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20 November, 2013

Visions of Heaven and Hell by John Bunyan

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......."In heaven our understanding and knowledge is enlarged according to the greatness of what we can observe and think. In the world below, light could only shine into our minds through the windows of our senses, so God had to condescend to our limited capacities when revealing His Majesty. 

Our purest ideas of God were very imperfect—but here the gold is separated from the dross and we can conceive the holiness and purity of God. We understand about His decrees and counsels, His providence and dispensations. 

We clearly see here that from eternity God existed alone—but not solitary, that the Godhead is neither confused in unity, nor divided in number. We see that there is a priority of order but no superiority among the persons of the Trinity—but that they equally have the same excellency and power, and equally are adored. Those ways of God that in the world below seemed unsearchable and beyond our comprehension, we understand so clearly here by His divine wisdom, that the truth could not be made more simple.

"These are some of the things which make our souls happy. However, the happiness of the saints in heaven will not be complete until their bodies are resurrected and united with their souls. I will therefore show you what the resurrection body shall be like:
"First, the resurrection bodies of the blessed, will be spiritual bodies, like mine. You may better understand this not only by seeing but by touch. (After saying this, the holy prophet was pleased to give me his hand.) They will be bodies which are purified from all corruption—yet will have substance. They will not be like wind or air, as people on earth sometimes foolishly imagine."

Then I said to him that I always understood spiritual as the opposite of material, so I thought that a spiritual body must be immaterial, and not capable of being touched or felt as I found his hand was.

To this the prophet replied that their bodies were spiritual, not only because they were purified from all corruption—but as they were sustained by the enjoyment of God without needing food, drink, or sleep. Beholding the Lord is what supports both their souls and their bodies, and is what they live upon forever. "Have you not read," said the prophet, "that the blessed Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared in His body to His disciples when they were met together in a chamber and the doors shut about them? And yet He called to Thomas to come and reach forth his hand and thrust it into His side, which shows it had substance.

"Our bodies in the resurrection shall be immortal, and incapable of dying. Below their bodies are all mortal, perishing, and subject to crumbling into dust at any time. But here our bodies will be incorruptible and freed from death forever, for our corruption here shall put on incorruption, and our mortality will be swallowed up of life."
Here I desired the prophet to bear with me a little, while I gave him an account of my own ideas about these matter.

"Speak, for I am ready to remove your doubt," he said.
"I have learned," I said, "in the holy Scriptures that immortality belongs to God only, and not to men. Daily experience tells us that bodies of men are mortal, and die. Therefore Paul told Timothy that God alone has immortality."

This is just an excerpt of the book by John Bunyan. 

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