I once heard a pastor make a startling confession: “Whenever I think about heaven, it makes me depressed. I’d rather just cease to exist when I die.”
I tried not to show my shock as I asked him, “Why?”
“I can’t stand the thought of that endless tedium. To float around in the clouds with nothing to do but strum a harp — it’s all so terribly boring.”
Where did this Bible-believing, seminary-educated pastor get such a view of heaven? Certainly not from Scripture, where Paul said to depart and be with Christ was “far better” than staying on earth (Phil. 1:23). And yet, though my friend was more honest about it than most, I’ve found that many Christians share the same misconceptions about heaven.
More than 30 years ago, I began studying what Scripture tells us about eternity and have written about heaven and the importance of an eternal perspective ever since. The Bible tells us much more about heaven than is often assumed. In a day when speculation and subjectivism about heaven run rampant, I’ve found it both exciting and refreshing to carefully examine what Scripture says.
This Easter season, let’s examine the biblical answers to five common questions people often have about heaven:
1. Will we have bodies? Will we eat, drink, travel, and play? In other words, will we live truly human lives?
Many people imagine that we will remain disembodied spirits in the afterlife and that heaven won’t be a tangible, earthly place.
Given the consistent physical descriptions of the present heaven and those who dwell there, it seems possible — though this is certainly debatable — that between our earthly life and our bodily resurrection, God may grant us some physical form that will allow us to function as human beings while in that unnatural state “between bodies,” awaiting our resurrection. Just as the intermediate state is a bridge between life on the old earth and the new earth, perhaps intermediate bodies, or at least a physical form of some sort, serve as bridges between our present bodies and our resurrected bodies.
Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” This eternal heaven, the new earth, is our true home, the place where we will live forever with our Lord and one another.
In my book “Heaven,” I develop biblically why I believe that on the new earth there will be natural wonders, animals, trees, rivers, cities, houses, and architecture. We will laugh, eat and drink, tell stories, make crafts, build, garden, care for animals, play, enjoy sports and physically demanding activities, and tend and manage and rule the earth.
We will collaborate, research, invent, read books and write them, create and perform dramas, compose music and perform it, all to God’s glory. Why? Because we will still be physical beings created in God’s image, which means we are creative and intelligent. And, we will be restored to a new earth without sin and death — to fulfill God’s original plan of stewarding the material universe to His eternal glory.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Randy Alcorn/Mature Living