"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Importance of the Opposites

I've heard people say there has to be darkness/pain/evil/death/a hell/people going to hell in order to give richer meaning to the opposite: light/good health/goodness/life/heaven/the Elect.  I thought of that as I read this quote.

What do you think about this guy's idea of heaven?  Do you tend to agree with him?  What is your ideal heaven and what are your beliefs about it (or an afterlife)?

"It is certainly too monotonous for an Eternity...to make a new life desirable it must give us something to do, something worth striving for, and a career by which we may improve in virtue ... If we are to increase in virtue we need occasion for self-denial, self-control, and self-sacrifice. But these cannot exist where there is no want, no offence, no pain. Want and pain, toil and trial, cannot be wholly banished out of my Heaven."  ~ Francis Newman

From The Call to Seriousness: The Evangelical Impact on the Victorians by Ian Bradley


Amber said...

I think that people understand things better in contrast in many cases. And some things can only be defined by their opposite. For a really simple example, what is light but the absence of dark and vice versa? (I'm not talking good/evil light and dark here, but the actual states of illumination.)

As for heaven, I don't know that I have an ideal or even any idea of heaven or hell or any other kind of afterlife, personally. I can't imagine that it's anything at all like the descriptions that we get because they're all so very tied to the way things are in this world. So they're, in my opinion, metaphors or the experience filtered through limited human understanding.

sanil said...

Well, I don't believe in Heaven and Hell as an afterlife. I believe in realms that roughly correspond to them, but they're homes of different types of beings rather than places certain people go after death.

As for an afterlife, I tend to think everything goes back to the creator, physical and spiritual. Eventually the universe will die and be reborn, and we'll all be born into a new world. I think that will be more like Earth than either Heaven or Hell, though maybe we will take what we've learned here and make it better if we can remember it. All of that is just an idea, though. I really don't know and it's not a major part of my religion.

Susanne said...

Thank you both for your thoughts. As always, I appreciate them. Interesting stuff. :)

Tori said...

I believe in Heaven and Hell (of sorts). I believe Hell is where the devil and the 1/3 of the host of heaven who followed him will spend eternity.

I actually found your blog by way of Sarah Familia. I saw a bunch of questions you posed in a couple of comments on one of her posts and was so interested in them, I copied them and answered them in my blog. :) If you're interested: http://gollihughfamily.blogspot.com/2012/06/more-on-doctrines-some-deep-ish-of-my.html

Susanne said...

Thank you, Tori! That was kind of you!

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

I don't believe in an afterlife, but I do think we need contrasts to really understand.

Today many people think we should be happy constantly, but that would be completely impossible.