Why is God beyond our understanding
What comes after death - what does "ETERNAL LIFE" mean?
It is not easy to talk about the hereafter in a massively this-worldly society like ours.
Death is suppressed. One does not talk about death, nor about what is hoped for and expected after death. One has the impression that at most esotericists and followers of Asian religions talk about it.
The fact that paradise is often spoken of in connection with Muslim suicide bombers also makes it difficult to deal with the subject. Especially since Christian theologians believed for a long time that they knew far too precisely about the hereafter.
It is therefore important - now before All Saints' Day - to re-spell the questions about “afterwards” on a biblical basis and to recall them. The long-time Viennese dogmatics professor Josef Weismayer shows why the talk of “eternal life” is not boring and boring.
Are you looking forward to eternal life?
Weismayer: This question is not easy to answer. As a believing Christian I should be able to answer with Paul: “For me, Christ is life and death is gain. (…) I have the desire to set out and be with Christ ”(Phil 1,21,23).
Eternal life, d. H. Life with the Eternal God, life in abundance, is our hope because Jesus Christ promised us this eternal life. And that exceeds our imagination and our imagination. The apostle Paul already tells us: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what has entered no human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor 2: 9) Hope in this life I.
What happens after death?
An idea. But in human history we find almost from the beginning that everything is not over with death. The deceased were not simply buried. It was believed that there were various ways of communicating with the deceased. Various grave goods, which are often found during excavations, also bear witness to a premonition of a life beyond death.
Today, however, we often come across the conviction that death means an absolute end. We had nothing to hope for beyond death. Only the memory remains, the memory of the deceased. But Christian hope is more than memory.
How can you emotionally imagine heaven? As a fulfillment of the highest happiness?
Weismayer: For me, the most comprehensive and at the same time most intimate description of "heaven" is that which Paul formulated: "We will always be with the Lord!" (1 Thes 4:17)
Heaven is an ever new experience, a never-ending fellowship with God, who loves me and who accepts me.
Is heaven more than endless hallelujah singing with angels making music?
As much as I love the Hallelujah from Handel's Messiah, constant exposure to it would be terrible. Even singing along forever would not be an ideal to strive for.
The biblical scriptures speak of the everlasting praise of God in heaven, but not in a mechanical continuous chant. For biblical thought, heaven is not a break, but a completion.
For me, as already said, the most comprehensive and brief statement from heaven is a sentence from the first letter of the apostle Paul: "We will always be with the Lord" (1 Thes 4:17)
This is made clear with different pictures: We read z. B. in the Revelation of John of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21: 1-22: 5).
Heaven is communion with God and at the same time communion with all who have achieved this goal. We expect a "new heaven and a new earth". But at the same time each and every individual will experience communion with God in a very personal way as fulfillment.
How can one talk about “resurrection” today?
In the creed we confess the "resurrection of the dead". This should not be thought of as collecting the remains of the deceased, as can sometimes be seen in artistic depictions of the Last Judgment.
Paul speaks of the resurrection of the dead in detail in 1 Cor. 15. “How are the dead raised, what kind of body will they have?” So Paul is asked (1 Cor 15:35).
First a short answer that doesn't sound polite: “You fool!” (1 Cor 15:36) But the apostle then continues: “What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. What is sown is poor, what is raised is glorious ...
An earthly body is sown, and an unearthly body is raised ”(1 Cor 15: 42-44). Resurrection means that we will be in communion with God as human beings, but in a new corporeality that is permeated by the Spirit of God.
Has our hope of resurrection grown weary?
Our resurrection hope has little effect on our lives. But it's not about always thinking about the end. Resurrection and eternal life are not just about a reality beyond our death.
The words of Jesus in the Gospel of John show us that resurrection and eternal life are real right in the middle of our lives. We hope to always be with the Lord, but the more intense our fellowship with the risen One is, the more we are already living in the resurrection.
Jesus called the already dead Lazarus out of the grave. Martha is convinced that the dead will be raised at the resurrection on Judgment Day.
In contrast, Jesus declares: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. "(Jn 11: 25f)
What does “eternal life” actually mean if eternity is not a concept of time?
We usually only understand “eternal” in a temporal sense, as a situation, a reality that has no beginning and no end. If one speaks of "eternal life" in this sense, then it would be a state that would be bland and boring. God is not only "eternal" in the sense that he always was and always will be.
God's eternity means life in abundance, means an inexhaustible, immeasurable, incomprehensible reality of mercy and love. Life with the eternal God is therefore by no means "bland", as is expressed, for example, in the classic text by Ludwig Thoma "Der Münchner im Himmel".
The eternity of God will mean for us the fascination of the always new: We will never come to an end, to always discover new things with God, to experience him again and again.
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