Some people I have spoken to do not believe enjoyments (that is, mental enjoyments, like love and our imagination as oppossed to nature and the Universe) bare any resemblance to God, save that He is found to be enjoyable. They say the pleasure of Him and that we shall have in Heaven, is of an utterly seperate kind and that the things we enjoy don’t reflect Him and niether does the ‘type’ of enjoyment we get from those things reflect the ‘flavour’ of joy we shall have seeing Him.
This seems the opposite of what Tolkien thought- he felt fiction reflected God as did our reactions to it.
But does niether concept have an assured Biblical basis? Bearing in mind that the nay-sayers I have heard were professional members of the church.
Well, I don’t. God takes pleasure in things and persons and His Creation. I should too. Learning what pleases God and doing it is the secret to sanctity I think. If you are constantly asking “Does this please God?” then you won’t do much that doesn’t. But that is my personal spirituality. I try to please my Father. That’s keepin’ it simple and something I can do. But this is just for me.
I think the problem is that the word “pleasure” has developed a negative connotation that takes away it’s true meaning. But the fact is it is the person’s life and attitudes and beliefs and values that determine what they take pleasure in. For instance, those who are living authentic Christianity will experience pleasure when they go to Church, but those who aren’t won’t and will be experiencing negative distress going there. The Church isn’t at fault for their displeasure - their attitude and values are.
God created us with the ability to experience both pain and pleasure so both are His creation and good. One example is the sexual pleasure a couple get from each other, Would anyone argue that God didn’t realize that He was making sex pleasurable and for a purpose–ie so people would procreate? Why would anyone have sex if it wasn’t pleasurable? Pain too is part of life–such as sometimes in the case of physical pain—it warns us that something is wrong, Other times it’s just how it is, or even the result of something we have done wrong such as with some types of emotional pain. We feel sad when someone we love dies–and God understands that. If you remember when Jesus heard that Lazarus had died His own first response was to weep. In the morning offering I learned many years ago, we say: “Eternal Father, I offer you all my prayers works joys and sufferings of this day along with the sacrifice of the Mass around the world for your intentions, the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, your honor and glory and the intentions of the Holy Father this month.”
Sounds very Calvinistic to me… from sin you came, in sin you remain, and in sin you shall die, unworthy of the salvation of heaven and only thru the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and the acceptance that he is your personal Lord and savior may you be admitted into his Kingdom of Heaven.
Convert, heard that speech or ones like it for years.
That said, this is a very difficult topic to take on… I think in a very simplistic statement, as I don’t want to really get into a deep debate, that any good, non-sinful, pleasure governed by temperance (CCC 1809) is most certainly a “flavor” of what we will experience in heaven. By way of an arguably poor analogy, sticking a 9V transistor battery against one’s tongue is a shock that one could liken to the pleasures we have of the mind or of the body that we have in life… grab the outlet mains of a power-plant and ground yourself… this would be the experience of God the Father in heaven.
Or perhaps, sitting thru a concert by the senior orchestra at a High School performance and then attending a concert given by a major professional philharmonic… both are pleasurable (ok, give a bone here, I’ve been to some excellent HS-Orchestra performances :D); however the philharmonic can seem to bring the emotions out…
Attend a play of Fiddler on the Roof… one by the local actors and a second by the original cast… you may not cry at either… and yet… I know I did for Tevye in the play I saw as a child… I can remember that play, by the original cast to this day some 40+ years later. I can not remember that same play that I attended as a senior in high school, and one of my best friends played the lead :o
All very poor analogies I admit… however, I hope one sees the point… what we experience in life is good and profound and yet nothing compared with that same experience in heaven.
The laugh of a baby is an echo of God’s laughter of joy for us… nothing good can come except from the Father. (paraphrase of John 3:27)
No, Our Father made us of the earth, of the dirt, and by his breath, in an image of his own likeness… all that we see, all that we do, all that we are, are originally from the Father; thus, the Son, for one cannot have one without the other… did not our Lord heal the blind man using the dirt of the earth and our Lord’s own spit and finally the water created by the Father?
I know that this isn’t the most cogent train of thought; however, IMnsHO Tolkien was and is right… we are an image and likeness of God the Father… maybe imperfect… flawed in many ways… and if our image is so good and great… can we but dream of that that creates the image and how much more there is to that reality than the reflection of the likeness that we perceive.
:mad: How can we possibly not experience pleasure at how much God favors us over all other animals, and how can God possibly not feel pleasure by our willingness to comply with his graces?
God has a wonderful imagination, otherwise he wouldn’t be creative enough to craft the solar systems, our planet, and who knows what else is out there?
Since we humans are made in God’s image and likeness, then we would naturally adapt the sense of love God himself has.
Love and imagination make up the very fabric of the universe, and certainly does resemble God himself.
It’s true that Heaven contains treasures that will never be lost (Matthew 6:20), but earthly treasures themselves should not be downgraded to the point where we no longer enjoy them, otherwise our lives on Earth will seem useless, and this is far from the case.
We human beings are the third most powerful creatures in existence, right after God and the angels. We might as well enjoy the life he gives us, living them in godly and productive ways.
God feeds and shelters the birds and the bees, so how much more does he take care of you?
I formed nature into perfect order; how much more can I do for you?
Don’t worry about your livelihoods, for God always provides.
First seek the way of holiness, and everything you need will be provided.
By enjoying this Earth and everything in it, we are essentially enjoying an appetizer of Heaven itself.
I just wanted to ask you where you got the idea that to experience God is always pleasureable? There are instances in the bible that describe the event as terrifying. I’m sure it was awe-worthy, but extremely frightening. I don’t see that as pleasurable. If I remember correctly, there are some saints who warn against always thinking experiencing God is to be pleasurable. You might end up worshiping pleasure. Not everything pleasurable is of God. I would have to guess that is why some separate types of pleasure.
See, this is what I don’t like about Protestantism - at least modern Protestantism, anyway. You can say whatever you want, and point to the Bible and say “It’s in there, if you read it and seek the truth”. And then all matter of nonsense like this gets spread around.
Friend, this need not be so. If God is so completely other no human love could resemble God’s love for us, why did Jesus die on the cross? Merely to make an atonement for us? Why, then, did He ask us to take up our crosses and follow Him? Why does St. John write of God being love, and of loving the world so much He sent His Son. Do not Protestants believe Jesus was man as well as God?
Why does God speak of His love in the Song of Solomon, or in Ezechiel (I think particularly of chapter 16), or to the prophet Jeremias (I have loved you with an everlasting love) or to the Psalmists (Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever)? Are these so other that they cannot be understood? On the contrary! God makes His love very understandable, comparable to human love. Superior, to be sure! But not alien.
And if you doubt that, consider this: If human love does not reflect God’s love, human joy does not reflect God’s joy, what would joy be, then? What would love be, then? Would it be boredom? Would it be mere awe? Would it be in tears and weeping? Boredom is the opposite of joy. Awe can accompany joy, but need not be joyful. And tears have always been part of love. If there is another kind of joy, another kind of pleasure or love, it would not make sense to call it love or pleasure or joy.