Friday, October 23, 2015

Where is heaven?

Chapter 6 of Scot McKnight's book 'The Heaven Promise' is entitled: "Heaven: In Heaven or on Earth?"

One of my son's favorite movies when he was younger was Kevin Costner's "Field of Dreams." One of the classic lines is, "Is this heaven?" "No, it's Iowa." I would guess people have been wondering about the location of heaven since the beginning of time. Scot attempts to tackle that in this chapter.

On p. 44 he writes, "Let's start with a safe and wise observation. Heaven is the place where God dwells. Since God is over and above all, any suggestion that God is up above or out there is just a way of speaking of God's glorious rule over all. If God is everywhere, then maybe heaven is everywhere God is - which is pretty close to saying everywhere." :)

He then gets a little more specific and purposeful. On p. 45:
"The Bible speaks of heaven as a temporary place. N.T. Wright has written that 'heaven is not a place in our space-time continuum, but a different sphere of reality that overlaps and interlocks with our sphere... One day the curtain will be pulled back.' Randy Alcorn, whose life specialty is studying heaven, has written about two heavens: an 'intermediate [present] Heaven' and the 'new heavens and the New Earth.' Wright and Alcorn teach that the present heaven is a temporary condition and will give way to the fullness of heaven called the 'new heavens and the new earth.'

Here is the big point: We need to learn to talk about heaven in two phases or dimensions. They are the first heaven (now) and the final Heaven (the final kingdom of God)... The first heaven is real and present but undisclosed to mortal eyes, while the final Heaven is the full disclosure of the heavenly realm. And it will be on a renewed earth."

So, ultimately, it can be summed up: "The answer to the question 'Where is heaven?' is that heaven occupies two locations. One is the undisclosed reality of God's presence, a reality more real than our lives now. The other location is the future new Heavens and new earth."

Scot also tackles the idea of what happens to our body. I'm not sure I can even summarize. Not that it's confusing but... Yeah, it's a bit confusing for me to try to extrapolate. Suffice it to say, life is a journey. I liked this sentence on p. 49:  

"You may think of yourself as having a relentlessly humdrum life, but when you get to Heaven, you will see where your own beauty fits in God's marvelous canvas."

In the end, he leaves us with these four elements that shape everything about Heaven:
  1. Heaven is a promise.
  2. Everything about this promise depends on Jesus's resurrection.
  3. In Heaven we will have resurrected bodies.
  4. We will have embodied lives in the new Heavens and earth.