What's to stop me sinning in heaven?

Let say, for the sake of discussion, I get to heaven. What’s stopping me turning to the dark side and spending the rest of eternity as a sinner?

The way I see it there’s only two answers to this;

1/ I won’t want to. Everything will be so blissful in heaven I’ll never sin again.
2/ If I do I’ll be evicted to the bad fire down below.

Answer number 1 I have a problem with. No matter how good things are, human nature being what it is, there’ll always be someone wanting things their way and there will always be temptation. If we are suddenly immune to temptation then my argument is we are no longer “human”. It’s part of what makes us us. If heaven means we get to live for eternity as different beings, then what in the name of og is the point of faffing about on Earth for ~80 years as something else? Why make us these frail, pathetic creatures prone to sin for this tiny, minute sliver of time, if we are then going to spend eternity as entirely different persons who can’t sin? What does it prepare us for and what does it prove? Other than that many of us will fail to make the cut?

Answer number 2 I also have a problem with. Again, if I’m going to spend my time in heaven being kept in line by the threat of hell, what was the point of my time on Earth? Why not skip the whole pointless exercise and start off in heaven? At least there I’d be in possession of all the facts from the off and be better able to make an informed decision.

So what’s my point? My point is it seems to me that most religions concentrate on constructing reasons and beliefs that govern our rational and behaviour in life. But all they’re really doing is tossing the big questions of existence over the fence into the after-life where we’re not supposed to worry about them. But they’ll still be waiting for us when we get there.

Personally, I think that if there is a heaven (and I don’t believe there is) there’ll be people there inventing a whole new layer of religion, that promise an after-after-life on the next step up, just as long as you behave and believe. But of course, if you believe such things there’ll always be a next step up, and never a point of final arriving.

Pyramid Scheme! :stuck_out_tongue:

Aren’t you smooth down there in heaven, like GI Joe and Barbie? That would cut out a lot of sinning right there. I’m sure there are similar problems with lack of access to drinking and gambling and such. I’m sure they don’t let you come down to earth and play jokes on folks, either, otherwise we would’ve seen some of that. I dunno, I’m just not buying into this heaven thing…

Pretty much the same thing that stops you from dividing by zero in math class. :slight_smile:

Sister Theophane???

She’s is going to be in Heaven to prevent me sinning, the way she kept me from dividing by zero?

1.) As taught to me in Parochial School – in Heaven, you’ll be part of the Mystical Body of Christ, and wouldn’t want to commit sins because they’d be hurting myself. Plus I wouldn’t have any desire to.

2.) George Bernard Shaw in “Don Juan in Hell” in “Man and Superman” –
People move freely from Heaven to Hell, based on their inclinations. People are in one place o the other because they want to be there. Sinning would presumably make you end up i Hell with the other sinners, because you obviously want to be there. But Shaw’s Hell isn’t one of eternal; punishment. You kinda get the feeling that he feels anyone in Hell is “slumming it”, and only the truly unrepentant and the truly broadminded want to spend any time in that low-rent place.


the hell? :smiley:

The way I understand it is that we are given free will on earth so that God doesn’t have robot zombie worshippers, but in heaven we will become robot zombie worshipers (well, not me, but that is different tale to tell) because we will be unable to sin.

Isn’t heaven suggested to be some private, rewarding dream? In that way, you could have free will, and yet not sin at all.

You want to have it with sixty virgins of illegal age ? Go ahead, you’re not hurting anyone: they are just holographic fantasies, programmed to do everything from running away shrieking, to moaning in extasy when you’ve caught them.
You have never indulged in gluttony on Earth? In heaven you can stuff yourself with virtual, calorie-free fantasy food.

Of course, that raises another problem. As a reward for not sinning on Earth, you get to sin all you want in Heaven, without God objecting.
If that’s the case, why would the Church condemn erotic fantasies, based on porn ? (Assuming it’s drawn or written porn of course, so no actual girls were degraded in the making :slight_smile: ) You’d be doing exactly what God promises you you can do in heaven.

Sigh Dopers, this would be rather less painful if the least flippant answer given thus far were not given in the same sentence as someone talking about one of the Nuns’ strict disciplinary habits. ( :wink: Funny as that is.)

The short answer is that, once God gathers us into his heavenly hearth, we will be reborn. We will become more than human. Human, yes, but humanity perfected.

I favor Lewis’ explanation of this. Imagine a line. Someone then adds to this line, and makes of it a square. The line is there, unchanged - yet it is now something more than it was. Now imagine that this artist adds to that square to make a cube-shape. Now that lonely little line is full, real, and solid in a way that the line itself, could never have dreamed of.

