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Several authors1 have suggested that the pleasures we can experience in our lives are but a small foretaste of the pleasure we could experience in Heaven.

"It is a sudden and miraculous grace that is in fact evangelism, giving a fleeting of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief . . ." (JRR Tolkien)

"Furthermore, when you understand that earthly pleasures are meant only as a foretaste of the indescribable pleasures that await us, your compulsion to overindulge is tempered by the realisation that no particular pleasure can ultimately satisfy." (Ted Dekker)

I prefer the seemingly widespread notion that the happiness of Heaven is immeasurably greater than even the greatest happiness here. But WHERE is there anything suggestive of this in the Bible itself?

1 Writer Randy Alcorn suggests we CAN imagine Heaven. In fairness to his viewpoint the 'Eye hath not seen nor ears heard..." quote from Corintheans (if fully read through) does NOT mean we cannot contemplate the afterlife.

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here's another thing that make some of your questions not as good as they could be: you start by saying that Randy Alcorn says we can imagine heaven, but it really has nothing to do with the question. It is unnecessary and distracting from the real question, which is what does the Bible say about great joy in heaven. –  curiousdannii Jan 15 at 23:09
    
@Caleb: how can there be answers here chronologically before the question? I thought there were no other answers when I answered... –  Wikis Jan 23 at 13:58
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@Wikis The OP posted two almost identical questions a couple monts apart. You answered the later one. I just closed that as a duplicate and merged all the answers into the first one. I also edited the question with some of the copy differences in the later one. Sorry for the confusion, I was trying to cleanup the duplicate situation without leaving some answers stranded or a closed copy. –  Caleb Jan 23 at 14:03
    
@Caleb: no need to apologise, thanks for clearing it up x2 (the question and my confusion!). –  Wikis Jan 23 at 14:06
    
@Caleb, great edits! –  curiousdannii Feb 3 at 10:39
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6 Answers

There are many ways of coming at your question. In somewhat random order, I suggest the following as answers:

  • Why do you think another word for heaven is paradise? Is it because its joys are fewer and less intense than the joys on earth? There's an ironic phrase that goes "trouble in paradise," which is ironic simply because there is no trouble in paradise! See Paul's description of what he heard in the "third heaven," which he also called paradise (2 Cor 12:1 ff.).
  • How could heaven not be better than the best that life has to offer here on earth, since in heaven there will none of the following: tears, death, mourning, crying, pain (Rev 21:4); the old things (Rev 21:5); thirst (Rev 21:6); ugliness (look at Revelation 21 and its description of the holy city, New Jerusalem); dogs, sorcerers, immoral persons, murderers, idolaters, liars (Rev 22:15); darkness (Rev 21:23); Satan and his demons (Rev 20:10)

  • How about the positive things heaven has to offer: the presence of Jesus (1 Thes 4:17); perfect, complete, face-to-face knowledge, and not the knowledge of imperfect reflections as in a mirror (1 Cor 13:10-13); eternal life (John 3:16); all of God's saints from time immemorial to saints whom we knew on earth as family members, friends, acquaintances, mentors (1 Thes 4:13-18, and Revelation, passim); the worship of God without the distractions of sin, time limitations, unanswered questions, trials and tribulations, and a host of factors that cause our fellowship with other believers to be less than joyful here on earth, such as: divisions according to sex, denomination, skin color, national origin, language, culture, customs, appearance in general, in-groups and out-groups, cliques, theological differences, age, and so much more.

I could go on for quite a bit, but I think you get the idea. I haven't even dipped into the hints of eternal bliss that are found in the Old Testament, and I'm sure there are many. Maybe I'll revise my answer another time!

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Also consider that we will be known as we have been known and it will be revealed to us what we shall be. All creation is in anticipation of this and it will be marvelous.

Rom_8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1Jn_3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

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I think you're looking for Romans 8:22-23:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Implication: creation is preparing for something new which we, who have the Spirit, are already starting to experience, the first fruits1.

This interpretation of this passage is perhaps more clear in the Amplified and Living versions.

1 Possibly those fruits are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control".

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Perhaps one of the best verses pointing to a greater joy after this life is found in 1 Peter 1:4, "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you."

This goes along with what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."

These verses teach us that what we enjoy now is passing, fades away; but what comes after will never fade. Today's pleasures are also defiled by our baser desires, corrupting them with selfishness, and so on. Of course, some of us are afraid that our dearest treasures will be robbed or lost or misplaced, but in that heavenly place will be no robbery or rust.

Of course, Ecclesiastes tells us of the emptiness ("vanity") of earthly joys. This contrasts with the "everlasting joy on their heads" proclaimed in the OT (Isaiah 51:11) when the Messiah comes.

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I Cor 2:9 [CEB] reads:

... God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven't crossed the mind of any human being.

The wondrous nature of the promise is rather better than the grammar in this translation. I'm not sure why the OP asks the question, after citing this verse.

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I thought of this verse but rejected it because it doesn't answer the "foretastes" part of the question. –  Wikis Jan 23 at 15:27
    
Welcome to the site! This doesn't really have much to do with your answer, but I find that sharing the following tends to help new visitors avoid mistaking the purpose of this site. I do hope to see more from you! When you get a chance, please see How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Jan 23 at 16:07
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There is absolutely no difference between heaven and earth. There is not even the most subtle difference, between heaven and earth. This is the person of Jesus Christ.

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