Levels of Heaven and good


#1

Are there levels of Heaven? What evidence do you have of this? Does God love us all equallying? Are some more innately good than others?


#2

This is my own personal opinion - I do not believe that there are levels of Heaven, and I don’t believe there are levels of Hell. If you think about it, what purpose would it serve? If Heaven is considered as “complete joy”, how can someone have more joy than another person? That would indicate that the person who is less joyful has some sorrow, and therefore that there is some sorrow in Heaven. But that contradicts the nature of Heaven. However, there is some level of authority in Heaven. The angels, for instance, already have their own ranks - St. Michael being the chief of angels. The Blessed Virgin Mary has the highest rank of all with the exception of God. But everyone enjoys the same level of joy as each other whilst being in the face of God.

I do believe that there are levels in Purgatory, based on the fact that some need more cleansing of their sin than others. Those who need less cleansing will spend less time in Purgatory, and those who need more cleansing will spend a longer time. The punishment in Purgatory is the proverbial “being so close yet so far” to God.


#3

I believe there are levels in Heaven and in Hell. It’s not that there is sorrow in Heaven…everyone there is in complete bliss…but that bliss is relative to their capacity to have it. In other words, we arrive in heaven as vessels. Those vessels are shaped and sized by our individual lives on earth - by our abilities to grow in the gift of Grace received, the resultant degrees of holiness we ascended to. That vessel is then filled to capacity with the pure Joy of the beatific vision, the union with our Creator. St Francis, for example, will likely have a greater vessel within which to fill that Joy than myself…and so in a sense, will have a greater amount of Joy…but unless I would compare myself to him (assuming I even could do that), the Joy I receive and eternally possess will be nothing but pure Joy (without sorrow) filled to my capacity. Thankfully, we will not be spending any time in eternity comparing ourselves to others, nor therefore sulking with “vessel envy” (if you will).

Scripture alludes to this: 1 Corinthians 3:

8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

This passage also points to the existence of Purgatory, which obviously will be different for different souls, but also alludes to a variance in degrees of reward for those heaven-bound.

Conversely, I believe such a variance exists among the souls in Hell. To the degree each one rejected God (although all reject him completely) and to the degree each one acted on that rejection on earth (through various mortal sins), their eternal suffering will be commensurate. It will still be pure torment for each one, but again, their vessels will each be shaped and sized differently. Thus, compared to each other, suffering will be greater or lesser. Not sure if the ability to actually compare will exist there or not.

Scripture again: Romans 2

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

Peace.


#4

Yep.:thumbsup:
An example that we were given at school was a comparison between a baby playing in a cot, and an adult at an emotionally awesome concert. Both are perfectly happy; but obviously, the babys level of bliss isnt as high as the adults. It doesnt know any better; so it doesnt feel any sense of loss. In fact, if exposed to the adults concert, the baby would be very distressed, and maybe even suffer injury. The capacity for the higher enjoyment is just not there.

Same for hell…
Apart from not wanting it, a soul in hell couldn`t survive in heaven.

The word “Seraphim” means “The Burning Ones” because they`re the angels who are closest to God. Our Lady would be “burning” at blue heat, and loving every moment of it.
Scott Hahn says that for a soul in heaven, the temperature of hell would be like “ICE! DRY ICE!”. He spits it out! All metaphorical, of course.

We all go to our “own place”.


#5

Good post. That analogy is very good. Also found the following in the Q&A here:

The term “levels” of heaven and hell to describe the degrees of punishment or reward reflects the literary imagery of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy more than the language of the Church. “Degrees” of perfection or punishment is the proper term. The degree of perfection of the beatific vision granted to the just is proportioned to each one’s merits.
The . . . Council of Florence (1439) declared the souls of the perfectly just clearly behold the Triune and One God as he is, but corresponding to the difference of their merits, the one more perfectly than the other. The Council of Trent defined that the justified person merits an increase of the heavenly glory by good works. (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 479)
Scriptural support may be found at: Matthew 16:27; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 9:6; 1 Corinthians 15:41.

