Last week, I watched The Wolverine with Hugh Jackman. Logan, Wolverine's real name, constantly regenerates his body, so he essentially can live forever.
This movie was about the idea that living forever is a curse since those whom Wolverine loved would eventually die, while he would continue living. This seemed to be the main reason that perpetual living is a depressing thing.
This got me to thinking about the fact that the main purpose of Christianity is to enable people to get to heaven, to live forever.
In light of this movie, wouldn't living forever be a bad thing? Why would we want to even think about considering the life of the Church if the ultimate outcome will hopefully be heaven?
There are two main reasons that I can see. First, living forever in heaven is not like living forever in this world.
There are two examples that I've heard about that can shed some light on this. One is the lost boys from Uganda. 60 Minutes (CBS News) did a twelve year story on some boys who were displaced (to say the least) by their homes due to war who ended up in Uganda. There was a program during U.S. President W. Bush's time that allowed many of these refugees to come and be naturalized in the U.S.
This is the thing: even though they were taught by an American citizen about the U.S. in a classroom, when the lost boys came to the U.S., they didn't understand what they were seeing at first. Most couldn't determine what was fake, especially on TV.
Another example is the Aztecs in South America when they first encountered the European men. The ships that approached the shore were so novel to the natives, that they actually didn't see them. It took a long time for the new sights to sink in for them to recognize the ships.
Heaven for all people is like American TV and technology is for the lost boys and like the European ships for the Aztecs. No matter how much we might consider the life or reality of heaven, on this side of the veil, we can only speak of everlasting life as a mystery.
Thank God there is Jesus who was there to tell us about it.
The second reason will be in the next post.