Why do we believe that Heavenly joy vastly exceeds that we have on Earth?

I am really sick to death of this question.

Namely, because I have been searching and searching and searching…but no matter how many questions I ask, websites I look at, vicars I talk to…do I understand what authoritive source the (wonderful) idea of unimaginable, immeasurable bliss comes from. It’s not in the Bible. Yes, the Bible mentions joy. Often. But who says it isn’t qualitively the same in Heaven as here? Yes, there is no pain and many (good) negations. That equals a place without badness but not a place of the kind of joy that makes Earth’s joy seem a meager shadow in comparrisson.
And as to the whole, “Ear hath not heard nor eye seen…” thing, it’s followed by ‘but God hath revealed it to us…’ so that’s not proof of the notion either.

If only the Bible said, “Heaven is so joyous and satisfactory that any joy in the World pales next to its happiness.”

I love reading CS Lewis and have just brought a book by Ted Dekker, which also says things I love and sympathise with. I adore the notion that Earthly goods (films, books, food, lovers…) are all hints of the greatness to come. But where is the proof of that (where does that idea come from?- Yes, I know, Plato: In Christianity,I mean. AND like I said, the whole ‘joy beyond joy’ thing…AAAAAAAAAAARGH! SO FRUSTRATED! FOUR YEARS (or more) OF THIS!!! Beginning to envy the old atheist me- I may have resigned myself to a sad fate of oblivion- but at least I WAS resigned to it and not this careworn with desire!:mad:

There is some indication in these words:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4.

I do believe that rather than tear ourselves apart we ought to focus our energies upon living His command to love God above all, and to love others …with practical love as He reveals in Matthew 25

Jesus says in Matthew 25 verse 33, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." We are blessed if we live genuine kindness to others, which He also takes as kindness to Himself as He mentions in Matthew 25.

It would perhaps seem ungracious and untrusting of our loving Father if we doubt that eternal life with Him will be joyful.

God is in heaven. When we are in heaven, we shall see His glory. That alone will be sufficient.

Scripture says:

Revelation 22:1-5
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Sounds pretty good to me.

I’m not trying to be ungracious towards our all loving Father- just truthful. God will create a Paradise but will it be what people say it is (or is that a false idea?). Perfection does NOT equal extreme happiness- that is to say, it might- but an ant colony can be perfect without the ants being remotely emotional. The negations of pain and tears could be made so without any joy.
I believe (as it does talk about ‘joy’ in the Bible) that there IS joy in Heaven but I wish to know if there is a realistic basis for believing joy exceeding earthly joy, may be so. If we love God we must strive to know Him, don’t you think? :wink:

What your asking is, at its core, not a theological or scriptural quandary, but a philosophical one. The question has at its root the nature of God, and therefore of heaven.

I suggest you read St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologicæ for the answer, specifically the “Treatise on Happiness.” This should explain it well. If you’re not familiar with the Summa, I suggest you find a guide on how to read it online. Just do some googling. There are loads of them out there. Make sure you understand the difference between the two Latin words that are both translated to “happiness” in the text: felicitas and beatitudo. Googling would also be good to do that.

Here are the parts that I think you should read:
I-II, Q. 2: On Those Things in which Man’s Happiness Consists
I-II, Q. 3: What is Happiness
I-II, Q. 4: Of Those Things That Are Required for Happiness
I-II, Q. 5: Of the Attainment of Happiness

Ps. 16:11 … in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.

1 Cor 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then** face to face**. …We will be closer in presence to God in heaven (“face to face”) than we are here on earth. Thus, since His presence is the source of joy, the closer we are to Him, the greater will be our joy.

Are you Catholic? You do know, don’t you, that Catholics don’t rely on Scripture alone?

You’re tormenting yourself for nothing.

God is ultimate good. In God everything good is found. That’s simply a corollary of believing in God at all. You don’t need an explicit Scripture text for this–it’s a basic part of the ordinary teaching of the Church, and it’s implicit in all of Scripture.

For instance, see Psalm 16: “You make known to me the fullness of life, in your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.”

Now does this explicitly say what you are asking it to? No. It doesn’t need to. That’s not how the Catholic approach to Scripture works. Scripture and Tradition are a seamless whole.


Another verse to consider.
1 Cor2:9 But as it is written: *That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him: What we will experience in heaven (and that includes joy) is way beyond anything we’ve experienced here on earth. It is far greater than we can even imagine.

In all seriousness, I do apologise if that is the way I came across. I am not ungrateful but I know that we may well have to ‘bear crosses’ and the thought crossed my mind, with no evidence to the contrary, that Heaven might be perfect but without emotion rather than perfect by taking emotion to a new unimaginable height.
The idea is upsetting (for now- if it were so we would not be upset when we get there) but I am deeply frustrated because I cannot seem to KNOW this idea or the other idea, for sure. Therefore, all my most beloved dreams seem foolish when they are cast purely via longing rather than evidence. I am spiritual, but surely we must combine the glories of imagination with the rigours of logic; to have both in equal ammounts.

