Dear Dr. Stratton,
I have a short but not so simple question:
What type or form of government is the Kingdom of Heaven?
What a great question! If Heaven is “the way things ought to be,” then humans ought to attempt to emulate this political standard knowing full well we cannot create a literal “Heaven on earth.” Just as we cannot each live just like Jesus, we are called to “be Holy” and strive to approximate to His perfect standard, all while enjoying the perfect love and grace God gives us when we inevitably fall short.
So, what is the government of Heaven like?
After years of contemplating this question, I would answer it like this: The government of Heaven is something completely unique. Imagine a King presiding over anarchy of completely free and perfectly good moral creatures! That is Heaven!
By “anarchy” I mean that God is not causally determining anyone from the same rebellion that Satan chose. It is just that the citizens of Heaven have learned from “light momentary afflictions” and eternally freely choose to love God. The “Law of Christ” is all about freedom. Indeed, Paul contends that we are called to live in freedom (Galatians 5:13). Why is this the case? Because libertarian freedom provides the opportunity to experience maximal love!
What’s more, you are best friends with the King and “married” to the King! He LOVES you and you love Him in return. Indeed, it is the best kind of love — a maximal kind of love. I guess it is fair to say that you (and the “Bride of Christ”) are the “Queen of Heaven.”
The completely free — in a libertarian sense — and perfectly good moral creatures of Heaven are protected from those who reject God’s love and grace, and who do not love the citizens of Heaven. These are the inhabitants of Hell. Inhabitants of Hell might desire the “riches” of Heaven. They might want “God’s stuff” (like a big, big yard where we can play football), but they do not love God or His people. So, they are not allowed into Heaven. So, the citizens of Heaven are protected by an impassible metaphysical border (as it were). Indeed, ALL humans are sincerely invited into the kingdom of God because they are loved by their Creator who desires an eternal love relationship with each and every person. Sadly, however, many people reject the “Law of Christ,” figuratively spit in the face of God, flip Him off, and say “no thanks, I want to do life ‘my way’ (as Frank Sinatra would say) for eternity.”
So, although all are invited, before entering the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven, one must love the King and His bride (all the citizens), and also affirm Heaven’s Constitution (technically referred to as “the Law of Christ”). As long as you have true love for God and all persons, then you are free — in a libertarian sense — to do whatever you want!
This ultimate “Land of the Free” is awesome and it is available to everyone. Merely “wanting in” to the land of plenty, however, is not enough. Everybody loves God’s stuff, but not everybody loves God, His bride, or the Law of Christ (the Constitution of Heaven). Hell is reserved for those who do not love God, His bride, or the Constitution. God is all about equality but opposes equity! Everyone possesses equal opportunity to accept God’s grace and love, but those who make evil choices, are committed to an evil lifestyle, and reject the love of God possess unequal and lesser outcomes.
Make no mistake: the King did indeed cross that border wall and invites every single person created in His image to love Him in return, His bride, and the Law of Christ. Those who accept the King’s invitation are citizens of the Kingdom of God (and His bride)! Those who reject the King’s offer are allowed to have things their own way — eternally quarantined from those of us who affirm the constitution of Heaven.
To reiterate: No person will be allowed to enter the gates of Heaven who hates Jesus (or hates any other citizen of Heaven). The atoning life, death, and resurrection of Jesus made it possible for anyone to enter — as long as they affirm the “Constitution of Heaven.” This is technically known as “The Law of Christ.”
There is no one in heaven who rejects this law. That’s what hell is for. There is no one in Heaven who hates Jesus and there is no one in Hell who loves Him.
Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),
Dr. Tim Stratton
 I personally affirm an eternal view of Hell. I would not call it “eternal conscious torment” (via flames and pitchforks), but eternal conscious existence apart from God and all that is objectively good. However, I am quite open to the view of Hell known as annihilationism (advanced by my colleague, Chris Date) and I am even slightly open to a modified view of universalism seen through the lens of Molinism. After considering all the data, I do not think these views are as probable as CS Lewis’s “Great Divorce” view of Hell (especially universalism), but I do concede that they are logically possible and consistent with possibly correct interpretations of scripture. For more, see True Love and the Logic of Hell).