In a similar fashion, imagine a beast in the ancient world. If it could have understood the question “What would make you more sucessful?”, it would have thought about becoming bigger and more powerful, tougher and more armored, feircer and toothier - rather like a dinosaur. It could never have imagined becoming intelligent and using that intelligence to make all that it needs, or to control other animals. Some animals make tools or control other in a small way, but never comprehending hwo they might apply those lessons to other things. So it is with men. Seeking the future, we think of ourselves becoming brainier. But the next step in human evolution, as it were, is not to become smart men but wise ones.

Evil is error (a willful error, but an error). Perfected, and being willing to become perfected, God will make us free from that error. Indeed, theologists have long thought about Satan and his fall, and concluded that Satan (and perhaps all the angels) were not at that time given all that men will be given. Satan’s ultimate failing was not his acts against man or even God, but that he, knowing God’s glory, made himself too prideful to accept the gifts of God. And so it with men.

The ultimate test of a man and a man’s worth is not that he obeys the laws of the church or any human nation, but whether he accepts his own weakness and the guidance of God. All else is playacting. (That is not to say it is pointless play, for it exists so that men and women might understand and accept that guidance.) On the day of judgement, God will call all those who will listen. And some, I am afraid, may not listen. Human pride is a wretched thing, but it can grow mighty when nourished. Atheists often speak contemptuously of God damning the sinners, and admittedly our own readings are not as clear as they might be.

Yet God does not condemn the sinners or the prideful. They alone do that. God claims no right to do it, but he will not allow them to sup at his table. Indeed, they cannot eat at it. A similar Chinese parable desribes Hell and Heaven exactly alike - all sit at the table filled with great and wonderfully delicious food. And everyone has chopsticks four feet long. At the table of Hell they all sit unhappy and suspicious. At the table of Heaven all are happy and well-fed, for they feed each other, and so all are filled. At the table of Hell, each demands the others feed him and refuses to lift a finger himself. At the table of Heaven, all share in the banquet according to their needs.

So it is with God. Remember that in the Christian tradition, God does not merely demand of mankind. Rather, he gives to them joys uncounted. We are his children, and like a loving parent, God desires little more than to have us all happy. God serves humanity. he could rule over us with an iron fist, putting all in their proper place. Yet, though we are nothing compared to him, he chooses to serve us. And though we seem like nothing, he will make of us something great and pure.

smiling bandit, that’s a wonderful and serious answer.

However, I wonder if your answer isn’t a modern interpretation of heaven, an interpretation that says more about you, and your circumstances then about heaven as it is described in the Bible. If I am correct, the Bible is very vague about what heaven is like. It’s bliss, and you are near God, and that is about it. Correct me if I am wrong.

With the Bible being so unspecific, every era has its own heaven. In hungry times, it’s an all you can eat-buffet. In downtrodden times, heaven is celecratign an eternal victory. In lonely and uncertain times, it is loss of individuality, and eternal loving company by Father.

And in these modern times of self-realization, all-basic-needs-okay, be-all-you-can-be, think-outside-the-box, a description like yours would fit perfectly.

If I am right, thinking about heaven would be an exercise in thinking in what direction Man should develop himself. But nothing more.

This invites the question of why God didn’t create us wise like this in the first place. Clearly, He could have done so, had He chosen to. So He must have had some reason for not doing so. But I have yet to hear a theistic explanation for why God would do this that really justifies all the evil that men do through free will and lack of wisdom.

I think this is the interesting aspect of the OP. If we are perfect in heaven, what could God’s justification possibly be for not having created us that way in the first place? God would have to have an excellent reason to make us foolish and unwise, capable of doing evil–a reason good enough to outweigh all of the horrendous evil that God knew would result from His decision to make us imperfect.

But without these internal conflicts, no one could have written Heaven’s Just A Sin Away.

Messing with The Plan can have unforseen negative consequences.

We have been created with the capacity to be perfectly wise, to follow God’s will always. We allow things to get in the way of that, but the whole purpose is to be completely open to God’s will because you believe that is Good and The Way. We seek perfection through seeking to do God’s will and not our own (or to have our will be His). That is why we would never choose to sin in heaven, even with free will, because we see His Will so clearly and why choose otherwise?

Jesus is as always the perfect example of this. He was completely human (and completely God), with free will, but His will was so in tune with God’s that He did not sin. In heaven we will see not through a glass, darkly, but clearly and will know the right thing to choose because God’s will is not obscured by the imperfections of earthly life.

My answer might not have been wonderful, but it was certainly serious. Sin in heaven is as undefined as division by zero, because heaven is a sinless state. If there were sin, it wouldn’t be heaven.

No doubt. My imagination is limited, and my view of heaven is based on the things I would like, at least if I were a far better man than I am. But that is close enough for me. Indeed, I would say that my view of heaven is as much a rejection of those values you ascribe as anything else.

