Saturday, March 05, 2005

HEAVEN by Randy Alcorn

For over twenty years Randy Alcorn has been writing fiction and non fiction works on a wide range of subjects. It is no secret that I am one of his biggest fans. Almost every book he has written has something to do with heaven, and his ideas about heaven have always been a bit off the wall.

In one of his books he pictures the journey between our life here on earth and entry into heaven as being similar to a birth canal. Picking up from the various near death experience stories that have been in the news the last 20 years or so, he saw the journey taking place along a blue tube. A the other end of the tube, we are birthed into heaven.

After taking those kinds of fun liberties in his earlier works, he has now produced a serious study looking at heaven from every angle imaginable. He has three ways to prove his ideas. One is what scripture says heaven will be like. Two is logical extensions of what scripture says. Three is admittedly more theoretical . . . Why wouldn’t God do it this way.

The major premise of the book is that Heaven is a reborn earth very much like the earth as we know it but glorified, perfected, and without sin or death. However, that leads to a tough question. How are we to both love the world as God repeatedly says He does, and at the same time respond to the apostle John’s (1 John 2:15) statement that we are not to love the world or anything in the world. Alcorn answers with this:

“Consider the predicament of decent German citizens under the Nazi regime. Did they love their homeland, Germany, or did the hate it. Both, simultaneously. They hated the Nazi government, the arrogance, depravity, bigotry, brutality, and persecution. Yet they knew there was a better Germany, even though it was buried beneath the prevailing tide of fascism. They were loyal to that better Germany, and they could still see signs of it in the beautiful countryside, a concerto, the eyes of a kind neighbor, Germans jailed for resistance to the Nazis, and faithful citizens quietly intervening to save Jews. Paradoxically, it was their very love for Germany that fueled their opposition to Nazi Germany. Likewise our love for God’s Earth fuels our opposition to fallen earth.”

For me the first third of Heaven was the best. The middle of the book seemed at times like he felt the need to prove everything in just the right way to complete his thesis. The last third is fast paced as he gives his opinion on issues we all think about like whether we will continue our relationships, whether we will have pets, and if there is sex in heaven. Those are just a few of the practical things he addresses.

You will definitely feel closer to God and to heaven after this read. Buy it at your local Christian Bookstore or on the web.

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