Growing up, I used to hate coffee. I thought it was nasty, bitter and altogether unpleasant. So I never drank it. Fast forward 20 years, I love it now.
As a child, I remember my Dad often wanting to watch the news. It was usually greeted by a chorus of, ‘that’s boring!’ I can’t remember what it was that we would rather watch but I do remember it definitely wasn’t that! But by the time I was in my teens, I was watching the news along with my Dad. And by the time I got to university, I was studying History & Politics, the latter nigh on demanding you watch it each day and read several newspapers to boot.
I am sure you can think of similar sorts of things. Stuff that you used to hate or have no interest in whatsoever that you later came to love. For lots of people it’s stuff like sprouts that their parents made them eat as children. But whatever the specific things are for you, we can all see over time how our tastes change. What we loved as children we may not care for anymore. What we had no interest in as kids we can’t get enough of now.
It’s this phenomena, I think, that explains something of how we will feel about Heaven.
Often, when we look at popular descriptions of what unbelievers think Heaven would be like (if they believe it exists at all), it is full of all the kind of things that they enjoy right now. Heaven is very much in the eye of the beholder on such views. If it’s something we like now, it will be there in abundance in Heaven. Stuff we hate now will be banished and inflicted on those who didn’t make the cut.
But the Biblical view of Heaven isn’t that. In fact, there are some good things that we enjoy – that even the Bible says are good gifts from God to be enjoyed – that won’t be there. One example would be marriage. Many, by extension, want to then argue that there will equally be no sex. If God designs sex for marriage, and there is no giving in marriage in Heaven, then there is also no sex. Others deny that latter point. But it at least seems possible that there won’t be sex in Heaven, even if that being the case isn’t entirely clear.
But that inevitably leads to the question, how can it be Heaven without sex? How can something that most people enjoy, and that even God himself calls a good gift, not be in that place? Is it really Heaven any more? Or, perhaps there is some other thing that you can’t imagine Heaven being perfect without. What if it isn’t there? How can that be Heaven any longer without it?
But I think the answer lies in the fact that our tastes change. We imagine sex must be there because it is, for many, among their highest joys. They can’t imagine anything greater than it. But for the one being changed into the likeness of Christ, it is entirely possible that our tastes will change. That’s not to say it is not a good gift, it is simply to say that good as it is, there are higher joys awaiting us. And such as we enjoy it now, there may be greater things for us to enjoy then such that our tastes ultimately change.
In other words, our maturity causes us to change. We will no longer be like children expecting a Heaven of sweets and Christmas every day. We will have matured in Christ, being transformed perfectly into his likeness, and what we desire will have matured along with us.