The punishment of the damned is proportioned to each one’s guilt. The Union Councils of Lyons and of Florence declared that the souls of the damned are punished with unequal punishments . . . This is probably intended to assert not merely a specific difference in the punishment of original sin and of personal sins, but also a difference in the degree of punishment for personal sins [cf. Matt. 11:22; Luke 20:47]. . . . St. Augustine teaches “In their wretchedness the lot of some of the damned will be more tolerable than that of others. Justice demands that the punishment be commensurate with the guilt.” (Ott, Fundamentals, 482)


#6

[quote="SteveGC, post:5, topic:245001"]
Good post. That analogy is very good. Also found the following in the Q&A here:

[/quote]

Thanks.
Just wish i could think and type as fast as you can!

PS
Only just noticed your CS Lewis quote. :thumbsup:
i like the one: "When you sup with the Devil, use a long spoon.".


#7

I think there are different levels of heaven. No, I don't have anything to back that up though! I've heard expression such as "the highest heaven" and such though from the Bible.
I know that we will all be perfectly happy in heaven, but I think some people will have greater joy that others. That doesn't mean that others will have any sadness, just that some ppl will have greater joy.

When we look at the mass (which I've heard described by a priest as a rehearsal for heaven) most people are there celebrating happily. However, some people are in the choir, and some people are Eucharistic ministers. They play a special role, and perhaps feel more fulfilled because of it. I think it will be similar in heaven. I think that saints and holy people will enjoy places of honor...and rightly so!

I've also heard a priest say on the radio that God loves all people the same, but likes some of us better than others. :) This might sound like a bad thing or an unfair thing to say, but he said its true, if you think about it. Those that obey the word of God are closest to His heart. Their prayers are more efficacious and God's graces are more abundant in their lives. Some people just find God's favor, and this is good! I've heard this is true for all parents...all children are always loved equally, but the well behaved ones are just easier to get along with. :)

Just my 2 cents!


#8

[quote="SteveGC, post:3, topic:245001"]
I believe there are levels in Heaven and in Hell. It's not that there is sorrow in Heaven...everyone there is in complete bliss...but that bliss is relative to their capacity to have it. In other words, we arrive in heaven as vessels. Those vessels are shaped and sized by our individual lives on earth - by our abilities to grow in the gift of Grace received, the resultant degrees of holiness we ascended to. That vessel is then filled to capacity with the pure Joy of the beatific vision, the union with our Creator. St Francis, for example, will likely have a greater vessel within which to fill that Joy than myself...and so in a sense, will have a greater amount of Joy...but unless I would compare myself to him (assuming I even could do that), the Joy I receive and eternally possess will be nothing but pure Joy (without sorrow) filled to my capacity. Thankfully, we will not be spending any time in eternity comparing ourselves to others, nor therefore sulking with "vessel envy" (if you will).

[/quote]

I respectfully disagree. To claim that there are different capacities of joy reminds me of what John Stuart Mill - a key figure in utilitarianism - had to say on happiness:

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.".

Thus, the assertion that both you and St. Francis have different capacities of happiness in the face of God is no different to the claim that both the pig and the fool - relative to a human being and Socrates respectively - have their own degree of happiness and that this really constitutes "happiness". But what a pig perceives as happiness is not really happiness. What a fool perceives as happiness is not really happiness. In Heaven, there must be an objective degree of happiness that everyone experiences. There is no relativism in Heaven; indeed, if God has made morals and the laws of physics absolute across the universe, it would not be hard to imagine that the happiness from God's presence is likewise an absolute. The philosophers of antiquity virtually all agreed that God and the "upper-world" do not change - they are not contingent. Proposing that happiness is relative in Heaven goes against the consensus of the philosophers from antiquity (Plato and Aristotle, to name the two most prominent).

Not only does it go against what is a de facto standard in philosophy, but it also goes against biblical teaching. Jesus gave the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in the Gospel of Matthew. In this parable, Jesus said that any labourer who accepts work into the vineyard, no matter how late the day, will receive an equal reward (said to be a denarius; a silver coin) with those who have been faithful the longest (Matthew 20:1-6). The vineyard represents the Kingdom of Heaven and the silver coin represents the reward they will obtain in Heaven.

