"Heaven" is Overrated

2:41 PM James 8 Comments

Read this article at its new location: PhiloLogos.net

8 comments :

  1. Fantastic, James! Brilliantly stated. Thank you for the Scripture references as well. This will prove to be a great starting point in the journey of many Christians and non-Christians alike in discovering what the Bible teaches about man's existence and purpose.

    There are words I think would prove beneficial to delete from our vocabulary. Words such as "afterlife" and "heaven". Not because they are not "Scriptural", but because they have had so many opinions attached to them over the years. But this post encourages (albeit in an abstract way) that we not scrap them, but redeem them, as God will redeem His creation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Dan. You're right, I'd rather redeem those terms than delete them. Of course, doing so involves showing how their popular use inaccurately represents biblical teaching, and promotes confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a child, the thought of floating in the clouds for eternity inspired in me fear and trembling. I read Revelation when I was older, and raised some questions about the ethereal idea of heaven as a result, but I couldn't quite make sense of it all vs. what I'd been taught. Plus, I got sidetracked by all of the imagery of destruction and started painting. From time to time I've tinkered with the idea of a purified version of earth, similar to "Imagine" by John Lennon:

    "Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    ...
    Imagine no possesions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    In a brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world..."

    This article has connected those final dots for me.

    Keep writing!

    -Jocelyn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jocelyn, thanks for your comments! To be clear, I'm not arguing that there is no such thing as heaven in the ethereal sense. The Bible implies that there is. Heaven, properly understood, is the dimension where God is. And, according to the Bible, Christians that die before God renews the cosmos will reside in this immaterial dimension temporarily (to be "absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" - 2 Corinthians 5:8).

    But that's the point - the ethereal heaven is temporary. It is not our final home. It is where dead saints await the resurrection, when they will be given new bodies and reside in a renewed physical cosmos. THAT is something to look forward to!

    Lennon's "Imagine" has some good imagery, and it is certainly a beautiful and brilliant song, from an artistic perspective. I do have a hard time getting past the song's anti-religious sentiment though:

    Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky...

    ...Nothing to kill or die for
    and no religion too

    A world where no one holds any beliefs that are worth dying for doesn't sound very good to me. But I get your point about the song. Thankfully, all those Christians that suffered and died for their beliefs over the centuries won't just have to imagine such a future. It will be a reality.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the clarification!

    I didn't include the anti-religious part of the lyrics (and the no heaven or hell part) because I don't agree with it either. And a proverbial lightbuld came on when I read your thoughts on "Nothing to kill or die for." I should have realized that myself.

    Thanks again!
    -Jocelyn

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Jocelyn. I just want to clarify what I meant by those statements: a world in which there was nothing worth DYING for, doesn't sound good to me. However, a world in which no one killed each other sounds great! I'm not a fan, nor a proponent of killing. So, I'm a fellow dreamer, in that respect. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. You know James, heaven was a huge stumbling block for me in my childhood and my teen years. The false teaching of preachers and people in authority around me caused an almost fatal blow to my faith. I didn't really know why in the sense that it was not truth, but it bothered me as a kind of fantastical bunch of b.s. It didn't have the reality of God about it. It seemed like fantasy. C.S. Lewis' Narnia and its redemption seemed more akin to something that resonated deeply with me. Thank you for writing this piece I think it is important. Anytime we don't get something right then it isn't truth and when it isn't truth we are doing a great harm to our mission in this world. I have to rely on the power of God's truth to turn people's hearts. How can I do that if I'm not speaking truth?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shaun, thanks for your encouraging comments. I agree with you; God's truth is what changes people. It is therefore, of the utmost importance that Christians have a solid knowledge of God's truth themselves, so that they can properly articulate it to those around them.

    Great to hear from you!

    ReplyDelete