A whole new world

Some degree of color blindness affects around 8% of men and less than 1% of women. The degree of disability ranges from mild inability to differentiate between certain colors to achromatopsia or total color blindness. This means that there are some people among us that cannot enjoy the full spectrum of beautiful colors that God has splashed into His creation.

Recently, however, many of these people have been able to see colors for the first time in their lives with the aid of a new type of glasses produced by a company called EnChroma. These glasses work by selectively filtering out wavelengths of light at the precise point where confusion or excessive overlap of color sensitivity occurs, allowing the wearer to see colors more accurately or even for the first time. While for some users the difference is not so stark, many users report life-changing improvements in their color vision.

I recently came across a series of videos of color-blind people being presented with a pair of these amazing glasses. In most cases the glasses were given as a gift by relatives or friends, and in settings surrounded by other loved ones and vividly colored items like balloons and flowers. Many of them were overcome with emotion and burst into tears at seeing some colors for the very first time. Some excitedly pointed at various objects, asking in wonderment things like, “Is that purple?” “Is that orange?” Others were so overwhelmed that they simply sat down.

Observing these reactions reminded me of the verse, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”1

We live in an amazingly beautiful world, and our spirits inhabit equally amazing bodies by which we can enjoy many wonderful experiences. But these experiences are not completely perfect. Unfortunately, right now, like the color-blind person, we are limited in our ability to fully enjoy God’s creation and the beauty of nature.

Take a walk in a beautiful forest and you might have to contend with the bugs or foul weather. Do you love snow? Careful you don’t get frostbite. Love food? Don’t overeat or eat something that doesn’t agree with you or get food poisoning. Neither are our bodies perfect. We get tired, we get sick, and some even suffer debilitating chronic conditions. There is so much that is good and beautiful to enjoy in this life, but along with it, there always seems to be some sort of obstacle to that enjoyment as well.

But that will change the day we enter heaven! The impediments to our ability to enjoy beauty and nature will be completely removed.2 On that day we, like the wearers of the EnChroma glasses, will be overwhelmed by the beauty we behold.

Those who have had near-death experiences report that they visited a place of indescribable beauty. A land that is very similar to our world as it is, but so much more beautiful. They say that the flowers and trees are so much more vivid in color. Some claim to have seen colors and heard sounds not known to us now. Some described the music and sound as so much more beautiful and harmonic than anything they’ve ever heard.

C. S. Lewis in his famous book Mere Christianitysaid that the pleasures we enjoy on this earth are mere copies, echoes, or mirages of their true realities in heaven:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.3

Every believer will one day be catapulted from this life, where we “see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror,”4 to the heavenly realm, where we will see God face to face and finally be able to see and experience His creation in all its magnificent color and glory. Like the first-time wearers of the EnChroma glasses, I have no doubt we will be overcome with the euphoric exhilaration of the moment.

  1. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT
  2. See Revelation 22:3.
  3. C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 1980), 136–37
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT