Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why Easter doesn't mean we are going to heaven

Over the last decade or so there has been a renewed 
appreciation in New Testament circles for the promise of resurrection. Many Christians believe that death means we go to live in heaven for eternity. But the hope of resurrection is not that we go to heaven, but that we live again.

The blog It is Written has a good summary of the New Testament hope of resurrection.

Unfortunately, most Christians are confused about what scripture teaches about life after death. Imprecise language in the pulpit and popular worship music isn’t helping the situation much either. The hymn, “I’ll Fly Away,” is a perfect example of inaccurate eschatology, but most people know it far better than 1 Corinthians 15. Preachers are often fond of proclaiming their excitement about going to heaven. There is even a best-selling book describing a young boy’s description of heaven based on his near-death experience. As will become clear below, I’m not trying to discount Christian hope in life beyond the grave. I’m also not trying to deny that heaven is a place for believers, but I do want to clarify it in light of what Scripture teaches, "heaven" is not our ultimate destination.

Most Christians think of heaven as the place you go to be with God forever after you die. Typically it is thought of as a city in the clouds where people spend time with God. But this is a terribly incomplete description of what the Bible teaches about life after death. It is a description of eschatology that ignores the significance of Jesus’ resurrection as the foundation of Christian hope.
Read the full post here.

Happy Easter!


  1. Tom Wright's Surprised by Hope was the first resource that I read that addressed this. Until then, I had not really given it much thought. Now, I can't listen to anyone talk about 'eternity in heaven' without thinking, 'No, not quite accurate.'

  2. "Surprised by Hope" was the first resource that helped me as well to tease out the deeper truths about life after death. How refreshing to do a funeral for a family of a young mother who's husband had been a monk once and understood such things as the resurrection of the dead in Christ.

    And then to see Romans 8 in such a different light is really good for those of us concerned about creation and its redemption.