leave a comment on this post (4 Comments)

  1. Have you read Surprised By Hope? That would be a great place to start on both the heaven and the hell question.

  2. Our concepts of heaven and hell are strongly influenced by a Platonic understanding of perfection. There was perfection, we fell from perfection, somehow we need to reattain perfection. This line of thought creates a dualist approach to understanding reality. There is the pysical, profane, flawed plane of existence from which we want to escape and there is the spiritual, sacred, perfect plane of existence to which we want to escape. Is this the way the ancient Hebrew mind would have understood reality? It is an interesting question. This Platonic influenced Greco-Roman perspective has been our dominant paradigm for the past 2000 years but is it the right one? Is it the biblical one? I’m unsure.

    • I agree with your critique Keith. Two writers to check out on this are Brian McLaren (A New Kind of Christianity) and Richard Beck (Unclean).

  3. Yes, we very much have missed the point. What Christians view as “hell” is very much related to what they view of “heaven”. After all, in their mind one must be the opposite of the other. Most see heaven as a realm of eternal bliss where they float on clouds and sing all day (and keep watch over “Hell”, I presume, to make sure all the rest are still writhing in pain). Jesus made it very clear that the whole intent is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. “Heaven” is simply the Kingdom of Heaven fully manifested. Earth and Heaven will ultimately be one.

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