It is not uncommon for persons to suppose that living forever in paradise would be boring. This is an edited reprint of a previous Mailbag question from the week of April 20th, 2003, discussing the topic.
I feel really depressed and mixed up because I have this feeling that maybe the New World after Armageddon will not live up to expectations. I know it’s just because I could not imagine everlasting life in this system without getting bored or tired of it. I know we are told that we will be happy, but I need some form of reassurance. Please help.
Okay. Let’s do a little exercise here, just for fun. While you are on the computer, open up your word processor and start a document called: “Things I would like to do.” Now, start listing all the things you would like to do. Be as imaginative as you want, but be realistic. This is your wish list for this system.
To start you off, maybe you would like to go to the movies with some friends today and then go out for some pizza afterwards. Okay then, write that down. How about tomorrow? What do you want to do? How about a year from now or ten years from now?
Right off the bat, you probably recognize that there are some serious limitations here. More than likely you are going to have to do things today and tomorrow that you wish you didn’t have to do. You know your situation.
Like everyone else, your choices and options are somewhat limited because of your present circumstance. Maybe you don’t have very much money to go places and do the things you want to do. Maybe you don’t have a car to get where you want to go. Maybe you don’t have so many friends that you like to be around all that much anyway. Maybe you just don’t feel very good about yourself and so your relationships with other people are not the best. Maybe, after you do the things you have to do, you just don’t have the time or energy to do the things you really want to do—so you just end up on the couch in front of the television—or worse. No doubt, you can see that what you want to do is very limited by what you can do because of circumstances beyond your control. That’s what breeds boredom and frustration.
Okay, now I am going to ask you to use something that everyone possesses that is one of the most powerful forces in the universe—your imagination! Think about this: Everything in the world, both good and bad, originated in someone’s imagination first before it became real. So, unleash your imagination!
Now make a list of all the things you want to do without the limitations you are presently faced with. Don’t worry about not having the time or money or energy. Imagine: No limitations!
Think about it. Spend some time lost in a daydream. Realize that in your imagination you can go anywhere and do anything.
Forget the Watchtower’s crude drawings of people sitting around on blankets with huge picnic baskets of fruit and vegetables, while the children are petting lions. That’s merely one aspect of an artist’s impression of paradise. The real paradise is much more than that and your imagination has the power to make it much more vivid. Besides, this is your list—your version of paradise. What do you want to do?
Now do you get the picture?
Paradise means that you can stay up as late as you want partying with friends and drinking cappuccino!—If that’s what you want. It means that you can sleep until noon every day—if that’s what you want. It means that you can go anywhere, anytime, without any worries or hassles from anyone.
Do you wish to live in a home on a cliff overlooking the sea? Why not have another home in the mountains and one in the valley or desert too? You can do a time-share with your many friends from all over the world when you aren’t living there. Are we getting the imaginative juices flowing yet?
By the way, how many friends do you have now? How many do you want to have? How many friends do you have that are from a different race or nationality? How many languages do you speak? Why not learn them all? Impossible you say? Can you imagine using 100% of your mental capacity? Probably not, since we currently use only a very small percentage of our brain’s capacity—even when imagining.
Okay, maybe you just would like to live free and unencumbered without any possessions—just living in the open like Adam and Eve—if that’s what you desire. Or, you can live like the wealthiest person in the world—because you will be—everyone will be, because you will not be lacking anything that you desire. Remember: Jehovah has immense wealth, beyond our ability to even comprehend, and he is going to share it with all of his children.
Can you imagine the joy and deep satisfaction of having meaningful human relationships? No more people-problems caused by jealousy, greed, anger and stupidity! Just think: No more mean people!
Paradise means that you can have a perfect family. It means your children will never be snotty-nosed, bawling brats. Children will always be a joy to be around. They will continually amaze you with their genius, creativity and loveliness. How many children do you want to have? And just imagine seeing your children’s children for who knows how many generations?
Do you wanna sing and dance? What’s stopping you?
Do you want to play beautiful music? Or perhaps you yearn to compose music like a Beethoven? Forget it. By the time Wolfgang Amadeus is resurrected into paradise you will be giving him music lessons!
There are yet-unheard new songs waiting to be sung and new music to be discovered and composed, and you are going to have the opportunity to do it all—if that’s what you desire.
Do you wish to paint or sculpt or make beautiful works of glass or ceramic? Would you like to design landscapes that make the gardens of Versailles look like an unkempt lot? Do you want to write classic novels and stories that inspire and captivate others?
Remember, no limitations!
What do you want to do? No two snowflakes are exactly the same—or so they say. The same goes for people. And you will have forever to discover your own uniqueness and potential, as well as the uniqueness of others.
What about travel? Have you ever been to Tahiti? How about Tibet or Tangiers?
Have you ever explored an underground cave? Why not? Have you ever dug an emerald or ruby out of the earth? How many unpolished precious gems are waiting to be unearthed and transformed into breathtaking ornaments by you?
