The game they play in heaven

I’ve been enjoying the thread of discussion started at Al Bain’s blogParadoxically Speaking – and the follow up threads on Simone’s… here, here, here, and here.

They’re about a favourite topic of mine – objectivity and absolutes – particularly with relation to aesthetics and if I’m understanding correctly how we can objectively define beauty based on the promise of the new creation.

Simone’s gambit in her first comment essentially nailed her definition to the proverbial mast…

“Something is beautiful if we sense (see/hear etc) in it something that reminds us of something we’ll know in eternity.”

I’m not sure I completely buy in to this argument. I think there’s beauty in things that don’t last, but it’s a temporal beauty (obviously) and there’s something about the fleeting moment that can be appreciated. Singularity is beautiful in a way that eternity can not be. I used the example of sport in particular. Because I don’t know/think that sport will be a huge part of the new creation, and while it should reflect honour and the best parts of human nature that will carry over into heaven – it actually is fun for reasons that are less eternal. The thrill of competition. The adrenalin rush that comes with a tight finish. A well executed play. These things are a meaningless chasing after the wind in the eternal scheme of things.

Will we all have equal athletic prowess in the new creation? I guess I’ve always just assumed so – but I haven’t done much thought on the matter.

If we’re all super athletes then sport is going to be a frustrating blend of perfect attack against perfect defence. An irresistible force against an immovable object. How boring. There’ll be no winning. So what’s the point. This is why I’m not worried if they play Rugby in heaven – it seems fitting. Rugby is full of boring stalemates.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

4 thoughts on “The game they play in heaven”

  1. >>“Something is beautiful if we sense (see/hear etc) in it something that reminds us of something we’ll know in eternity.”

    I like that. It's a quite a Piper-esque view of beauty: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermon… :
    "God himself is the absolutely original pattern of all other beauty."

    I wouldn't go so far as to call sport 'beautiful', but certainly it can be enjoyable and admirable – and to that extent it must point to God as the giver.

    >>"while it should reflect honour and the best parts of human nature that will carry over into heaven – it actually is fun for reasons that are less eternal. The thrill of competition. The adrenalin rush that comes with a tight finish. A well executed play. These things are a meaningless chasing after the wind in the eternal scheme of things.

    I'm not so sure. What is it about competition that makes it enjoyable – is it not the accomplishment of winning? Surely it's not a stretch to see how that might point to God as our eternal champion and victor?

    But I don't think I'll be playing sport in heaven – too busy singing, and I reckon you might be too.

  2. I think there will be sport in the new creation. Why wouldn't there be? And why wouldn't there be competitions? Why would you assume that it would be all perfect attack vs perfect defense? Why wouldn't it be little old me just having fun against little old you having fun? I don't imagine I'll be great at sport in heaven! I'll still be me!

    Just because we'll be put on immortality, we won't all be the same!

    I think we like to watch elite sport, because when we do we see people whose bodies are less limited that ours are. Our weaknesses stop us from doing stuff we'd like to do and it is impressive to watch people who aren't so limited as we are. In the new creation we'll be clothed in our glorious new bodies. The thing that we loved about elite sport will in some way be realised… But I don't think we'll all have the same skills. That would be boring.

    Get what I'm saying?

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