What comes to mind when you think about heaven? For most Evangelical Christians it’s another realm to which believers will be whisked away like rescued survivors, leaving the planet to crash and burn. But many theologians understand heaven to be an on-world transformation, not an off-world destination. The redeemed won’t be teleported to another dimension but will be physically resurrected on a New Earth restored to its intended glory.
“The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, “Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven.” It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.
… Never at any point do the Gospels or Paul say Jesus has been raised, therefore we are we are all going to heaven. They all say, Jesus is raised, therefore the new creation has begun, and we have a job to do.” – N. T. Wright
If this is true we should be passionately devoted to what will prepare us—and our world—for heaven later.
“What you believe about the future shapes, informs, and determines how you live now. If you believe that you’re going to leave and evacuate to somewhere else, then why do anything about this world? A proper view of heaven leads not to escape from the world, but to full engagement with it, all with the anticipation of a coming day when things are on earth as they currently are in heaven.” – Rob Bell
What are you currently doing that you will keep doing in heaven?
- working on my communication skills
- deepening relationships
- caring for people
- asking questions