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In Heaven there is no Beer

Question: Whether irony[*] has a place in the Kingdom of God?

Objection 1: It would seem that irony has no place in the Kingdom of God. Irony is possible only when there is a history of privation. Furthermore, two of the purposes of irony are derision and mockery; clearly derision and mockery have no place in the Kingdom of God.

On the Contrary: "His blood be on us and on our children."

I answer that: In the Kingdom of God there is no imperfection; therefore that which was imperfect is remade into perfection for entry into the Kingdom of God. Existence in the Kingdom of God implies perfection, but does not imply a history of perfection alone.

Reply to Objection 1: We are not perfect, and yet we hope to enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore things which enter the Kingdom of God do not cease to be, but are perfected. Furthermore, life without jest and beer is less perfect than life with them. In Heaven there is no Milwaukee's Best.

[*] For the purposes of this post, we define irony as speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says, often for the purpose of derision, mockery, or jest.

(Cross-posted at Zippy Catholic)

Comments (34)

Awesome.

Wait. What about the Old Milwaukee I drank the other day? Is that poor beer's doom eternally set?

Well, I don't know about Old Milwaukee, but the Beast's doom has been foretold - I think it may even be in the Apocalypse.

You drank Old Milwaukee?

"Therefore things which enter the Kingdom of God do not cease to be, but are perfected."

Is it possible for one to sin in the Kindom of God?


I answer that: In the Kingdom of God there is no imperfection;


sed contra: There are two kinds of perfection: divine and human. And as von Balthasar wrote, "there is an irreconcilable difference" between God and man. The perfection that is God's will never be ours. Insofar as we are not God, we fall short of divine perfection.

In a mundane vein, Oscar Wilde put it this way in "The Importance of Being Earnest"

Jack. You’re quite perfect, Miss Fairfax.

Gwendolen. Oh! I hope I am not that. It would leave no room for developments, and I intend to develop in many directions.


And so St. Gregory held out that our ascent to God is an infinite ascent. There is room for irony* there.

*For the purpose of this reply, the definition of irony is being worked out.

There are two kinds of perfection: divine and human. And as von Balthasar wrote, "there is an irreconcilable difference" between God and man. The perfection that is God's will never be ours. Insofar as we are not God, we fall short of divine perfection.

Respondeo dicendum: From this it does not follow that there is imperfection in the Kingdom of God. Imperfection is a privation, a lacking in perfection that a subject can and should have but does not. But the divine perfection is not achievable by, or proper to, any created being. Thus the infinite distance between the divine perfection and any created being does not entail that their is imperfection in the Kingdom of God.

Now, no created being can achieve the divine perfection, as was stated above. But every created being seeks its proper end, which is its own perfection. Now, the proper end of every human being is union with God through His grace. Thus union with God through His grace is the perfection of every human being. But "the Kingdom of God" signifies union with God through His grace. Thus it follows that "in the Kingdom of God there is no imperfection."

Jack. You’re quite perfect, Miss Fairfax.

Gwendolen. Oh! I hope I am not that. It would leave no room for developments, and I intend to develop in many directions.

Respondeo dicendum: "Development" signifies motion towards the end. But in the Kingdom of God the end is achieved.

And so St. Gregory held out that our ascent to God is an infinite ascent.

Respondeo dicendum: "Infinite ascent" can be said in two ways. The first way signifies an infinite distance between God and the created being that seeks Him. Now, this is true since the divine essence is infinite and all created natures are finite, and between the infinite and the finite their is infinite distance. But in this way there is no contradiction between infinite ascent and the lack of imperfection in the Kingdom of God, since it is not an imperfection for a created being to not achieve the divine perfection, as was shown above.

The second way signifies an infinite or unending motion towards God on the part of the created being that seeks Him. Now, to say a thing is moving towards God is simply to say that it is moving towards the perfection of its nature, since the divine essence is the exemplar of all perfection. But every created nature is finite. Thus the perfection of every created nature is finite. From this it follows that "infinite ascent" signifying in this way is false, since every nature will cease its ascent when it achieves its finite perfection.

