If Those with the Lord Are Aware of Some Things on Earth, What Determines What They Can See?

Question from a reader:

You make the case that those now in Heaven may be able to see what’s presently happening on earth, at least to some extent. Since those with the Lord are not omnipresent, what do you think determines what they see? Do they just observe things that God points out to them? Or things of specific interest to them? Do they have ability to observe whatever they want, including really bad and evil things?

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

Yes, while likely they are able to mentally multi-task better than ever, saints in Heaven are still finite. However, even here in a fallen world we can often assimilate a great deal of information in a short space of time. I’m speculating here, but just as it appears from the way they frame their question that the martyrs are aware that their killers have not yet been judged by God (Revelation 6:9-11), likely we will be at least partially aware of what’s happening with some of the things and people associated with our earthly lives.

Those who live in Heaven rejoice over conversions on earth (Luke 15:7). It seems likely that someone who prayed for a boy in Iraq will celebrate when he comes to faith, and at the same moment, also viewing from Heaven, the grandmother of a girl who comes to Christ in Chicago rejoices.

There’s no way to know whether God permits them to choose what to observe or whether He chooses to let certain events unfold before them that would especially interest or benefit them. But because God is sovereign and loving we know He would only allow His children to see what they could handle, and would be beneficial to see. If they can view evil with God’s own eternal perspective, He might allow that; if not, He wouldn’t.

Certainly we should have no fear or dread that people in Heaven are watching us and fretting over or judging us for our failures. While God sees everything we do (Proverbs 5:21), there is no suggestion that people in Heaven see everything. In fact, since they’re finite, they couldn’t.

Here’s a video in which I respond to a related question, and here’s a blog on the question of whether we should talk to loved ones who are now in Heaven.

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries