No, sorry.. I read that wrong. Heaven Revealed, by Dr. Paul Enns, is a book he wrote in which he claims heaven to be the same as living on earth.
Enns pointed to Matthew 26:29, when Jesus says he will not drink this wine until he meets his disciples in heaven, and highlighted that Jesus uses the pronouns “I” and “you,” which means there is a “continuity of the person.”
“God has given us natural abilities and also given us spiritual gifts when we became believers in Christ, and so we will continue, which means our spiritual giftedness continues,” said Enns. “We will continue in heaven to do things we did here.”
What, we’ll still fantasize about celebrity sex and fart a lot? Some paradise.
The biblical scholar, who also wrote the book The Moody Handbook of Theology, said heaven is not just a state but a real place where God dwells. There is the intermediate heaven (Luke 23), a paradise for believers between death and the Second Coming, and the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1, Isaiah 65, 66), which is the final destination of believers on a restored earth, according to Enns. He said he thinks the “the third heaven,” although he admitted he is unsure, is the same as the intermediate heaven.
I don’t know if he knows what he’s talking about. I don’t study the bible at all so I can’t comment on all these forms of heaven. Why are there so many? Can’t it just be because the bible is a loose collection of books written at different times set around a common theme? I think it’s more likely that thoughts and theories about heaven adapted and evolved from the days Luke was written to the days John was. It’s just different impressions of the same imaginary place that nobody alive can go to and take pictures of and then bring back to the world as proof the place exists.
I understand the compulsion to believe there’s an afterlife waiting for us when this life is through. Nobody likes things to be over. Moneymaking and lack of other ideas aren’t the only reasons there are so many fucking sequels to movies in the works. People like the characters; people want to see what they’ll do next, even if it’s unlikely to make any sense. Life’s like that. So’s heaven, apparently.
The article notes that Enns was moved to write the book after the death of his wife. Obviously he’d want to reassure himself that she was happy in a new life, and must have felt compelled to reassure others.
“Death is not cessation of existence; death is separation of the body from the soul and spirit (James 2:26),” writes Enns. “The body temporarily goes into the grave, awaiting the resurrection, but the person – complete with all thoughts, memory, and personality – continues.”
For biblical support, the scholar pointed to the famous story in Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man retained memory of his father and five brothers while in hell.
“If the people in hell will remember their past lives on this earth, surely believers in heaven will remember their lives on earth. Abilities in heaven will not be inferior to abilities in hell,” writes the Southern Baptist theologian.
“We will know everything we know now, but much clearer and much more.”
I can see why Enns and people like him believe this. It’s a very comforting idea and probably less traumatic than telling little kids that Grandma’s feeding the worms now, as if worms could even get into the hermetically sealed, satin upholstered limousine employed as a final resting place.
In heaven, believers will worship God, judge and rule (I Corinthians 6:2-3), rebuild cities (Amos 9:14, Isaiah 61:4), compose music (Revelation 14:13), farm, raise livestock, and continue using their God-given talents they had on earth to honor God, according to Enns. But medical doctors and dentists will need to find new vocations, he noted, since the heavenly bodies will be perfect.
What good do these ideas and books do, really? It all sounds like shit people tell themselves to make them feel better about a glum situation. It’s made up fantasy ass garbage and people continue to devour it and try to sustain themselves on it. I truly think writing and reading books on this topic is a complete and total waste of brain power. Not to get all “Circle of Life”/Lion King here, but there should be a better, more realistic way to soothe the population when it comes to thinking about the end of life. Some way that doesn’t require a dreamland full of happy, happy, joy, joy, joy in order to make a person accept the end gracefully.
My most devout aunt suffered greatly in her last weeks and I think by that point the cancer had spread pretty much everywhere. After a visit to see her, I walked back down to the car, stood in the parking lot and murmured something along the lines of, “If you’re up there, why don’t you take her?” She lingered for another month. Maybe her family is content to think she’s living perfectly formed in some alternate world now but I’ve never believed heaven existed. She’s just gone and memories are what is left.
Why can’t that be enough?