The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting
Bowhead whales can live up to 211 years making them one of the longest living animals on earth. (1)
Our life, which at most is scarcely more than 100 years and usually less, seems short compared with the bowhead whale, but we live longer in the end! Nobody knows what happens to whales when they die but we do know that we, after death, live for ever and shall never stop thinking.
Disbelief in a future life
There are some people who think that death is the end of everything: so an old Roman poet once wrote, “For us, when once our little day has reached its setting, there waits an endless and unbroken night of sleep”. (2)
Actually, this is a very dangerous thing to believe, because if you think there is no life after death you will not bother to get ready for it. If red squirrels thought that the summer and the autumn were all that there was and that the winter would never come, they would never bother to get ready for winter by collecting nuts for a winter store.
Misbelief in a future life
There are other people who believe in a future life but have very odd ideas about what it is like. For example, you’ll have heard the silly idea that in Heaven people do nothing but sit on a cloud playing a golden harp! Many people think of Heaven as a kind of summer holiday that lasts for ever. In other words, many people think of heaven without God which, of course, is complete nonsense.
Heaven is where God is seen. St John had a vision of Heaven as the City of God which needs neither sun nor moon to give it light because it is filled with the light of God’s very Presence (Revelation 21:23). A city is a place where many people live and so in Heaven, if we get there, we shall live with God and with the angels and the Blessed Saints.
In this life our happiest times are those we spend with people we are fond of, our relations and friends. But Heaven will be happier than anything we have ever known before, because God is more wonderful than we can imagine and to see him and know him and to be loved by him will be unimaginable joy. And this joy will last for ever. All the things that spoil this life will be gone, never to return. So in his vision St John heard a voice say, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (NRSV, Revelation 21:3,4).