God's in heaven, God's everywhere

All religious language is metaphorical, which makes life very difficult for a 3 year old trying to get a grip on Christianity.

Nikki and I had a little chat, then about what exactly heaven is and how to talk about it with Xavvy.

'Heaven' is a spacial metaphor for a spiritual state: Heaven is 'with God'.

  • Ultimately God and only God is 'in heaven'.
  • But the angels enjoy an immediacy of unhindered relationship to God that is not experienced here on earth. They are 'in heaven' while we are 'on earth'.
  • Yet in Christ, we have a greater relationship to God than even Adam and Eve enjoyed, so that we are 'seated with Christ in the heavenly realms'.
  • Nevertheless our relationship with God still lacks experiential wholeness - 'Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror'. We look forward to full experience of our relationship with God - 'then we shall see face to face... then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known'.
So how does this help us talk about heaven with a three year old? Well, I reckon by restricting the use of spatial metaphors wherever possible.

Nikki suggested that we limit the spatial metaphor to full relationship. So 'heaven is where God is'.

And rather than confusing the matter by also saying 'God is everywhere', instead use relational terms: 'God sees everything, God cares for us, God always hears us'.