Part One: Introduction
One thing the Bible makes unequivocally clear is that at the end of this age God’s people will join Jesus and the rest of His “saints” in Heaven. This is a biblical given. However, when it comes to envisioning what Heaven will actually look like . . . well, that’s an entirely different issue.
There are at least three reasons for this. Most significant is that the Bible simply doesn’t give us all the information we would like to have concerning what Heaven will be like—especially what its physical environment will look like and its non-human inhabitants. Second, the Old and New Testaments seem to present somewhat different perspectives on Heaven (I’ll harmonize these two views in a later blog). And third, although many books have been written about Heaven, not all of them interpret the biblical data the same.
Having acknowledged these challenges, I still believe there is enough information in Scripture concerning the prophesied “new heaven and earth” (Isa. 65:17; Rev, 21:1) to allow us to imagine a fairly accurate depiction of what God’s eternal kingdom may look like. Examining this evidence, and sharing what I’ve learned, is the subject of my new blog series: “What Will It Be like in Heaven?”
This series is adapted from my book, Will Dogs Chase Cats in Heaven?: People, Pets and Wild Animals in the Afterlife. Despite the title, however, the book is not just about animals. As the subtitle implies, it’s about people too. It includes four chapters specifically about Heaven, as well as chapters on how we can know human and animal souls are immortal.
Likewise, this blog series will not focus on animals. Rather, it will explore such things as, Where will Heaven be located? What will its physical environment look like? Does Eden offer clues to what Heaven will be like? And so on. Clearly, I can’t begin to share in a weekly blog all I’ve learned and wrote in the book, so interested readers should read the book itself for a full treatment of the topic.
Now, a couple remarks about how I approach this subject, in both my book and upcoming blog series. First, I use the entire Bible—not just the New Testament—as the basis for my research and conclusions. (It may surprise some readers to know that there is more information revealed about the physical environment of Heaven in the Old Testament than the New.) Second, I focus on the unambiguous biblical references to Heaven, and therefore, wherever possible, limit interpretations of obvious metaphorical and apocalyptic scenarios—which can be open to various interpretations.
One more thing. Although I appreciate and encourage comments and fresh insights into this topic, I am not writing this blog to engage in debates. What I share is my view, based on what I believe is an accurate biblical perspective after much research and study. Readers are free to accept it or reject it. However, I do encourage blog readers with opinions different than mine to read the book itself. Obviously, the only way to gain a full understanding of my perspective is in context of the total narrative.
Next week I’ll begin the series by exploring where Heaven will be located. Not where many people imagine! ©