Furthermore, life without jest and beer is less perfect than life with them. In Heaven there is no Milwaukee's Best.

I still don't get the part about beer and have decided to admit as much. If life without beer is less perfect than life with beer, doesn't it follow that there is beer in heaven? (I couldn't figure out a way to ask this in a Thomistic parody.)

Brendon, I recommend St. Gregory. He is full of divine imperfections.

As the song says, "In heaven there is no beer."

However, in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be all sorts of plants and animals, including barley, wheat, hops, and yeast. So one can hope that the mash will lie down with the water, creating natural pools of beer.

...doesn't it follow that there is beer in heaven?

I think the solution to that riddle lies in the question: Is Milwalkee's Best a perfect beer? --shudder--

Of course, if there is a place in heaven exclusively for Chicagoans...? --shrug--

One key to the meaning of the post lies in the fact that the title of the post is itself an example of "speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says."

And Silly grasped the punch line, um, perfectly.

Sorry, Z, I still stand by my original understanding: there will be beer after the final resurrection; there is not beer currently, since only a handful of folk would be able to enjoy it. (Elijah, Enoch, our Lord and our Lady, by my counting). Because, sed contra to Tom, I don't believe that the perfection of the pint lies in the aesthetic appreciation. (Now, the perfection of a glass of scotch might lie in the aesthetic appreciation; maybe Tom's drink of choice colors his understanding of the state of the separated souls).

I do wish I were better at Thomistic parody though.

SERIOUSLY

As for infinite ascent, I like Alex Pruss's post about the fear of ennui of eternity (http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2007/11/scholarly-life-two-views.html ).

Here's another issue related to beatific vision:

Could anyone, please, write something about why there (as it seems) is no sexual activity in heaven? Some people, both Christians and non-Christians, esteem sex--for sensual or spiritual reasons--very high, and they are sad because of this prospective "lack", although some of them know the famous adage by C. S. Lewis, that the blessed do not pine for sex--similarly as people making love do not pine for chocolate. I think what these people, including myself, are missing is, among other things, 1. a clear grasp of metaphysical and theological reasons for the absence of sex in heaven, and 2. more concrete, detailed, idea of how the Lewis's scenario is supposed to be fleshed out.

... Wither St. Brigid?

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven's family drinking it through all eternity.

Saint Brigid

Vlastimil, I would guess that the reason there is no sex in heaven is because history among the redeemed has come to an end. Hence there can be no more children being born among them, for the continuation of getting married, having children, raising them, their making choices, etc., would imply a continuation of human history with human choice, sin, redemption, and damnation, which is not the proper state of final perfection of the redeemed in heaven.

Thanks, Zippy and Silly, for the explanation. My ignorance of beer was showing, there. :-)

Thanks, Shin, for fleshing it out.

Lydia, what you say seems to be the reason, obviously. I just wanted to test my view. One could ask: why couldn't there be sex in heaven without the possibility of procreation? Still, the answer says, such sex would be a sort of humbug.

(Rem: I am aware of the fact that Jesus says that people in heaven are like angels, not marrying, etc. I'm looking for an explanation of this teaching.)

I've also thought about the opinion that "after" the end of the world there is no time as possibly relevant for my question. (I've read people interpreting some verses in the book of Revelation in this, timeless, way.) So, do you think that there is TIME ...

1. in heaven "when" the earthly order exists, i.e., "before" the end of the world?
2. in heaven "when" the earthly exists no more, i.e., "after" the end of the world?

Of course, these questions are strange. As Alex Pruss wrote in the post I mentioned above, "it does seem plausible that growth, progress and change are important aspects of human nature (that's one reason I don't like the account of heavenly life as timeless--another reason is the apparent nonsensicality of saying "after this temporal life, there will be a timeless existence"..."
(Maybe some commentators on the concept of infinite beatific ascent would not agree with the first view which was classified by Alex as plausible.)

Vlastimil and Lydia, Peter Kreeft answers the question "Is there sex in Heaven?" http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/sex-in-heaven.htm

If I said he said yes, would I be ironic?

because history among the redeemed has come to an end

A perfect hell.

One might hope for a celestial version of the 'Eagle and Child,' where one could have a pint or two of good bitter with Lewis, Tolkien, et al.

"If but we Christians have our beer, Nothing's to fear." ---William Ashbless

Question: Whether irony[*] has a place in the Kingdom of God?

[*] For the purposes of this post, we define irony as speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says, often for the purpose of derision, mockery, or jest.

“Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. "What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!”

A genetic disease prevents me from enjoying beer and scotch (at risk of my innards) and commenting as to whether they'll appear in heaven, but I thank God I wasn't cursed with that gravity so common among fools and intellectuals that prevents them from enjoying irony.


Lydia writes: "Vlastimil, I would guess that the reason there is no sex in heaven is because history among the redeemed has come to an end. Hence there can be no more children being born among them, for the continuation of getting married, having children, raising them, their making choices, etc., would imply a continuation of human history with human choice, sin, redemption, and damnation, which is not the proper state of final perfection of the redeemed in heaven."


Bearing children was a result of the Fall as shown in Genesis 3:16.

Gn 3:16:
16 To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

Well, no, that doesn't follow from the passage in Genesis, but rather than bearing children in sorrow was a result of the fall. God specifically says that he will multiply her sorrows, not that childbearing per se is a result of the fall. In fact, God tells Adam and Even to be fruitful and multiply before the fall. It seems that there would have been no point in God's making man male and female initially, in a prelapsarian world, if procreation were intrinsically a postlapsarian event.

But there's a difference between the beginning and the end of time, between the initial earthly Paradise and the final state of all the redeemed. Even though it apparently would have been metaphysically possible for children to be born in an unfallen initial creation had Adam and Eve not sinned, there are much greater problems with a sort of Mormon heaven in which human history and childbirth go on infinitely in the redeemed state. And of course once the fall had taken place, all children conceived do in fact have a sin nature, which is one big part of the problem with childbirth in heaven.

Yes, I'm sure every parent feels that righteous punishment of God when watching their kid take his first steps. Every pang of joy felt at hearing the first words, watching their first little-league game, even the pride felt watching them graduate from college or walking down the aisle -- all these are sorrows so far beyond our comprehension that our weak minds turn them to happiness; much like a man struck by fever feels cold though his temperature climbs to 104F. Children are indeed a curse brought on our own heads by the fall of Adam. That apple was merely a sexual metaphor, was it not? And so Christ came bearing condoms and pills that we might "reverse the curse" and he died on the cross that government-funded abortions might be available to all.

Steve:

If you were actually aware of Antiochian Orthodox theology; you and Lydia would be aware of what I was alluding to (i.e., The Curse).

But what would Antiochian Orthodox people know? Doesn't matter that they're some of the oldest Christians around as a result of St. Paul (which even Fr. Mitch Pacwa acknowledges).

No doubt by your answer you are indeed such a devout Christian!

Let the following be made known to all:

1) "Devout" predicates knowledge and familiarity with the theologies of all "Christian" sects, including, but not limited to, Catholic, Calvinist, Antiochian Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Abyssinian Methodist, LDS, Egyptian Heterodox, and or Pre-Communist Cuban Catholic. Any who wish to use the word "devout" in order to describe another person, must first establish their familiarity with all of the aforesaid doctrines (and nonspecified others) and submit, in writing, to Aristocles for approval.

2) Age determines the strength of an argument. Which explains why Dan Brown's so-called heresy in The DaVinci Code appealed to so many people. After all, the idea that Christ had children did not originate with Dan Brown, but was conceived by people seeking to discredit Christ within the very century of his life. Therefore, it is wrong to question the accuracy of the claims to Christ's fatherhood since that notion has been around for so darn long.

I once committed these errors; I have since repented. May this serve as a warning to all who would fall into the same sin!

Steve:

My response was more focussed at the uncharitable manner of your comments.

