|What heaven (and hell, for that matter)
will NOT be like.
An old worship song, “I’ll Fly Away,” says that one day, when this life is over, “I’ll fly away to a home on God’s celestial shore.” This is misleading, and a non-Jesus, definitely non-Hebraic idea. It’s more Greek than Jewish. It promotes the idea of “heaven” as some place far away and essentially other than earth.
Contrary to this Greek idea, the hope of everyone who is “in Christ” is that, on Christ’s coming again, we who are in Him shall be bodily resurrected to life on a reconstituted, restored earth.
I’ll probably begin this Sunday’s message by giving these bullets from New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg, which are echoed by many other NT scholars.
What eternity with God will be like.
1. God created the physical world, including human bodies, as good. (Greek dualism said that matter is essentially bad/evil.)
2. Humans were intended, by God, to live in bodily form in a physical, material world.
3. Eventually God is going to restore His creation. There will be a new heavens and a new earth, physically and materially. Thus God’s original creative purposes will not be thwarted.
4. The biblical hope is for believers to experience all of the wonders and glories of a fully re-created heavens and earth (Rev. 21–22). (Not a Greek ethereal place where people sit around on clouds playing harps.)
5. A full physical bodily resurrection of all who are in Christ is needed so Jesus-followers will live eternally in the restored, physical heavens and earth.
6. Craig Blomberg says: “We will enjoy one another’s fellowship as well as God’s presence in perfect happiness. We will not sit on our private clouds with wings and harps periodically to dispel our eternal boredom! The new earth is centered in the new Jerusalem, a city of bustling activity.” (Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, Kindle Locations 6819-6822)
Blomberg writes: “Too many pew sitters in contemporary conservative churches think of and represent heaven as an “airy-fairy,” ethereal kind of existence to which they do not really look forward. Even referring to the life to come simply as “heaven” points out a serious misconception.” (Ib.)