God-centered eternal progression

Will we become “like” God in heaven and the resurrection? Will we progress? Will we be bored?

Let me contrast two views that I disagree with, and then describe the view (#3) that I take:

View #1

woman standing at escalator

The view of Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff. In this view all the gods always progress in all of their attributes. And by the time we get to know what God knows now, we will have since then learned more. This is like an escalator. We travel upward, and by the time we arrive where God is now, he will have moved forward. Bruce McConkie condemned this view as a deadly, damnable heresy.

View #2

brown and white mountain under blue sky during daytime

The view of Orson Pratt, which was later championed by Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce McConkie. These said that all the exalted gods are equal in knowledge and power, cease to progress in their attributes. This view is like joining all the gods on top of a plateau. Brigham condemned this view and insisted that God is still learning.

These gods only progress in their “eternal increase”, that is, in their children or dominions. Sort of like a cosmic MLM.

View #3

silhouette photo of man on cliff during sunset

God-centered eternal-progression. Christians have an infinite God that has always known everything. God isn’t progressing in knowledge or power. He has never learned. His people grow forever in the enjoyment and capacity to enjoy his kindness. They never “max out” in the knowledge of God, since God is infinite.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:7 that Christ has raised us, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.“ Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18 that believers would have “the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.”

So I will never get to the last page of the last book in the library of God’s knowledge and grace and say, “That’s it. That’s all there is to know.” His kindness and knowledge and power are “immeasurable” and “unsearchable” (Romans 11:33).

I like the way John Piper put it:

“In Christ the best is always yet to come. Always. No exceptions. Forever.”

Eternal progression of finite creatures who forever progress in the enjoyment of the kindness of an infinite God. All in the context of a new heaven, new earth, new physical resurrection body, new humanity, new community. With songs and culture and food and ethnic people groups and personality and relationships and land and property and dominion and responsibilities and work and governance.

“His plan is for us to develop, as apprentices to Jesus, to the point where we can take our place in the ongoing creativity of the universe.” (Randy Alcorn, “Heaven“)

And unimaginable things that we can’t even dream of.