I believe regardless of what stripe, charity remains a consistent important aspect of one's Christianity.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)

My response, on the other hand, was more focused on the absurdity of your arguments. I would appreciate it if you responded in kind rather than dodging the point by insulting me (and even Lydia, it seems, the first time). That's twice now that you have intimated that I am a poor Christian, and all I have done is to point out ironically that your opinions suffer fallacious reasoning.

But I am honestly (and without irony) sorry if I have offended you.

However, I recommend examining other interpretations regarding children; Psalm 127 states explicitly that sons (at least) are a blessing from God, and throughout the Old Testament (and the New, think of John the Baptist's parents) barren women are considered cursed, rather than blessed. I think it's fairly obvious that the Antiochian Christians are as wrong on that issue as they are ancient.

Steve:

I have nothing but respect for Lydia. In fact, I found her response to me the very one I was looking for.

As for your response, how ironic that you found my response insulting when it was your original post to mine that was clearly the insulting one.

However, should you actually find my dodging your insulting post an insult; consider this justice.

I do really think that all Christians believe in the fall of man. I, in fact, believe in it literally. In other words, I believe there was a literal man and woman who were the first man and woman and who sinned and fell. AFAIK, this should be consistent with Antiochan Orthodoxy as well, though my Orthodox dissertation director years ago also taught me that according to Orthodoxy the passions are a disease, and I'm not quite sure how that part works in there. :-) I certainly believe in the curse. I just believe that it was a curse that caused sorrow and pain in childbearing, not childbearing itself. That's all, really. I think we're all actually agreed on that, are we not?

Round about Chicago there is WDRV 97.1 playing "timeless rock." That must be as close to heavenly music there is, if heaven be timeless. But you and I know, timeless music is a perfect oxymoron. Does heaven have time for oxymora?

Does heaven have time for oxymora?
Only perfected ones, I would suppose.

Aristocles,

I don't understand why I need to tell you what was said, since a record exists of it above, but allow me to point out a second time that I attacked your statements and you responded by attacking me. You have yet to respond "in kind" by treating this as a discussion about the fall of man and instead continue to harp on your slighted feelings.

I'm sorry I offended you; I wasn't attacking you; get thicker skin. If you're going to state something, be prepared to defend it with more than ad hominem. And not that she seems to care (as is her right), but please note that you drug Lydia into your initial supercilious response to me.

My original post did not insult you -- you felt insulted, there's a wonderful difference. Get over it. I've managed to recover from your real insults (if you remember, you called me first an ignorant Christian and then questioned my Christianity at all); I certainly hope you can heal from your perceived wounds.

Lydia,

As usual, you prove to be an insightful as well as charitable Christian Lady!

Agreed!

I think though that their notion is much more nuanced and akin to the manner you have spoken concerning "passions are a disease"; as far as "bearing children is a result of the Fall", I am more inclined to think that theirs concerns more so not so much procreation itself (for as you rightly mentioned previously, this was something God intended for them even before the Fall) but more concerning the multiplication of sorrows with the bearing of children as a result of the Fall inherent in the verse "I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children".

However, that's an entirely different discussion altogether beyond that of "In Heaven there is no beer"! ;^)

In case anyone is still reading, a positive (though possibly speculative) case can be made that male-female relationships similar to marital bonds can continue between the redeemed into the next life. This may then also imply a romantic, physical or even sexual aspect in such a relationship.

Below are some websites that make this positive case (across Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant strands of Christianity). Each website does deal with the marriage pericope of Mt 22 to a lesser or greater degree -
1. http://rezfamilies.googlepages.com
2. http://www.ewtn.org/library/Marriage/zmarrheavn.htm
3. http://members.aol.com/johnodhner/Marriageinheaven.html
4. http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&id=YSSCUO1tonkC&dq=meyendorff+marriage%20&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=5NSzvkqo5M&sig%20=hBJchN5_JtqohBFEy0xFHYABFJI#PPA15,M1
Whether you find these arguments convincing is ultimately up to you.

PS. please note according to historic Christian doctrine, the next life involves the resurrection, which is physical in nature, and is not to be identified with "heaven" (where the redeemed go after death to await future physical resurrection of their bodies) - please see this link for more explanation -
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html

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