You have misinterpreted the passage in Romans. God does indeed render each person according to their own deeds. But this is not indicative of what they obtain in Heaven. Quite to the contrary, this passage demonstrates that everyone is accountable to themselves. No one can act for anyone else. We came to this world as one person, and we leave as one person.


#9

What we should really be discussing is that of probability. Someone who is more good has a greater probability of getting into Heaven. Someone who is less good has a lower probability of getting into Heaven. As Heaven is the ultimate reward, it pays to be as good as you can possibly be in this world to increase your chances. After all, everyone will be put to the test "like gold" (Zechariah 13:9), so we should be "blameless before the LORD" (Deuteronomy 18:13).


#10

[quote="Bohm_Bawerk, post:8, topic:245001"]
I respectfully disagree. To claim that there are different capacities of joy reminds me of what John Stuart Mill - a key figure in utilitarianism - had to say on happiness:

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.".

Thus, the assertion that both you and St. Francis have different capacities of happiness in the face of God is no different to the claim that both the pig and the fool - relative to a human being and Socrates respectively - have their own degree of happiness and that this really constitutes "happiness". But what a pig perceives as happiness is not really happiness. What a fool perceives as happiness is not really happiness. In Heaven, there must be an objective degree of happiness that everyone experiences. There is no relativism in Heaven; indeed, if God has made morals and the laws of physics absolute across the universe, it would not be hard to imagine that the happiness from God's presence is likewise an absolute. The philosophers of antiquity virtually all agreed that God and the "upper-world" do not change - they are not contingent. Proposing that happiness is relative in Heaven goes against the consensus of the philosophers from antiquity (Plato and Aristotle, to name the two most prominent).

Not only does it go against what is a de facto standard in philosophy, but it also goes against biblical teaching. Jesus gave the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in the Gospel of Matthew. In this parable, Jesus said that any labourer who accepts work into the vineyard, no matter how late the day, will receive an equal reward (said to be a denarius; a silver coin) with those who have been faithful the longest (Matthew 20:1-6). The vineyard represents the Kingdom of Heaven and the silver coin represents the reward they will obtain in Heaven.

You have misinterpreted the passage in Romans. God does indeed render each person according to their own deeds. But this is not indicative of what they obtain in Heaven. Quite to the contrary, this passage demonstrates that everyone is accountable to themselves. No one can act for anyone else. We came to this world as one person, and we leave as one person.

[/quote]

You bring up some good points, primarily the need for us to be very clear on what precisely it is we're examining. God is indeed the same yesterday, today and forever. I do not suggest that God changes in the slightest. Nor do I suggest a pure relativism as it may have been construed from the language I used. The actual beatitude of God does not itself change based on the individual there to receive it. Allow me to try to clarify...

The objective degree of happiness that exists in Heaven is indeed God's mere presence within it. It is not relative. It is a set, infinite amount of happiness. But the degree to which I am presented with and (for lack of a better word) experience that objective happiness is not the same for myself as it would be for St Francis. I would assert, as the Church seems to, that the capacity to experience the objective Joy of God is in fact, subjective (relative, if you will). But the relativity is actually transparent, for I contend that no one will sense the differences, because it is not within the realm of divine Love to have that concern nor awareness. It is only on this side of heaven that such a variance in the capacities to be filled with the beatific vision are able to be contemplated or given credence.


#11

And yet Paul referred to there being levels in Heaven:

If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed), but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth), That he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter. For such an one I will glory; but for myself I will glory nothing, but in my infirmities.

2 Corinthians 12:1-5.

I don’t pretend to understand what will happen and how anyone will be “different” in Heaven (because most of our sins flow from either being different or wanting to be different). But Paul apparently refers to there being different places in Heaven.


#12

Mandatory joke about being able to "level up". Sorry, couldn't resist.


