Happiness in Heaven?

The Desiring God blog has recently posted {1 and 2} on Jonathan Edwards’ view of rewards/happiness in Heaven. I’ve blogged about it here before {see, “Jonathan Edwards, or, How A Skinny Man Who Wore A Wig is Radically Changing My World“}. If you’re unfamiliar with his view, he believed that there are levels of happiness in Heaven. Allow me to let him speak here:

“We are very apt to conceive that those that are more holy and more happy than others in heaven will be elated and lifted up above them, whereas their being superior in holiness implies their being superior in humility, or having the greatest humility. […]

And besides, those that are highest in holiness, and so necessarily highest in happiness (for holiness and happiness are all one in heaven), instead of anything like despising those that are less holy and happy, will love those that are inferior to them more than they would do if they had not so much holiness and happiness, more than if they were but equal with them, and more than those do that are equal with them.

This is certain: for the foundation of the saints’ love to each other will be their love to the image of God which they see in them. Now most certainly the holier a man is, the more he loves the same degree of the image, so that the holiest in heaven will love that image of God they see in the least holy more than those do that are less holy, and that which makes it beyond any doubt that this superior happiness will be no damp to them is this: that their superior happiness consists in their great humility, and in their greater love to them, and to God, and Christ, whom the saints look upon as themselves.”

The thrust of what Edwards is saying is that “rewards” in Heaven will not be what modern evangelicals propose: a mansion with our own driveway of gold. Rather, according to Edwards, and I fully agree with him here, our reward in Heaven will be “more of God.” In other words, there will be degrees of happiness in Heaven. That is the reward, not some mansion! I don’t want a mansion! That doesn’t appeal to me. I want God! I want to be happy in God forever…and I want it to be increasing for eternity. That is Heaven for me. Joyful communion with my God which increases daily.

The Westminster Confession begins here: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

If this idea is new to you, I recommend the Desiring God post #2 where John Piper explains this further. But Sam Storms’ message, “Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven,” from the 2003 DG National Conference is the best sermon I have ever heard on Heaven and radically and drastically changed my life and still does today.

If you’re not familiar with Jonathan Edwards or increasing joy in God as the reward of Heaven, I highly recommend:

1} Reading Edwards’ sermons on this {Heaven, Many Mansions}

2} Listening to this sermon by Sam Storms {read, listen, download}: “Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven.”

I promise, it will change your world, both now…and THEN!


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