Have you ever climbed a mountain? Have you ever stood on a frosty peak and looked out over the world? Have you ever slept under a canopy of stars in the middle of the vast ocean, in a sail boat, as giant whales sing their serene serenade in the distance? Have you ever gone snorkeling in tropical blue waters? Have you ever frolicked with a pod of killer whales or dolphins?
Have you ever traveled to the beautiful winter wonderland of the Arctic and hung out with penguins or fed the polar bears in the glow of the Northern lights? It is going to become your planet. What do you want to do with it?
Where do you want to go?
Have you ever been to a resurrection party?
We have all been to weddings and funerals and we know the emotions involved. But you have never been to a resurrection ceremony. Can you imagine being at a gathering of friends and family as they await the pre-announced materialization of the next resurrectee? What kind of reception do you suppose would take place afterwards? Do you think you would become bored sharing in the ecstasy of such occasions? For example, can you imagine the astonished look on, say, your grandmother’s face when you walk over to her and give her a kiss and welcome her to paradise? Then, a few weeks later you and your newly resurrected grandmother go to her mother’s resurrection reception to welcome your great grandma back from the dead. Do you think you would ever become bored participating in welcoming each generation back from the grave? Is there anyone who has died whom you would like to host at a resurrection party? If so, add their names to your list.
Romance you ask? Listen, Jehovah invented wine and roses, exotic music, and everything that is beautiful, lovely and sensuous. Have you ever sipped 50-year old Armagnac? You are missing something! Its sweet vapors evaporate in your throat without ever reaching the bottom! And just think, Jehovah promises to roll out the barrel of the finest wines for everyone to enjoy—if that’s what you want. Paradise means that your lover writes you poetry and brings you flowers everyday! Do you think you will become bored basking in the glow of the “flame of Jah,” burning like a torch in your lover’s eyes? We were made to thrive on love and that’s all there is going to be in paradise—even more love than you can handle! Is that hard to imagine? If so, you need to crank up your imagination.
God created the human face to reflect his own joy and glory. How could he possibly allow even one of his children to go around sad-faced in his new world?
What must Jehovah have intended when he created Adam and Eve? They were his own children. Can you imagine being a true son or daughter of a loving Father like Jehovah? We are so far removed from Eden it doesn’t seem real sometimes. But that is where your imagination comes in; not in imagining some Elysian fantasy, but imagining what is real—what is to come. Knowledge-based faith allows us to do that.
Paradise offers you the opportunity to find out what it really means to be made in the image of God and to be part of God’s universal family. It offers you the privilege of personally experiencing what it is like to have Jehovah’s power and personality in a scaled down version of God himself.
Best of all, the real reason God created us is so that we might have a relationship with him. Not a relationship where we do all the talking and we hope he hears us. Paradise means that Jehovah comes looking for you—just like he did in Eden with the first man! Can you imagine what Jehovah might say if you could casually converse with him? Can you imagine how thrilling it will be to speak with the Creator of the universe on a daily basis and ask him any question on your mind and he will answer it?
You could even ask the Creator to solve the age-old riddle, once and for all, about which came first, the chicken or the egg? Surely He knows. And who knows, he might just astonish or amuse you with his answer? Or do you suppose that Jehovah has no sense of humor? He created the chimpanzee didn’t he?
I imagine that once we get our relationship with God repaired, Jehovah could tell you a private joke that would leave you laughing for weeks. What do you want to say to Jehovah when you talk to him in person?
Do you think Jehovah ever gets bored?
How could he?
Look at his vast universe and this fantastic earth he created and all of its many marvels. We don’t enjoy a fraction of it. Do you honestly think God is going to allow his sons and daughters to be bored living in paradise? Whereas, it seems that if the Devil can’t fool us into destroying ourselves outrightly, he seems intent on boring us to death with his futile system of things we are forced to live under presently; but in Jehovah’s world-to-come it will be a thrill to simply be alive—to breathe the clean and sweetly perfumed air of paradise.
When Jehovah promises to give the entire earth to the meek ones as an inheritance, what does that mean? Well, what does it mean to inherit something from a parent? It means that you own it—you take possession of your share, right? Well, then, can you imagine owning the earth? Give it a try—use your limitless imagination to envision what you are going to do with your inheritance of planet earth. Inheriting the earth means total freedom to do whatever you want as long as you do not break God’s law of love. Isn’t that awesome?
Jehovah words it something like this: “But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
And your name is penciled-in in Jehovah’s legal Will. As long as you have faith in him and appreciate what Jesus did to make it possible—it is yours. That’s your inheritance from your heavenly Father.
So, please don’t let the Devil trick you into thinking that the New World will be a bore. Start dreaming and thinking about all the wonderful possibilities that await you in the paradise of Jehovah’s promise. I am sure that once you open up your imagination you will not be able to stop thinking about all the wonderful possibilities that come with everlasting life in a new world.