What exactly do we do in Heaven?

Question: What exactly do we do in Heaven? Will we be able to interact with others? Wouldn't just basking in God's Love for eternity be boring?

Answer: Interestingly enough, while A Course in Miracles does talk extensively about what we do in Heaven, its most succinct statement on the topic was removed in the process of editing. The statement, which appears in the Urtext, is actually repeated twice with slightly different wording:

The Soul [in Heaven] knows, loves, and creates. These are its unequivocal functions.

The soul's true functions are knowing, loving, and creating.

So, the short answer to the question of what we do in Heaven is that we know, we love, and we create. Now, the Course is clear that all three of these heavenly functions so transcend our current state of mind that we aren't even capable of truly understanding them here. We have earthly reflections of them, but their true nature in Heaven is beyond our capacity to fully grasp. That being said, let's look at their essence as the Course describes them, one at a time:

First, we know. We know reality—which includes God, our brothers, and all the creations we create together—with a perfect, direct, unmediated awareness. Our knowing in Heaven is a total union of knower and known, in which the distinction between subject and object that characterizes "knowing" on earth is completely obliterated. Because of this total union between knower and known, knowledge in Heaven is completely certain, which is a source of great joy: "How happy to be certain!" (W-pI.98.2:1).

Second, we love. We have such a deep attraction toward, compatibility with, and unconditional love for everyone and everything in Heaven that we revel in our complete union with all reality. The Course material speaks movingly of "the joyous concord of the Love [the Father and the Son] give forever to Each Other" (S-2.In.1:3), the eternal, total embrace that also extends to and from each and every brother and all of our creations. What could be more joyful? In fact, the Course tells us, "There is no difference between love and joy" (T-5.In.2:3).

Third, we create. "Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained" (T-7.I.3:4). We are extensions of our loving Father and share all of His attributes, including the ability and will to create. Therefore, the joint will of the Sonship in union with the Will of the Father lovingly continues the process of extension that He began. "Child of God, you were created to create the good, the beautiful and the holy" (T-1.VII.2:1). As I've alluded to in the previous two paragraphs, we create what the Course calls our "creations": perfect, limitless beings who are extensions of the Father and the Son (see T-24.VII.7:3). This, too, is an immensely joyful process: "The extension of the Kingdom…is your joy" (T-7.VI.12:4).

Several things strike me as I relate these three heavenly functions to the questions raised in this Q & A. First, though obviously it's not "doing" in the conventional sense of accomplishing tasks with a body, we actually have plenty to do in Heaven. Life in Heaven is not just basking in God's Love (though it certainly includes that, thank goodness); there is a real dynamism there and lots of exuberant activity, especially the constant outflow of creation. Second, there is certainly interaction with others in Heaven. Heaven is a state characterized by beings in relationship with each other—the Father, the Sons, their creations—engaged in "joint projects" together, if you will. Third, it doesn't sound boring in the least. All three functions are described as activities that bring us joy. What could be more appealing, and less boring, than that?

What also occurs to me as I contemplate these functions is that both the ego and the Holy Spirit draw upon the appeal of them by giving us earthly versions. Let's look at the ego's versions first. The ego gives us earthly distortions of these functions with the aim of keeping us away from the true versions. In place of knowing, the ego gives us false perception, which enables us to hold onto the juicy image of ourselves as "separate, different, and special" (T-25.I.5:5). A subcategory of the ego's version of knowledge is all the ways it has us pursue bogus "knowledge": "the study of the ego" (T-14.X.8:6), the study of "the error itself" (C-In.1:5), and all the "intellectual feats…[and] logical toys" (W-pI.39.1:3) with which we waste our time. In place of loving, the ego gives us special relationships, "the ego's most boasted gift" (T-16.V.3:1), relationships that seem to offer love but are really hotbeds of hate and resentment. And in place of creating, the ego gives us making, the process of cobbling together separate things with "inventiveness…[and] ingenuity" (C-In.3:6) that has led to nothing less than the entire painful and attacking world we see.

The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, gives us earthly reflections of these functions with the aim of helping us return to the true versions. He gives us a reflection of knowing called true perception, which enables us to see ourselves and all of our brothers as the Holy Sons of God we really are. A subcategory of this is the Holy Spirit's function of teaching our minds a genuine understanding of ideas that lead to salvation—a process that can be facilitated by, among other things, studying the teachings of the Course. He gives us a reflection of loving called forgiveness, "an earthly form of love" (W-pI.186.14:2), and gives us holy relationships, in which "God's Son comes closest to himself" (T-20.V.1:1) through two people joining in a truly common goal. And He gives us a reflection of creating called miracle working, the function of extending true perception to our brothers everywhere, in order to bring about the salvation of the world.

Like the heavenly versions, the Holy Spirit's earthly versions of these functions don't sound boring to me in the least. In fact, they sound like the very things that bring us lasting satisfaction in this world: seeing the true nature of things, including others and ourselves, with genuine understanding; loving and forgiving one another in relationships that serve a higher purpose than just looking out for number one; and having a meaningful function in the world that involves giving of ourselves to serve a truly noble cause that benefits everyone. These activities are what bring meaning, purpose, and joy to our lives on earth. If this is so, then how much more wonderful must their heavenly versions be? I for one would love to find that out. And we will all find out, in time, by diligently walking the path of A Course in Miracles.

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