Heaven and the New Earth

Book: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

For the upcoming fall discipleship class, we have several books we’ll be reading (as usual) and the one we’ve been tasked to start reading before class is Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I read the first seven chapters so quickly and it was a joy. I am encouraged and am having a much easier time obeying the command found in Colossians chapter 3: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2).

What follows are some notes from my reading so far.

I appreciate that the author urges the reader in the preface to test everything he writes by Scripture. Moving on to the introduction, he states the claim that he will further develop in the coming chapters, that our eternal home is a physical place not some “ethereal realm of disembodied spirits” (pg xviii of Introduction). The author prepares us to begin thinking about how we will live on a New Earth with physical, resurrection bodies, not floating on clouds in a place without physical definition.

In chapter one titled “Are You Looking Forward to Heaven?”, the author brings out examples of unbiblical views of Heaven causing folks to mock it, not long for it, and with some even dreading it, believing it to be a state of spiritual tedium. If we are headed to a destination, especially a place where we will spend a long time, we generally want to know something about the place. How much more that should apply to the Christian’s eternal home! The author makes a great point: “How can we set our hearts on Heaven when we have an impoverished theology of Heaven?” (pg 10)

In chapter two, the author urges praying from Psalm 119:18 (“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law”) in order to “ask God’s help to remove the blinders of our preconceived ideas about Heaven so we can understand Scripture” (pg 17).

At this point in the book, he seems to be laying the groundwork to get us thinking about a New Earth, where we will enjoy many of the things we do now, like eating and working, but all without sin, rather than imagining us as disembodied spirits floating around among clouds for all eternity.

…to be continued…