I’m not Catholic. A large part of my problem is that there’s nothing I can rely on utterly in religion other than the Bible. But my favourite ideas about Heaven are ones I have read (and made myself) completely apart from the Scriptures. Indeed, when I go seeking and a theologian points me back to the Bible, quite often it freezes, rather than excites, my excitement. I DO love the Bible but it doesn’t contain all the answers I seek- or doesn’t seem to…and I’m left to make foolhardy second guesses.

Yes, if we could imagine it then It wouldn’t be much better than what we already know!!! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this scripture on this post but it most certainly talks about the goodness of heaven.

1 Corinthians 13: 8** Love never ends**. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12** For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.** Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So for now we can experience all three, faith hope and love. IN heaven we will no longer need faith and hope, but we will experience fully Gods Perfect love and perfect love equates to perfect JOY.

We have the testimonies of saints, beginning at least with Paul, who speak of encounters with God/heaven that are so beyond earthly delights that they cannot be compared or adequately put into words. Enthralling, take-your-breath-away, knock-you-off-your-feet, communions of love, with the Source of love, love so unconditional and powerful its virtually tactile- it’s known, directly, intuitively, with the result of producing absolute peace and happiness, well-being, total satisfaction-all hunger and thirst endlessly satiated. These saints have been given “glimpses” of the heavenly vision.

I think the point of the Bible is not so much that we are capable of experiencing joy and satisfaction in our present state, but that fundamentally our present state makes us incapable. What is required is a complete retooling of our nature - a metanoia or conversion of being in order to gain the capacity for sublime peace and joy.

I posted on another thread some ideas you might find helpful.


I Cor 13;12
“Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know fully as I am known.”

I Jn 3;2
“My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the furture has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.”

Mt 5;8
“Happy the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Mt 18;10
“See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you their angels in heaven always gaze on the face of my Father in heaven.”

So this face to face vision is heaven, indescribable on earth, and requires our faith and patience in its fulfillment.

To see face to face means we are raptured in God’s own beauty and glory. It means we don’t think about it or will it, it is just present to us immediately, or face to face. Could there be anything greater than experiencing God?

“There are millions in this world who are carving the pleasure earthly things afford,
but none can match the wonderous treasure that I find in the Bread from heaven, JESUS THE LORD.” Hymn

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

Jesus, when speaking to the Good Thief (St. Dismas) on the cross, referred to Heaven as paradise. (cf. Luke 23:43)

"Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdīs, -ˌdīz, ˈpa-rə-\

: a very beautiful, pleasant, or peaceful place that seems to be perfect

: a place that is perfect for a particular activity or for a person who enjoys that activity

: a state of complete happiness


Have you ever considered investigating Catholicism? It is wonderful and gives a solid authority that can be relied upon in religion.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.

Okay, sure, this is just a “negation of bad” you can argue, and doesn’t suggest that Heaven offers any better joys. Of course, we are promised “glory”. When is anything of the world and not of God termed a “glory”?

1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

What the world offers doesn’t sound very glorious…

Mark 10: 29 Jesus answering, said: Amen, I say to you, there is no man, who hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 Who shall not receive a hundred times as much, now in this time; houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come life everlasting.

A minimum of a one hundred-fold return! Of course he’s probably not speaking in literal terms, as though the Heavenly joys could be quantified, but is this not a guarantor of the greatness that awaits in Heaven? If you give up whatever pleasures your body lusts for, will they not be reimbursed one hundred times in greater joys?

But if you need to be reminded, as we all do, of why to seek wisdom instead of passions, hear the words of Wisdom of Ben Sira 6.18-32

Well, that is a problem, for exactly the reason you describe.

I don’t think, in fact, that your ideas are necessarily “apart from the Bible.” Christians have been meditating on the Bible for 2000 years, in cultural contexts that were different from ours and that allowed them to see things in the Bible that modern people may not. That’s why I don’t think we should dismiss, for instance, the Christian Platonist tradition. Early Christians meditated on a passage like Psalm 16 in light of Greek philosophy, sure–but they also chose out of the many Greek philosophies those ideas that struck them as most congenial to the Scriptures and apostolic tradition.

In Catholicism, you don’t have to sit around worrying all the time that your ideas are wrong if they aren’t explicitly justified in the Bible. If you do go astray, the Church is there to warn you.

There are of course other forms of traditional Christianity other than Catholicism–chiefly the three Eastern communions (the big one usually known as “Eastern Orthodoxy” and the smaller “Oriental Orthodox churches” and "Church of the East), and in a much more qualified sense also Anglicanism (some would add Lutheranism, and even some versions of Reformed and Wesleyan Protestantism have a lot more room for tradition than you seem to allow).

So it’s a big Christian world out there. But obviously this is a Catholic forum, and I myself have decided after many years and many struggles that to remain an orthodox Christian means that I need to become Catholic. So naturally I and others on this forum are going to recommend Catholicism as the place to start.


Part of my own personal idea is that heaven will be being with God as he creates life throughout the universe…watching…learning…partaking at all stages of his creation…and even beyond that…beginning to understand who God is…the how and why of everything…are there other dimensions and…other universes…and even beyond the physical realm into the spiritual realm or realms and maybe even beyond that…will our spiritual bodies vibrate to the sights…sounds…and colors of the universe itself…and I can’t even begin to imagine what God will REALLY have in store for us…I certainly look forward to an eternity beyond any joy I can comprehend now…:slight_smile:

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