And so we move to the conclusion of the story of paradise lost and paradise regained. We need to keep in mind that we are still dealing with symbolic language, metaphor, and figures of speech. At center stage of all this, however, is the personal presence of God and the Lamb. The glory of God and the Lamb give light to everything. We won’t need the sun and moon any more (probably figurative). The throne of God and the Lamb will be at city-center. God’s people will actually see God’s face and not die. God’s name is written on His people. They are finally His.
In Genesis 1-2, God was personally present with Adam and Eve in the garden. They had immediate access to the face of God. The tragedy of the Fall in Genesis 3 was not losing Eden itself. …
“Heaven has gates? Just what kind of neighborhood is it in, anyway?”
– Comedian Jim Gaffigan
What if God is like the sun and sin is flammable?
That’s how I typically think of judgment and punishment and hell. Some think that God must be really angry, and so he lashes out against the sinful. That may be partly right. But our perception of anger is so distorted by the sin-stained ruination of human anger that I think something gets lost in translation. Others think that God is really intolerant, so he turns his head to the side and refuses to even acknowledge sinners. Again, that might be partly right, but it tends to cheapen the seriousness of sin and caricaturizes God as dainty, or petty, or elitist. Besides, the nations are welcomed into God’s presence and the gates of heaven are never closed …