When I was a child I was taught that Heaven was the final reward for living a good life and being a good Christian. If I followed the laws of God then I would be rewarded with eternal life. I would spend eternity in a perfect body, in a perfect place and be perfectly happy. I would know completely, understand completely and be able to experience and understand the complete love of God.
On the other hand, if I did not live a good life, was not a good Christian and did not follow the laws of God I would be subject to the fires of Hell. A grand thing about growing up Seventh-Day Adventist is that they do not believe in an eternal Hell. Adventist believe in a second coming… Christ returns, calls up his faithful and those unfaithful are left behind on the earth which God then cleanses with fire. When the earth is cleansed a new perfect earth is made. So no eternal Hell fire and damnation.
As I became an adult I began to question this reward system. Should my motivation to do the right thing be based on the promise of a life of eternal perfection and bliss? Or should my motivation to do the right thing be based on my desire to simply live a good life, to be happy to do right, to feel a sense of goodwill and accomplishment, a desire to help my fellow human beings. Should my motivation be based on fear of burning in the final fire of Hell? If fear of fire is my motivation, or desire for a greater reward, then are my actions, my motives, true are they pure?
I’m not certain I want to live forever in a perfect world.. streets of gold and eternal perfect bliss just don’t really do it for me. I like my life… hard knocks and all. I think I would be bored in a world where there were no challenges, no ups, no downs, no highs, no lows. Call me strange but once the struggles are over I am happy to have lived through them. The strength, knowledge and insight I gain from these experiences have helped me on this journey of life. Maybe my understanding of Heaven is skewed and needs a readjustment. I like to think that I should live my life like this is the final frontier with as few regrets as possible. Live a good and productive life just because I can, just because I want to be happy and want to do the right thing without applause without the hoopla. To be content living my life right here and right now.