By Gary Scott Smith
Does heaven exist? if that is so, what's it like? and the way does one get in? all through heritage, painters, poets, philosophers, pastors, and lots of usual humans have contemplated those questions. possibly no different subject captures the preferred mind's eye relatively like heaven. Gary Scott Smith examines how americans from the Puritans to the current have imagined heaven. He argues that no matter if american citizens have perceived heaven as truth or myth, as God's domestic or a human invention, as a resource of thought and luxury or an opiate that distracts from earthly existence, or as a spot of worship or a perpetual playground has diverse principally in response to the spirit of the age. within the colonial period, conceptions of heaven centred totally on the respect of God. For the Victorians, heaven used to be a hot, cozy domestic the place humans might reside endlessly with their friends and family. at the present time, heaven is usually much less distinctively Christian and extra of a celestial leisure middle or a paradise the place every body can succeed in his complete capability. Drawing on an outstanding array of resources, together with artworks, track, sociology, psychology, folklore, liturgy, sermons, poetry, fiction, jokes, and devotional books, Smith paints a sweeping, provocative portrait of what Americans-from Jonathan Edwards to Mitch Albom-have considered heaven.
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Extra info for Heaven in the American Imagination
7 More than almost any other American, Edwards asserted that love dominated and defined heaven—the love among the three members of the Trinity, the love between God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit and individual saints, and the saints’ love of one another. the characteristics of heaven Like the Puritans, Edwards and other revivalists conceived of heaven as theocentric, accentuating its magnificence and God’s awesome presence. 8 In various sermons and treatises, Edwards portrayed heaven as a realm where the saints eternally praise God, delight in their intimate relationship with Christ, grow (especially in knowledge), and enjoy social harmony.
21 In addition to worshipping and communing with God, Puritans asserted, residents of heaven delighted in their fellowship with each other. ” Devout Puritans attended church services twice each Sabbath, gathered for midweek meetings in their homes or churches, had regular family and personal devotions, and faithfully studied the Bible to understand and apply its teachings. Thus the principal activity that they envisioned occurring in heaven—worship— was an extension of their earthly passion. The saints, Hillhouse asserted, will enjoy “a Blessed Rest” from all their “Toilsome Duties” and will spend eternity singing songs of admiration, astonishment, and joy to Jesus.
Infinite riches of his wisdom, and . . ” Heaven “is a garden of pleasures, a . . paradise, fitted in all respects” to serve as the abode of divine love. ” The saints will know, Edwards declared, that God has always loved them and will always love them, and they will passionately love God. The holiest saints will be the happiest and the closest to God. They will “penetrate further into the vast . . ” Above all things, believers should yearn “to be with God” and Jonathan Edwards and the First Great Awakening 33 Jesus.