A New Name, Known Only to the One Who Receives It

“Your soul has a curious shape,” comments C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain. What does he mean? “It is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance,” he explains. And if that explanation leaves you scratching your head, he tries another analogy: “Or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.”

Lewis is pointing to the uniqueness of God’s creation of each one of us. I call it the principle of individuality. It shouldn’t be confused with selfish individualism, which looks to the created rather than the Creator. Each soul created is that soul, and that soul only.

For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you—you, the individual reader. . . . Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s.

All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good way, to utter satisfaction. . . . Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it.

As I pondered Lewis’s words, I was reminded of a promise in the book of Revelation—the part where Christ is speaking to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The apostle John records that when He comes to the church at Pergamum, Christ praises those in the church for holding fast to His name and not denying the faith. Then the Lord says,

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone inscribed with a new name, known only to the one who receives it.

Revelation 2:17

I recall the first time I came across that verse. I was struck by the personal nature of that promise. I still am. God has a special, unique name He will bestow on each of His faithful servants. “What might that name be for me?” I wondered. I still wonder.

But beyond the actual name itself is what it represents: a personal connection to the infinite God, something special that He and I—and we only—will know. Although He is the great Creator of the entire universe, He stoops so low as to care for me. And that is true for everyone who remains faithful to Him. Heaven is heaven because He is there.