Saturday, April 9, 2011

What is heaven? (from Scot McKnight)

Scot McKnight has written something about heaven that I've been think for awhile. As I read the Bible, I find that "heaven", for the ancients, would mean the "sky" (according to their worldview and not in the modern scientific sense).

(Click here for McKnight's full post.)

"There’s a reason why the ancients, both Jews and Greek and Romans, used a word like “heaven” for where God is and where folks go when they die. Yes, there’s lots of variety in the ancient world; and they used a variety of words, but the NT word is “heaven” and that word means “sky.” And there all kinds of Jewish texts about ascending into heaven. Why did Jesus and the early Christians fasten on that word for doing the lion’s share of work on where God is? Obviously this is phenomenology. God was above and beyond and when we die, if we are righteous, we go to be with God and that means we go to heaven (in the skies)...The NT modifies this: it eventually lands not on just ascending into heaven (into the skies) but on a meeting of heaven and earth in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Most Christians need to learn this and the sooner the better. The “final” place in the Bible is the New Heavens and the New Earth — and these two meet in Jerusalem! Read Revelation 20-22..."

(Note: McKnight's post is on Rob Bell's book Love Wins. But I do not intend to comment on this book here. Or else it will confuse the matter.)

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