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What on Earth Do We Know about Heaven?: 20 Questions and Answers about Life after Death Paperback – October 1, 2013

2.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What heaven is, what it isn't--and why it matters

There's been an upsurge in interest about the afterlife lately, but according to Randal Rauser, we're too often limited in our concept of what heaven really is. God's ultimate purpose goes beyond "pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by." Rather, the whole creation will be transformed and renewed. "Heaven," Rauser says, "is earth multiplied by perfection."

What will that be like? What implications does it have for life now? This eye-opening book takes you through a series of creative and thought-provoking questions, ultimately leading to the biblical vision of a glorious afterlife consisting of a perfected earth, perfected bodies, perfected human culture, and perfected relationships. This stunning picture of the future will also transform how you understand and even live your life in the here and now.

"As with any unknown, the concept and reality of heaven present us with great mystery--but also great blessing. Our challenge is wrapping our brains and our Bibles around the questions. Randal Rauser's book does a beautiful job of both, guiding us toward answers to our most common questions while also helping us connect how our present lives should be influenced by those truths."--David D. Swanson, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, FL; author of Everlasting Life

"I love Randal Rauser because he loves to ask questions, especially hard and controversial questions. And not only does he like to ask them, but he is courageous enough to offer responses. This book on heaven follows that very pattern, and even if you do not agree with all of Randal's answers, you will find yourself enjoying how much he stretches you in the process."--Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College

"What a fascinating book! Randal Rauser has a wonderful way of looking at issues from a different but very interesting perspective--and he clearly does that in this volume. The questions he asks are intriguing. The answers he suggests are thought provoking. The approach he takes is engaging. This book will motivate you to think more deeply about an issue you've always wondered about: What is heaven really like?"--George W. Sarris, actor; author; Engaging the Culture blogger, ChristianPost.com

About the Author

Randal Rauser (MCS, Regent College; PhD, King's College London) is associate professor of historical theology at Taylor Seminary, Edmonton, Canada. He is the author of several books, including Finding God in the Shack, You're Not as Crazy as I Think, and
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801015642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801015649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,913,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My story begins in eternity past when God fore-ordained that I would come to be. Fast-forward to 1973 when the divine decree was made manifest as I entered the world ... and Edmonton Alberta (Canada) was never the same again. At the age of four I decided to move to Kelowna, BC and I brought my family along with me.

After sixteen years living in the lush Okanagan valley (Canada's preeminent fruit-growing region), I made the move to the lower mainland (the south coast of BC) where I spent 6 1/2 years living in the Vancouver area, during which I completed a BA (Trinity Western University) and an MCS (Regent College) while moonlighting with the perfect job for a student: driving a limousine.

In 1999 I married the girl of my dreams and moved to England to start a PhD at King's College, London with my theological mentor Colin Gunton. Jasper (Rae Kyung) and I moved back to Canada in 2002 and lived a year in Surrey BC as I completed my doctoral thesis and Jasper brought our child Jamie into the world (while I cheered her on).

A year after we moved to Caronport Saskatchewan for one year as I taught philosophy at Briercrest College (my friends from England loved the fact that the nearest town to Caronport was called "Moose Jaw").

A year later we returned to the city of my origins, Edmonton, AB, where we have been since 2003, spreading joy around the capital region as I teach theology at Taylor Seminary, buy lots of books, and write a few of my own.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed this book! Dr. Rauser helps you to ponder a variety of interesting questions regarding Heaven. The book is divided into 20 chapters of 5-7 pages each. It would make for a good daily devotional or even a book for a bible study group; however, once I started I found that I just wanted to keep reading! The questions are divided into five main sections intended to be read from beginning to end. The chapters also stand well on their own, so there is no harm in jumping ahead if you see something in the contents that grabs your attention. As you read the book, I guarantee you will have several moments when you think, "Wow, I never really thought of that!" The book may challenge your preconceived notions of heaven as well as guide you to think about aspects you have not previously considered. In some chapters, Dr. Rauser takes a more open-ended approach, and in others he presents a more rigorous argument for a particular viewpoint. It is a great intellectual exercise and an encouragement for believers. Skeptics who find the "floating on the clouds" view of Heaven to be silly may benefit from the more realistic view of Heaven portrayed in the book. For those who do not mind a spoiler, here are some of my favorite highlights:

1. Will we get hungry in Heaven? Most of us would assume that we do not, but wait a minute. Isn't a meal much more satisfying when you are hungry?
2. What about all the majestic predators like tigers? The bible says they will be in Heaven, but they will eat plants. But is a tiger really still a tiger without the ferocity?
3. If we no longer sin in Heaven, then do we still have free will? Dr. Rauser makes a helpful analogy to someone whose taste in food changes drastically.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A book like this is always going to be speculative, as Scripture actually has very little to say about heaven. But Randal Rauser has a good (sanctified) imagination, and makes some really thought-provoking points throughout. I especially liked what he had to say about the question of where heaven is now - after all, Jesus is there bodily. Yes, the ancients held to a three-tier universe; but what do the likes of John Shelby Spong expect: that God should have revealed himself in the context of early 21st Century cosmology? That wouldn't have been very practical for our forefathers in the faith, nor for those reading Scripture in five hundred years time (should the Lord tarry), who would consider our very own scientific outlook pretty archaic. Clue: it's called accommodation.

Rauser confirmed something that is gradually dawning on me (thanks to N.T. Wright as well) that heaven will one day come to earth (Revelation 21:2). This, along with the fact that we will have resurrection bodies, means that life on the renewed earth is our hope. The material is not unspiritual. Rauser's vision of heaven is far more concrete - and exciting! - than typical Christian concepts of the afterlife. Will the Titanic sail again? I hope so! After all, God will make all things new.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just one mans imagination of Heaven, I find myself quickly reading through just to finish. Really its just someones fantasy put in book form.
I did enjoy the questions, and will take them to my men's group for some fun discussion and to see what others think or dream of heaven. The money spent, no its not a loss, just don't expect to get answers as to what your loved ones are doing as they rub elbows with Jesus, or throwing back a pint with Luther.
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