Eternity is a long, long time. “Long” isn’t even a remotely adequate word to describe eternity. Eternity is infinite. How difficult it is for our limited human minds to grasp the concept of eternity! Most of us would agree that eternity is a wonderful, blissful thing. Who wouldn’t want to spend an infinite amount of time in the presence of our God, who is Love itself (1 John 4:8)?
Yet sometime we may find ourselves wondering, But what if we get bored in heaven? Imagine if we went to heaven today. A billion years from today (measured in human terms only, of course, since time is nothing to God), we would still have the same amount of time to worship God as we did the first day we arrived. Wouldn’t we get bored?
Let us not forget that we worship an infinite God. There is eternally more to be discovered, more to be known about Him. God is fundamentally mysterious (Job 11:7). For the rest of eternity we will forever be learning more about Him. A billion years from now, we will look back and think, How little did I know of Him back then!
Our souls are also eternal. We will forever be having an increasing desire for happiness, and for fulfillment, and God will eternally satisfy this. There is always more to know, more to discover, and therefore we will never get bored in heaven.
On earth, we are always – even if only subconsciously – trying to resolve contradicting ideas, trying to find an aesthetically beautiful relation between all things. Throughout history, we can see that people have always had this desire; the longing to find Truth has always been inherent in the human heart. Often times, people have wondered, what is the ultimate fulfillment? Our hearts have an ever-increasing desire for fulfillment, for completeness. At the same time, however, we would also like to make sense of all the incompleteness we find in the world, and in ourselves.
Now we have a pair of opposites: completeness and incompleteness. Let me now digress for a few moments.
When opposites are reconciled with each other, beauty is created. This is true in all forms of art: to name a few examples, uncertainty and certainty, yielding and steadfastness, agreement and disagreement. Uncertainty can be expressed through dissonant chords and harmonies to create the feeling of tension, and certainty can be expressed with consonance. In counterpoint, oblique motion occurs when one voice moves in one direction, either up or down, while the other voice doesn’t move at all. Agreement can be expressed with parallel or similar motion (voices moving in the same direction); disagreement with contrary motion. However, as any good teacher of counterpoint will tell you, sometimes consonance (agreement) can only be maintained through the use of contrary motion (disagreement).
These principles are clearly applicable in our daily lives. We cannot know for sure about everything that will happen in our lives, so in that sense we are quite uncertain. Yet when we trust God, we are certain that everything will turn out fine if we follow His most perfect and holy will. Sometimes we must yield to other people, to accept what they are saying, and this also means accepting criticism gracefully. Yielding can mean respecting others’ desires and making the sacrifice to please others before ourselves. Yet sometimes we must remain firm, especially when we are defending the truth of God and His holy Church. As for agreement and disagreement, sometimes we can only maintain peace by accepting that we can’t have the same opinions and viewpoints, and respecting that.
God could be considered to be the God of opposites. How else can we reconcile His love and mercy with His wrath and justice? These are not contradicting things; they in fact complement each other. As I said previously, beauty is created when opposites are reconciled with each other. Is God not the ultimate beauty, then?
Now let’s go back to completeness and incompleteness, and how it relates to the fact that it is simply impossible for us to ever get bored in heaven. Eternity with God is, obviously, our ultimate fulfillment. Eternity is complete. Yet eternity, simply put, will last forever, so in that sense it is incomplete because it never will be fulfilled by anything else.
And this, my friends, is why eternity is such a beautiful and appealing idea. This is where our souls find the fulfillment to all our desires, in the presence of God. We have always wished to see contradicting things reconciled together, becoming one in an aesthetically beautiful way. Eternity with God is the ultimate realization of this desire. We will continue to have an ever-increasing yearning for fulfillment (incompleteness), and God will infinitely satisfy this desire (completeness).
This concept is indeed difficult to grasp, and I fear I have not adequately explained myself. In fact, I don’t even think I understand completely. (Of course! We’ll only understand when we’re in heaven!) Who am I that God should reveal such things to me and ask me to share this with others? But let the words explain for themselves; no more explanation is needed.