In the book Return From Tomorrow, George Ritchie tells of his Near Death Experience and his view of heaven. In describing one part of the next life he compares it to a university campus. He says, “Enormous buildings stood in a beautiful sunny park and there was a relationship between the various structures, a pattern in which they were arranged, that reminded me somewhat of a well-planned university. Except to compare what I was seeing with anything on earth was ridiculous. It was more as if all the schools and colleges in the world were only piecemeal reproductions of this reality.”
I have always liked that view of heaven, because whenever I am on a university campus, I feel a little closer to God. It feeds my soul and lifts my vision. I love the musty smells and the sight of people scurrying around with backpacks. I love being surrounded by buildings full of classrooms. I love the way college campuses combine art, architecture and wide-open spaces with little gardens and fountains. I love bookstores and libraries and laptop computers. I love sitting and discussing the “mysteries of the universe.” I love questions more than I love answers. I hope when I get to heaven I find, like Mr. Ritchie, that it is paved not with gold but with brick and mortar.