Recently, I enjoyed a lengthy conversation with a faith son regarding our future careers in the Heavenly Kingdom Jesus promised for those exercising faith in him. (John 14:1-3) The brother discussed how we must use our God-endowed imagination to pierce through the veil of what heavenly life will be like. Looking for everything to be spelled out in scripture handicaps both the Spirit of Truth and our own God-given imagination from taking us beyond the physical, fleshly existence. It was with this fresh perspective that I re-read a very familiar statement written by the apostle Paul in a more comprehensive context.
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him”.
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
How often have we read this scripture in isolation with the very general understanding that what God has in store for us in heaven we just can't conceive of at present, but whatever it is will be wonderful and we just have to wait and leave it at that! However, connect what Paul wrote next:
"[T]hese are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit."
– 1 Corinthians 2:10
Paul indicates we do not need to wait until the resurrection to envision "what no eye has seen and what no ear heard." He is indicating it as a present reality that we can comprehend what the physical eye cannot see and what the literal ear cannot hear through the operation of the spirit – through our ‘spirit senses’ such as faith, intuition and imagination. And by exercising our spirit senses, we can search into "the deep things of God," the hidden realities including the heavenly realm, our future home.
Our brothers and sisters need to understand that ‘imagination’ is not a childish distraction one engages in to idle away the moments. This is a God-given faculty that functions in partnership with our intellect, our spirituality and all mechanisms that have been put in place to facilitate our developing the full stature of the Christ. Even now, imagination (also called visualization and ‘thought experiments’) is recognized as a valuable mechanism in innovation and scientific discovery.
Children of faith can see far beyond the limits of mortal vision because the things seen by the eye of faith ventures into the unknown and the unverifiable due to the witness given by the spirit that these thoughts and perceptions, conceived by both young and old, exist and are even more real than the place we now live or the air we now breathe.
Exercising our spirit senses is the new frontier for faith sons to tread. To live lives now that reflect the everlastingly more Godly ways of divine expressions while living in the midst of finite creations. This is the true definition of ‘keeping ones eyes on the prize’ (Philippians 3:14) or ‘fixed on the things above.’ (Colossians 3:1-2) This is the goal to which forward thinking men and women with spiritual vision should be pursuing.
Reading the apostle Paul's words to the Corinthians in context provides an "abba moment” of reflection. Some may have taken issue with the Heavenly Contemplation series of articles posted on this website. Some may object claiming that the writers have gone beyond what is written in the Bible. Paul's words at 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 are a powerful rebuttal to such objections!
We know that most of the deep things of God are not recorded in scripture. (John 21:25) The written word cannot even begin to tap into the never ending reservoir of the deep things of God. But the spirit can reveal to the faith son insight far beyond what all the books in the most prestigious libraries of the world hold within their pages. (John 16:13; 1 John 2:27) As Paul said: “it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit.”
We encourage you to read the entire second chapter of 1 Corinthians and prayerfully meditate on Jesus’ invitation to all who desire it to be in the Kingdom of Heaven. And take another look at the Heavenly Contemplation series with eyes of "young children" and allow the Father's spirit to strengthen your faith in:
“... an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
– 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Let your ‘spirit senses’ take you far beyond the things that are written and allow you to write your own heavenly contemplations upon the tablet of your heart.