#13

[quote="Nec5, post:12, topic:245001"]
Mandatory joke about being able to "level up". Sorry, couldn't resist.

[/quote]

Hey, we need some Christian video games out there. :thumbsup: I could envision a great first person adventure where we strive to attain righteousness "points" and thus more "level ups" in heaven. I almost got into the gaming industry to bring some morality back into the ever-corrupting gaming world. Alas, I chose a different path.


#14

A bit late; but, “owing to circumstances…”

There are definitely different levels of bliss in Heaven.

Quoting from Frank Sheed`s “Theology and Sanity” (published by Ignatius Press):
Chapter 24 “Life After Death (iv) Heaven” pp343,344:
"…the direct vision of the Blessed Trinity. Man has attained the thing God made him for. Union with God…
…so close a contact between the soul and God, that God takes the place of the idea of God." (i like to call it “raw Spirit-to-spirit contact”.)

“…The intellect will see Him, with nothing between. The will will love Him at the level of this new vision. Intellect and will and every power of the soul will be utterly fulfilled in the contact. The whole of the soul will be working at its highest upon the highest: there will be no frustration from unused of misused energy: there will be total happiness.”

“This happiness, though total for each, will not be equal in all. Will and intellect will be working at their highest, with no element in them unused or unfed. But how high will my highest or yours be? As high as our co-operation with grace in this life has made it. It is in this life that the soul grows; every piece of truth, every channel of grace, can be used by us, if we will, for growth. Whatever capacity the soul has grown to at death, that capacity will be filled in the glory and the joy of Heaven.”

The comparisons between a pig and a human, and, a fool and Socrates, arent appropriate. ALL in Heaven will be perfectly happy with the Beatific Vision: its just the INTENSITY that will vary. Nobody will feel a sense of loss.

Therell be no fools in Heaven: their intellects will have been "repaired"! Therell be no pigs enjoying the Beatific Vision…"!


#15

I still don’t believe that there are different levels of joy in Heaven. The problem with those who make such claims is that they essentially devalue what Heaven is: “Oh, let us not aim for Heaven, let’s aim for the highest branch in Heaven”. It makes the indirect assumption that everyone, or at least a good majority, are entering Heaven, and so Heaven isn’t that good of a reward. But Heaven is a good reward - indeed, it is the ultimate reward.

So, how did the saints benefit in comparison to the “Average Joe”? Well, the Saints benefited firstly, that they had a higher probability of entering Heaven. Secondly, the Saints benefited from virtually bypassing Purgatory. That was their reward.


#16

[quote="Bohm_Bawerk, post:15, topic:245001"]
I still don't believe that there are different levels of joy in Heaven. The problem with those who make such claims is that they essentially devalue what Heaven is: "Oh, let us not aim for Heaven, let's aim for the highest branch in Heaven". It makes the indirect assumption that everyone, or at least a good majority, are entering Heaven, and so Heaven isn't that good of a reward. But Heaven is a good reward - indeed, it is the ultimate reward.

So, how did the saints benefit in comparison to the "Average Joe"? Well, the Saints benefited firstly, that they had a higher probability of entering Heaven. Secondly, the Saints benefited from virtually bypassing Purgatory. That was their reward.

[/quote]

I didn't see you comment on this quote I offered earlier...so I'd like to ask for your comments on it now - specifically the parts I bolded and their original sources. Here it is:

The term "levels" of heaven and hell to describe the degrees of punishment or reward reflects the literary imagery of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy more than the language of the Church. "Degrees" of perfection or punishment is the proper term. The degree of perfection of the beatific vision granted to the just is proportioned to each one’s merits.
The . . . Council of Florence (1439) declared the souls of the perfectly just clearly behold the Triune and One God as he is, but corresponding to the difference of their merits, the one more perfectly than the other. The Council of Trent defined that the justified person merits an increase of the heavenly glory by good works. (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 479)
Scriptural support may be found at: Matthew 16:27; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 9:6; 1 Corinthians 15:41.

