be an observer.  A triumph is literally a parade.


        • In other words, glory is rooted in activity (enjoyment) but does not actually exist until the activity is contemplated in rest.  Glory= wonderful deeds + appreciative contemplation.


      • Another gospel dichotomy is mercy and justice.  Justice and glory are deeply related;  basically they are the same thing, in fact.  Glory is the positive side of justice.  It is the reward and recognition for the good.   Punishment and loathing, including self-loathing, are just inverse glory.  I believe that the dichotomies between mercy and justice, unconditional love and glory, and heaven as rest and heaven as opportunity for action may all be different views of the same elephant.


    • Rhythm allows the alteration between rest and activity.  The fact that time does not end, that the afterlife is time and eternity, allows rhythm to continue.


    • At the end of Narnia, C.S. Lewis tries to combine rest and activity.  “Further up and farther in” but always into deeper truer versions of the Narnia they already knew.  It never satisfied me, not sure why.


  • Bruce C. says ” ultimately the reality cannot be both of the above; if one of them is real, then the other is a subjective illusion.”  Either static or dynamic, not both.  I disagree.  The true vision of time and eternity is continual progression and new experience (time) but with everything we have already done and accomplished still present to us.  We keep discovering the future, but never leave the past behind.  You need to understand this.  This is probably my best explanation.  Bruce C. recast that explanation, it may be easier to understand.


Ultimately the best answer I have is not a logical answer at all.  It is a dream or an image of a river.  It flows, it is not static.  But it is also peaceful and somehow the same.  You watch it, you go in and splash with your kids, you come and rest again on the bank.  The flow is the peace.

Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Peace like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a never-ending stream.

Thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.



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