Many texts describe Heaven's joy as 'infinite' (including a personal favourite, CS Lewis's Weight of Glory') but, as we are finite beings, we must assume this is merely to convey that there is 'a great deal of it' rather than literally INFINITE joy. Likewise many (including plenty on this site) describe that happiness as being 'unimaginably great'. Jonathan Edwards said all joy in this World was but a meager shadow compared to that experienced in Heaven.

What is exageration- how can we tell when something is intended to be taken literally as regards the amount of joy in heaven/the New Earth? As regards Christmas I could say I'm 'dying of excitement' about it, that it is going to be 'ineffibly brilliant'...


The rules on textual criticism described here generally apply to all forms of textual criticism. To plagiarize myself...

Dr. David L. Cooper, the founder of The Biblical Research Society put it simply. Dr. Cooper is known for his “Golden Rule of Interpretation” which is as follows:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense,seek no other sense;

Therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.

A shortened version, which I've heard far more often goes like this:

If the plain sense makes good sense seek no other sense lest it result in nonsense.

The same basic advice can be applied to the works you ask about.

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