But I do not think that a flaw, neccessarily. While human conception of God (and Heaven) is surely meager, we do try. I certainly hope that our understanding has improived over the years. If it has not, I would be greatly distressed. I do not think we shall achieve the “Truth” or any such thing in this life, but perhaps our children will understand better than we.

I may have misused the word wise (sort of) in my previous post. I would argue, though, that the evil that men do is due rarely if ever from a lack of wisdom. Looking back on my life, for example, i can see that I made serious mistakes because I was not quite bright or perceptive enough to consider them properly. But I have done evil not because I couldn’t foresee the consequences but because I did not care.

Think about it - if the men of this world were wholly willing to do good (and I do not mean “lose their individuality”), or even noticably more so, do you think all wars would cease tommorow? What tyrant can rule without an army of men willing to kill for him? If men could trust one another more fully, could we not eliminate corruption overnight? if we could eliminate corruption, could poverty or want live long? Things might become perfect overnight, but we would surely become far better, and would progress towards perfection much faster.

I wasn’t certain, but I did note that it was the least silly. I should have been more specific; my apologies.

No problem. :slight_smile:

So ants don’t herd aphids?

To address a couple of specific posts:

** Futile Gesture ** in the OP suggested that in Heaven sin might rise again because of human nature being what it is. But I would respond that in Heaven human nature will have changed. Originally, human nature had the capacity to develop along two lines. In this world we have seen the result of one line of growth, and in Heaven we will see the result of the other. Humanity initially chose the worse of two paths, and has been allowed to witness the full culmination of that decision; later, once we’ve been able to see the fulfillment of the other path, we will recognize its supremacy and will be content to remain there. So what was the point of the first existence? It was the result of our free will.

** Sophistry and Illusion ** asks why didn’t God create us perfect in the first place? Again, we were created with the capacity to become perfect, if we so chose. But we were also given the capacity to become something else. And that’s what happened.

When God created Adam He did not create him completely developed; Adam was left with part of his character unformed so that he could choose for himself what he wanted to be. (For more on this line of thought, please see “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee; Tyndale House: 1957, 1977; pp 114-116.)

Adam was created innocent. Although physically he was perhaps thirty years old, mentally he had no knowledge of good and evil. He was as yet undeveloped spiritually and intellectually. He was morally neutral – neither sinful nor holy – and God gave him the ability to choose how he wanted to complete his character. Through the test of the two trees, the “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, Adam could choose between two paths for his final development.

If he chose the Tree of Life he would become spiritually perfect; but he would also be dependent upon God to help him decide on moral issues, because he wouldn’t have the knowledge of right and wrong within himself. If he chose the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil he would have the ability to recognize each of these internally; but he would then be cut off from God’s source of life because he would also have chosen to be independent from God. So the choice was between developing spiritually but being daily dependent upon God, or developing intellectually but being separated from God and ultimately eternal life.

Adam exercised his free will in choosing between the way of the obedience, dependence and eternal life, and the way of self-sufficiency, independence and eventual death. The history of mankind is the result of the choice he made. But although Adam made his choice, and to a large extent we are stuck with his decision; we too are given an opportunity to make a similar choice. We can choose whether or not we want to be dependent upon God and be given a new existence.

Knowledge of Good and Evil isn’t necessarily a bad thing of itself. Knowledge for Good can prove very beneficial; while of course knowledge to do Evil can lead to great suffering. Yet, who is to tell us which knowledge leads where? If you don’t depend on God to inform you of this, who do you listen to? By choosing the path knowledge independent of God, Adam concurrently aligned himself with Satan. Satan was there in the Garden of Eden encouraging man to take this path, because he knew it would take man out from under God’s protection and subject him to Satan’s influences. It is Satan subsequently working on men’s minds that produces all the pain and suffering found in the world today. God gave man a choice of paths, and Satan talked man into taking the bad one. God now wants to give us a second chance, and let those who are willing move to the good path.

If we choose to become dependent upon God, and if Adam had likewise made that choice, this does not mean that we will never have any knowledge and will just run around like imbeciles. To the contrary, we will be given a great deal of understanding, learning and wisdom. It just means that we will trust God’s judgment as to what is good for us to know and what is best left alone. For example, once we get to Heaven, will anyone really want to learn again what happens when Evil is studied?

Some people balk at the idea of being dependent upon God. And they won’t be forced into that type of existence. But others are genuinely interested in seeing what would have been the result if the other path had been chosen. And they will be given the opportunity to see it.

The lobotomy St. Peter gives you as you step through the Pearly Gates. :slight_smile:

It seems as if you are describing sin as some sort of palpable force that infects us, whereas I see sin as something we do that breaks the rules that are set up. When you say that there is no sin in heaven, are you saying that free will is eliminated and that we will be incapable of breaking rules anymore, or are you saying that, no matter what we do in Heaven, we cannot get in trouble because there are no rules to break? I find the former to be totally unacceptable and the latter to be disturbing at the very least.