The punishment of the damned is proportioned to each one’s guilt. The Union Councils of Lyons and of Florence declared that the souls of the damned are punished with unequal punishments . . . This is probably intended to assert not merely a specific difference in the punishment of original sin and of personal sins, but also a difference in the degree of punishment for personal sins [cf. Matt. 11:22; Luke 20:47]. . . . St. Augustine teaches "In their wretchedness the lot of some of the damned will be more tolerable than that of others. Justice demands that the punishment be commensurate with the guilt." (Ott, Fundamentals, 482)

Perhaps you do not have to believe in degrees of perfection (note: not "levels in Heaven"), but would you not have to admit the Church teaches that it is a reality?

And I disagree that it devalues Heaven. You claim it infers Heaven is wide open for everyone and it is a relatively easy road. But it doesn't speak to salvation at all. It speaks of reward exclusively. In fact, I think acknowledging degrees of perfection does the opposite of what you claim. It encourages an aspiration for MORE holiness on earth, not less. If I know that my vessel might be smaller than St Francis' vessel, then by goodness I want to do whatever I can to get mine as big as his...not be satisfied that it's smaller.

I think it leads more toward holiness, not laziness.

Peace.


#17

[quote="SteveGC, post:16, topic:245001"]

And I disagree that it devalues Heaven. You claim it infers Heaven is wide open for everyone and it is a relatively easy road. But it doesn't speak to salvation at all. It speaks of reward exclusively. In fact, I think acknowledging degrees of perfection does the opposite of what you claim. It encourages an aspiration for MORE holiness on earth, not less. If I know that my vessel might be smaller than St Francis' vessel, then by goodness I want to do whatever I can to get mine as big as his...not be satisfied that it's smaller.

I think it leads more toward holiness, not laziness.

Peace.

[/quote]

I didn't comment on your previous post because I haven't read Ludwig Ott. Until I read the work cited in its entirety, I prefer not to comment on it. Besides, Ludwig Ott was just a theologian, and therefore, is capable of being in error.

When you aim for a "higher level" in Heaven, you are necessarily making the presupposition that you will be going into Heaven. You are presupposing that you will pass God's judgment. And because of this, because of the belief that you will either make it into the higher tiers of Heaven - and if not that - then the lower tiers of Heaven, it devalues what Heaven is. It breeds a sort of ungrateful attitude: "I'm going to Heaven, but I don't want to go to the lower level...only the upper level". This ungrateful attitude is ultimately contradictory to the consideration of Heaven being the ultimate reward, and it bypasses the nature of God's judgement.

We should look at one's probability of entering into Heaven, and this is backed by Scripture. Jesus gave the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Workers_in_the_Vineyard ), which easily refuted the claim that some people will get a higher reward than others for their faith. Applied in this context, this refutes the claim some get a better reward (joy) in Heaven than others.

Paul tells us to "work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). What he meant by this of course is that we should aim to be as good as we possibly can be in this world to increase our probability of entering Heaven. This was a typological result from the Old Testament, where the Israelites were instructed to be "blameless before the LORD" (Deuteronomy 18:13). Not only did the instruction from Deuteronomy forebode what Paul was to say many years later, but it also foreboded what Jesus instructed His disciples: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:8). We are told to be perfect so as to increase our probability of salvation, as God will "test [us] like gold" (Zechariah 13:9). And as I'm sure you are aware, historically, when gold was used as a medium of exchange, it was tested quite thoroughly. God's judgement will also test us quite thoroughly if we are able to receive the ultimate reward.

When we see things in terms of probability, we understand how the saints benefited - they had more of an assurance that they could face God and be blameless. They understood that they tried their best, and because God is merciful, would let them into His Divine Presence. This reiterates Mother Teresa's quote: "God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try". At least this approach is better than presupposing that one is going to Heaven anyway, so they might as well aim for the alleged highest part of Heaven. Yet - "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), so no one can really presuppose their final destination in Heaven because no one is really worthy enough to receive it.


