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Heaven Hardcover – October 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
According to Alcorn (The Treasure Principle; Deadline; Safely Home), the subject of heaven rates as one of the least accurately discussed subjects in the whole of Christendom. Even seminarians fail to give appropriate time and attention to heaven as described throughout the Bible because other themes take pre-eminence both chronologically and preferentially. Alcorn is likewise astounded that the majority of Christians who do take time to consider heaven often possess faulty, nonbiblical assumptions, one of the most common being the misconception of heaven as a place of unending church services. The author, who is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), has spent years studying what the Bible says about heaven, and in this compelling and comprehensive resource, he offers every conceivable question about heaven, or the "New Earth," as a Christian believer's ultimate destination. Alcorn answers the expected queries on heavenly life as well as quirkier ones: will Christians drink coffee in heaven? Will there be homeownership, and what about sex? Will our pets be in heaven? Evangelical scholars and laypersons alike will appreciate Alcorn's expansive—though perhaps long-winded—musings on this neglected subject, a real boon in a time when many people are eager to understand what happens after death.
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From the Inside Flap
Have you ever wondered . . .
What is Heaven really going to be like?
What will we look like?
What will we do every day?
Won't Heaven get boring after a while?
We all have questions about what Heaven will be like, and after twenty-five years of extensive research, Dr. Randy Alcorn has the answers.
In the most comprehensive and definitive book on Heaven to date, Randy invites you to picture Heaven the way Scripture describes it-a bright, vibrant, and physical New Earth, free from sin, suffering, and death, and brimming with Christ's presence, wondrous natural beauty, and the richness of human culture as God intended it.
God has put eternity in our hearts. Now, Randy Alcorn brings eternity to light in a way that will surprise you, spark your imagination, and change how you live today.
If you've always thought of Heaven as a realm of disembodied spirits, clouds, and eternal harp strumming, you're in for a wonderful surprise.
This is a book about real people with real bodies enjoying close relationships with God and each other, eating, drinking, working, playing, traveling, worshiping, and discovering on a New Earth. Earth as God created it. Earth as he intended it to be.
And the next time you hear someone say, "We can't begin to imagine what Heaven will be like," you will be able to tell them, ""I can.""
Top customer reviews
Alcorn has done his research on this topic, having read 150 books on Heaven. He quotes liberally from many of those books.
He writes that in our seminaries, churches, and families, we have given “little attention to the place where we will live forever with Christ and his people—the New Earth, in the new universe”. The eternal Heaven is the central subject of this book.
Alcorn believes the book will stand up to biblical scrutiny. But right up front, he invites the reader to contact him if they have biblical grounds for disagreeing with anything in this book. He is open to correction and mentions that the revised edition of the book contains a number of changes he made based on input from readers of the first edition.
The book is organized as follows:
Part 1: In “A Theology of Heaven,” he explains the difference between the present Heaven (where Christians go when they die) and the ultimate, eternal Heaven (where God will dwell with his people on the New Earth).
Part 2: In “Questions and Answers about Heaven,” he addresses specific questions about life on the New Earth that arise out of the foundational teachings in Part 1. Part 3: In “Living in Light of Heaven,” he encourages the reader to let the doctrine of Heaven transform us and fill us with joyful anticipation.
He also includes the following:
1. Appendix A: Christoplatonism’s False Assumptions
2. Appendix B: Literal and Figurative Interpretation
3. Selected Bibliography
Alcorn writes that most people do not find their joy in Christ and Heaven. Instead, he states, many people find no joy at all when they think about Heaven. They assume that they will be bored, playing a harp on the clouds all day long. He writes that many Christians who’ve gone to church all their adult lives (especially those under fifty) can’t recall having heard a single sermon on Heaven.
Alcorn states that nearly every notion of Heaven he presents in this book was stimulated and reinforced by biblical texts. As you talk to others about Heaven as you read this book, they will probably ask “Where did he get that?” Alcorn helpfully lists scripture references throughout the book as he teaches about Heaven. He also states that we should ask God’s help to remove the blinders of our preconceived ideas about Heaven so we can understand what Scripture actually teaches about it.
Alcorn writes that when a believer dies, he or she enters into what is referred to in theology as the intermediate state. This is a transitional period between our past lives on Earth and our future resurrection to life on the New Earth. The intermediate or present Heaven is not our final destination. Rather, we will live with Christ and each other forever, not in the intermediate, or present, Heaven, but on the New Earth, where God will be at home with his people. In the book, when referring to the place believers go after death, Alcorn uses terms such as the present Heaven or the intermediate Heaven. He refers to the eternal state as the eternal Heaven or the New Earth.
Alcorn states that the problem is not that the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Heaven. It’s that we don’t pay attention to what it does tell us. He states that we were all made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place.
I found this to be a fascinating book, covering many aspects of Heaven that I had not previously thought of.
Randy Alcorn seeks to set the record straight. Alcorn's book is a biblically based theology of what heaven is really like. We will not exist as immaterial beings in a sterile, white environment. We won't all be sitting on a cloud playing a harp. Although we will worship, neither is heaven one long perpetual church service.
Heaven is a real, tangible place. Jesus called it Paradise, which is a protected garden, a place of delight. When a Christian dies in Christ, he or she goes to a real place to be in the presence of the Lord. We see and know people who have gone onto Paradise before us. We are given activities and responsibilities that we will enjoy doing. We will walk with God in a garden paradise filled with wonders.
Heaven is place that Christians should look forward to going. Heaven is our hope, our confident expectation. This is why the Apostle Paul made it "the prize of his high calling in Christ Jesus." We have an eternal glory waiting on us that far outweighs anything we have here on earth. Alcorn brings this out in detail examining the scriptures.
One license Randy took was to discount the statement in scripture that there will be no sea on the new earth. Why discount that, Randy? Granted its hard to believe, but its God's Word that says it. I hate being sceptical, and try to take everything in by screening it through the Holy Spirit, but if even one part of God's word is discounted, how do we know what else has been discounted?
When we did a book study of Heaven, most people don't want a Heaven with technology like we have now. We all have our own little ideas of what it will be like. I had one elderly couple take umbrage at this vision of Heaven. They want to float on clouds with no cares in the world. Randy Alcorn's scriptural account is, but should not be, controversal for some.