With fitting humility Paul reminds us that we see the things to come ‘through a glass darkly’( I Corinthians 13.12). We can speak confidently though in images, because we have seen the Kingdom come ahead of the time in Jesus.
He is the new Adam, in whom all humankind will stand before him. At the same time the New Testament has a great deal to say about humans who welcome the new reality and those who resist it. The Gospel is clear that in this sense our responding ‘yes’ and ‘no’ has eternal consequence. This is a great mystery, connected as it is with the dignity with which we were made, and the high goal of offering a loving response of love. Yet even at our most recalcitrant, we remain creatures, and as such linked to the Creator. Heaven is an eternity turned toward Christ’ loving gaze, hell being turned in isolation away. Insofar as we want to be alone and ‘free’ of Him, we lock ourselves in our prison even here.