Complicated World; Simple Heaven

To be young, guileless and lost. To be innocent, unscatched and clueless. We can all probably recall a time when we knew less than we do now, and some part of us may yearn to be back there. We miss the ease. We grieve the loss of the straightforwardness. We console ourselves, now, in this more complicated and aged time, with “I’ve learned” and “I’m stronger,” but stronger against what? Only against these earthly tides that we’ll one day be free of anyways.

Our souls are like our hands. I remember a tall, white bin, filled with dry, white rice by my father. He and my brother used it to strengthen the skin on their hands for their karate practice. They shot their hands into the rice, fingers flexed and firm, to toughen them. This practice assisted them in their martial arts. Combat calls for calluses. In our lives on this earth, we battle against unheavenly things, against the threats of the world, the flesh and the devil (Council of Trent, 1547).

Indeed, there is darkness on this earth. To prepare to fight it is right (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Peter 5:8-9). However, we cannot forget that darkness has spread here only through The Fall (Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 12:15; John 8:44). Who needs the armour of God (Ephesians 6:11-18) if there’s no enemy? Who needs hope and faith if there’s no distance from the divine (1 Corinthians 13:13)? There is a place, or state, where no threat or darkness exists, which is characterized by a simplicity of goodness. It is called Heaven. Heaven is pre-Fall, or anti-Fall, or a-Fall. Heaven is lack of all things fallen, a lack of perversion. Heaven is pure and simple light, love, goodness, God (1 John 4:8). There, innocence exists not as a counter to calluses, but as the entire descriptor of the state of heavenliness. Pure love is innocent. Pure love is unscathed. Pure love cannot be anything but itself. It defends against no antagonist, and so can be soft and clean and perfect. It is entire.

Every moment that we grow older on this earth, we are one moment deeper into growing callused. Our bodies reflect this theological truth. Our skin grows wrinkled, thicker, uneven and dulled. Our bodies lose themselves to biological trauma or cancer, eventually unable to sustain themselves against the throes of this world’s entropy. God allows us to live on this earth with its trials and toils because He, in a way often mysterious to us, knows it can bring us closer to goodness (2 Corinthians 4:16-17; 1 Peter 4:12-13). He wills it so, and He allows us opportunities to cooperate and consent, which themselves are holy gifts. When we do so, employing our own wills, He happily enfolds us in His unmerited gift of further grace, delighted we’ve come to Him. As we face trials in this life, we’re called to turn to Him, again and again, never persisting in our straying (Philippians 2:12-13).

This world is not Eden, nor Heaven. It is a broken version, scathed with cracks, soils and wounds that seep out evil like ugly puss. We battle through it, and each of us are given up to a certain limit of years to fight. How blessed we are with the eventual reality of being absorbed into His vision, of being rapt into His will. If we battle well enough on this earth, always turning back to Him, we may be gifted the grace of being cleansed enough to encounter Him most fully and allowed into Heaven, which otherwise we’d never deserve, being callused. However, for now, we must accept our calluses while never forgetting that they are not our destiny. Our calluses exemplify the weakness that we have. Our calluses exhibit that we are not of this world (John 15:19). Our calluses carry us through, until we reach purity. They enable us to continue through this earthly muck as we wrestle toward the eternal path, which is our heritage and home. Should we be graced with the ability to enter back into that home, our calluses will be burnt off so that we can regain our Eden identities and once again be innocent enough to encounter God intimately (1 Corinthians 3:13-15; Hebrews 12:29; Revelations 21:27).

God calls us to be childlike (Matthew 18:3). He does not call us to be childish, in a way that might mean silly or illogical. Rather, His calling to us to be childlike encourages us toward that heavenly simplicity, that purity that describes His own being. If we can love both Him and others even more dearly than we love our own mothers upon birth, then we unite our desires closer to Heaven. If we can embrace our calluses, traumas, pains and guards as mere tools to help us survive on this earth, ever endeavouring back to an innocence which is achievable only through His grace, then we can help our souls survive until we meet Jesus again. 

The devil desires that we absorb our calluses into ourselves until they become so much our identity that we cannot even let them go and rejoin Eden. The devil desires that we become our faults unto eternity, that we consent to this pain unto our wreckage. The devil desires that we let the battle break us, rather than toughen us. Though we are not good enough to merit it, God gifts us something greater. He tells us that we have an opportunity to persist until we meet Him. He tells us to cling to faith, hope and love, knowing that these three will carry us, alive, back to Heaven.


Council of Trent, Sixth Session: Decree on justification, Chapter XIII: On the gift of Perseverance, (1547).

The Bible


Articles Home Page

1 comment


Very good message, we must fight against Satan every waking hour.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published