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Heaven: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything the Bible Says About Our Eternal Home (Clear Answers to 44 Real Questions About the Afterlife, Angels, Resurrection, and the Kingdom of God) (Alcorn, Randy)

door Randy Alcorn

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  WBCLIB | Feb 19, 2023 |
What will Heaven be like? Is it a floating cloud-like existence, a never-ending church service, or something else? Randy Alcorn takes a fair stab at the first question and deals with the unscriptural but popular ideas of what the final state of God's people will be.

I listened to this on Audible. I found it overall a decent book, and I'd agree with the *general* ideas presented here, not necessarily all the details. Heaven is written without assuming much familiarity with the Bible. Randy has to keep harping on some basic things, which I found somewhat repetitive.

I guess his main point would be this: Heaven is a physical place, people there will have physical bodies, and they will interact in ways that'd be familiar to us now. It's not a spirit-only existence, what he calls Christo-Platonism. It will be a place that makes full use of our capacities. Way back at the beginning, the garden of Eden was a physical place where Adam and Eve moved, worked, could eat, etc. In salvation, God isn't saving his people out of the world, he's saving the ground beneath them too.

This I heartily agree with. Christ was resurrected with a real body, one that the disciples could recognise. He still has that body in the intermediate Heaven, and he will have it in the new Heavens and Earth. It'll be the same with us -- when he appears we will be like him -- and also with the physical world. This world will be remade, with every trace of sin burned away.

Having established that the new Heavens and Earth will be a physical place and we will physically inhabit it, Randy then musters relevant passages, logic, and his imagination to try and make Heaven concrete in our minds. Unfortunately, it's in these details that I'm not 100% onboard with him.

The first and most potent difference of opinion is how he interprets apocalyptic prophecy (eg Revelation). I come from a Reformed, amillennial perspective in general, and a (mostly) idealist view of Revelation. I'm not sure where he's coming from, but he takes Revelation along with parts of Isaiah and other places more literally than I think they should be.

For example, in Revelation it speaks of trumpets and harps in the intermediate Heaven. Randy takes this as an indication (not proof, mind you) that there might be physical instruments in the intermediate Heaven. Is it possible that instruments exist there right now? Yes, they could; the Bible is quite silent on these matters. But I regardless don't think those passages in Revelation can support an argument.

That's a long way of saying I disagree with him on some hermeneutics, and that comes out in some of his arguments for why Heaven might be like he imagines it to be.

Another complaint: occasionally he uses an "if *x* would make us happy, wouldn't God give it to us?" argument. While reasoning through animals and especially pets from Earth in Heaven, he asks, "If having our pets resurrected would make us happy, wouldn't God do it?". While I won't deny the possibility (even if I'm inclined to think otherwise), I don't find that argument convincing at all -- even somewhat dangerous.

Again, with both of these, Randy doesn't claim to be infallible, and is, in a sense, feeling out the possibilities. I just think some of his train of thought is on shaky ground.

Having said all that, I did enjoy the book. In a world where physical things are before our eyes and eternal things are currently invisible, where stuff and entertainment and worries and stresses are always vying for our attention, it's always good to take a step back and think about where we're going. This is eternity we're talking about, forever. Just where are we going to be spending it? What is the reward we should be looking forward to that Jesus himself did (Hebrews 12:1-2)?

Thinking about such things are part of God's tools to keep us motivated in trials, striving for holiness, and watching and waiting for the coming of our Lord.

This book did some of that for me. Even though I was already aware of most of the "theological" parts of it, Randy drew out some implications I hadn't thought about before, making the new Heavens and Earth a much more real and solid place in my head -- a much more desirable place. A place and a company of people I'm very much looking forward to. ( )
  lachlanp | Dec 14, 2020 |
Case 10 shelf 5
  semoffat | Aug 29, 2021 |
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To Kevin Butler, Jessi Hickman, Gary Stump
Cami Norquist, Jerry Hardin, Greg Coffey,
Lucille Alcorn, Leona Bryant, David Reeves,
Daniel Traugott, Lynley Herbert, Stephenie Saint,
Rachel Terveen, Eli Hubbard, Jonathan Coburn,
Emily Kimball, Al Baylis, III, John Swartzendruber,
Bob Whitson, Owen Raynor, Joyce Kelley, Zach Evans,
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Matthew Pearson, Jonathan Murphy, Brad and Steffanie Jones,
Eric Kuemmel, Cheyenne Fiveash, Elizabeth Wall,
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[Preface] Bookstores overflow with accounts of near-death and after-death experiences, complete with angels giving guided tours of Heaven.
[Introduction] The sense that we will live forever somewhere has shaped every civilization in human history.
Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher, often spoke of Heaven.
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