Religion Magazine

What is Heaven Worth to You?

By Albert Wagner @albertwagner4
Once in a while in a Christian discussion a person says something similar to the following questions..
"Why should I behave now when I can misbehave and then repent?  If I am forgiven in the end what difference does it make?
It is actually surprising how often people make statements like these.  It is based on an assumption that the Christian God forgives anyone who asks for it.
Catholic, Or Not?
Is it that simple, though?  Using what many are taught about Catholicism at a young age if you miss 1 Mass you go to hell.  Using this thought process, many think it does not make any difference what you do after that in your life, so you are free to do whatever you want.  If you are going to end up in hell anyway, then what difference does it make?
Even though this reasoning is not sound (which is another post in itself) it leads to a slightly different interpretation of Scripture.  This interpretation is based on Eastern Orthodoxy, which is sometimes called Eastern Catholicism.
Catholics were one entity for several hundred years until 1054.  The split that resulted left the arrangement it is currently in, which is Roman Catholic (West) and Eastern Catholic (Orthodox).
The rest of this post focuses on a view put forth by the Orthodox of heaven and hell.  This view of heaven seems to filter out the fluff and leaves a description that is substantial.
How, you might ask?
According to the Orthodox Catholicism the level of heaven you experience is based on what you did on earth and the stage of progression you are at.
Why is this any better than, say, the Roman Catholic version?
  •  In the example at the top of the post it accounts for how long the person misbehaved.
  •  It does not actually put people in hell, as it is generally understood.
  •  It could be said that the experience in heaven is what people deserve.
  •  People are born at different levels and act at different levels.
  •  Some people ask for forgiveness without any intent on changing or repenting.
  •  It could factor in your level of awareness and understanding of when you thought you did wrong.

Spirit In The Sky
At a basic level this view is stating your level of experience in heaven is based on the effort you put into it on earth.  The more you tried to seek and follow God the more joyous and rewarding heaven will be. This view is stating there not absolutes because no human is all good or all bad.  People all fall somewhere in between, and that place is the level of heaven you experience.
Illustration of Heaven
People usually follow up with a question such as, "What was good about Adolf Hitler?"
While this is no recommendation for him, from a subjective point of view Hitler cared some about animals (he was a vegetarian) and he cared about the plight of his own people.  (Again, that is NOT justification for him, but only a partial explanation).  It depends on the point of view taken.  No human is ALL good or ALL bad.
Heaven is not actually a physical place since it is spiritual.  A person could say heaven is a description of what the experience is like and all would agree that that is a good one.  A problem with describing heaven is human limitation
In the Gospels it is read,
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.
                                                                                                             - Gospel Of John 14:2
The Orthodox version seems to account for all of these scenarios.
Where do you want to go when you die?
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Author:  Albert Wagner

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