From an interview with the screenwriters of Constantine, the latest Keanu Reeves film:

Interviewer: So is that why you didn’t show Heaven more?

FRANK: The true reason for that is, no one knows how to depict it in a cool way. It seems like an audience will love to see Hell — they want to see demonic images. But if you show them angelic, and you show them light and white, they go, ‘Oh, gosh.’

Does Revelation manage to make heaven interesting? My hunch is that for most of us, the answer is “no.” We have far too little exposure to precious stones and metals to allow the imagery to take effect. Does Dante’s conception? Probably not, which is why everyone stops at the end of Inferno. Why did Lewis write Screwtape Letters and not an angelic equivalent? I don’t have them in front of me, but if I remember right, it’s because of this problem. Why is good so much harder to know than evil, and why does it seem so much more interesting?

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. I have to say I don’t even know what heaven is. Dante seems to equate it with “the heavens” or, if heaven is “where God lives now,” then it’s outside the cosmos I guess.

    But if “heaven” means where we will all live for eternity, then the New Earth is best desribed by the Great Divorce/The Last Battle I guess. The closest thing in movies to an earthly paradise like that might be in What Dreams May Come, but I never saw it.

    But the Bible says there will be a New Heaven along with the New Earth, which seems to indidcate that THE Heaven right now is simply outer space/the cosmos.


  2. I am greateful that I cannot truly conceive of what heaven will be like. Firstly, if I could conceive it then the omnipotence of God would be diminished and, secondly, something beyond what our finite minds can imagine will be all the more stunning.


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