#18

[quote="Bohm_Bawerk, post:17, topic:245001"]
I didn't comment on your previous post because I haven't read Ludwig Ott. Until I read the work cited in its entirety, I prefer not to comment on it. Besides, Ludwig Ott was just a theologian, and therefore, is capable of being in error.

When you aim for a "higher level" in Heaven, you are necessarily making the presupposition that you will be going into Heaven. You are presupposing that you will pass God's judgment. And because of this, because of the belief that you will either make it into the higher tiers of Heaven - and if not that - then the lower tiers of Heaven, it devalues what Heaven is. It breeds a sort of ungrateful attitude: "I'm going to Heaven, but I don't want to go to the lower level...only the upper level". This ungrateful attitude is ultimately contradictory to the consideration of Heaven being the ultimate reward, and it bypasses the nature of God's judgement.

We should look at one's probability of entering into Heaven, and this is backed by Scripture. Jesus gave the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Workers_in_the_Vineyard ), which easily refuted the claim that some people will get a higher reward than others for their faith. Applied in this context, this refutes the claim some get a better reward (joy) in Heaven than others.

Paul tells us to "work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). What he meant by this of course is that we should aim to be as good as we possibly can be in this world to increase our probability of entering Heaven. This was a typological result from the Old Testament, where the Israelites were instructed to be "blameless before the LORD" (Deuteronomy 18:13). Not only did the instruction from Deuteronomy forebode what Paul was to say many years later, but it also foreboded what Jesus instructed His disciples: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:8). We are told to be perfect so as to increase our probability of salvation, as God will "test [us] like gold" (Zechariah 13:9). And as I'm sure you are aware, historically, when gold was used as a medium of exchange, it was tested quite thoroughly. God's judgement will also test us quite thoroughly if we are able to receive the ultimate reward.

When we see things in terms of probability, we understand how the saints benefited - they had more of an assurance that they could face God and be blameless. They understood that they tried their best, and because God is merciful, would let them into His Divine Presence. This reiterates Mother Teresa's quote: "God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try". At least this approach is better than presupposing that one is going to Heaven anyway, so they might as well aim for the alleged highest part of Heaven. Yet - "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), so no one can really presuppose their final destination in Heaven because no one is really worthy enough to receive it.

[/quote]

Respectfully, you are failing to see this properly. Although I originally stated I thought there were "levels of heaven", it is an improper and misleading phraseology...and I attempted later to show that the Church prefers "degrees of perfection". In this more proper way, it emphasizes that what we're describing is not Heaven itself, but rather our individual experiences of it. There's an immense difference.

In one sense, I agree with you, that if we were indeed talking about "levels" in heaven as you are thinking it means, one might presume that there are different places or separate sections in Heaven...or who knows, perhaps even think there are multiple Heavens. And that these areas are exclusively reserved for the holier ones. That would indeed devalue the true nature of Heaven.

But it is not "levels" of heaven. It is degrees of perfection, which is vastly different from what "levels" implies. It has nothing to do with presuming salvation. It is simply saying that our subjective experience of the objective reality of the infinite beatitude of God will vary from individual to individual, depending directly on the vessel we've allowed God to create in us while on earth. Our subjective experience of it will still be the absolute apex of pure Joy and union with God, from our own perspectives. Our individual apexes will differ, but unless we compare apexes with one another in Heaven (which I contend we will not be capable of doing), we will all experience a complete fullness of the beatific vision and glory of God. Not a complete fullness of all that exists, but a complete fullness of our capacities to experience it.

And either way, I respectfully disagree with your notion that there would be a presumption of salvation, or a by-pass of judgment from Christ. If I think of a "higher level" of heaven, and strive for it, I am still "striving" for heaven....not "presuming" I will easily get into and past the lower levels. If I want a job in a company as the president and not as the janitor, I still instinctively understand that I must go to and pass the interview to get hired in the first place. Striving for the presidency doesn't infer that I know I am already an employee. It just means I work much harder to prepare for the interview.

nothing against janitors. I was one for a long time in my youth! Just trying for some sort of analogy here.

Peace.


#19

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