Yet what is salvation about? We go to heaven. What do we do there? We contemplate the mystery of God. So it seems strange to be interested in going to heaven and not be interested in contemplating the mystery of God today. The same is true of morality. Why do we want to be good? Partly so we can go to heaven and partly so we can be close to God while on earth. Yet if we want to be close to God so badly why would God's revelation of Himself be unexciting?
There is a tendency in Christianity to keep things simple. A lot of that is to avoid disagreement. The more complex your theology the less agreement you will have. Protestants have no way to resolve disagreements so they avoid complexity as much as possible. That can tend to infect Catholic thinking to. Just focus on the ABC's of the gospel and you will be more convincing.
The truth is we are all made in God's image. That means contemplating the mystery of who God is has direct implications for who we are and who we should be. In fact the simple gospel makes more and more sense when you understand more about God. The Trinity is a good example of that. What do we see there?
God the Father loves God the Son and God the Son loves God the Father with perfect self-giving love. That love is by nature creative. It overflows from their relationship and creates blessing for others. The Holy Spirit is the overflow of this love. He proceeds from the Father and the Son.
The creation of the world also overflows from this love. In Gen 1:26, God said, "Let us make mankind in our image." So God as community decided to create mankind. That means community becomes critical to our understanding of what it means for us to image God.
Then in verse 27 They get more specific,
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.So the image bearing is specifically related to our maleness and femaleness. This is the subject of St John Paul's Theology of the Body. We image God when we marry and create families. Think about that. God is our father. What that means is we arose from the overflow of God's love the same way a child arises from the overflow of love between a man and a woman. So God's desire for intimacy with us and to live in community with us comes from the same place as our desire to be intimate with our children and live in community with them.
So you see what a difference this makes. Heaven is not a reward we are given for doing what God wants. It is a family reunion. It is a father welcoming His children back. This is why heaven does not get boring. Being in a place gets boring no matter how nice the place. Being in a community of love never gets boring. That is what God's family is all about.
Then you can see why marriage and sex and family are such important topics for Christians. It is because getting them wrong means getting God wrong. That means getting everything wrong.
It also explains why it is so important for Christians to be able to unite into one community. That is what we have to become. If we have too much pride and disobedience to unify around one father on earth then what we are rejecting is precisely heaven itself. Do we want to put aside out petty squabbles and unite around God? Really? Does our behaviour on earth show that?
Pope Francis gets this. From today's angelus:
Our being created in the image and likeness of God-communion calls us to understand ourselves as beings-in-relation, and to live interpersonal relationships in solidarity and reciprocal love," the Pope told the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.
In this mission, we are sustained by the strength which the Holy Spirit gives us: this cures the flesh of humanity wounded by injustice, oppression, hate, and greed.