Potts of Rayne

Occasionally, one passes a delightfully sounding place. At Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, was a signpost for Potts of Rayne. So impressed were we, that we stopped the car, turned around and took a photograph. The place itself, according to both naked sight and later research on Google Maps, was disappointing. There was nothing there. Although that part of Scotland is pleasant enough, the wondrous and magical place conjured by so charming a name existed in our heads only.

The Islamic heaven, called Jannah, must have sounded wonderful to the early Arabs who first heard its descriptions. Surah 52 describes Jannah’s occupants as being provided with servant boys (v24) who pour wine (v23), while the drinkers are married to virgins with beautiful eyes (v20). It must have sounded good to those husky desert nomads, but was there anything there when they departed this life?

Or how about the Buddhist heaven? Although there are several ‘heavens’ in Buddhism, the real destination of choice is Nirvana, the enlightened state of non-existence. No more suffering, no more pain; one is just a droplet of water re-joining the ocean, the dissolving of the self into absentia. To those worn down with care and worry, and who believe themselves trapped into an endless of cycle of birth, suffering and death, Nirvana must appear a pretty attractive state. It must have sounded good to those troubled monks, but did they obtain that forgetful peace when they died?

Heaven without Christ is like Potts of Rayne: it sounds alright, but when you finally die, you soon discover there’s nothing there. The fine words were just that. The Bible might scrimp in its descriptions of heaven, but we know it will exceed our every expectation. Not only do we obtain it through Christ alone, but it will be so overwhelmingly awesome a place entirely because He Himself will be there:

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:17