In preparation for an upcoming series for the youth, and sermon for main church, and also just as a study project, I’ve been reading Randy Alcorn’s Heaven. While at times it feels a bit repetitive, and at others times perhaps a bit speculative, I think its overall a very helpful book. His pastoral concern for believers to really look forward to heaven is quite evident, and I especially appreciate his emphasis on the physicality of heaven and its continuity with creation. Here’s a sample quote, in the midst of a discussion of the distinction between the intermediate heaven and the New Earth:
“As Jesus is God incarnate, so the New Earth will be Heaven incarnate. Think of what Revelation 21:3 tells us – God will relocate his people and come down from Heaven to the New Earth to live with them: ‘God himself will be with them.’ Rather than our going up to live in God’s home forever, God will come down to live in our home forever. Simply put, though the present heaven is ‘up there,’ the future, eternal Heaven will be ‘down here’…. Utopian idealists who dream of mankind creating ‘Heaven on Earth’ are destined for disappointment. But though they are wrong in believing that humans can achieve a utopian existence apart from God, the reality of Heaven on Earth – God dwelling with mankind in the world he made for us – will in fact be realized. It is God’s dream. It is God’s plan. He – not we – will accomplish it” (Tyndale 2004, 46, emphasis his).