Scot McKnight on Heaven

The Heaven PromiseFrom Scot McKnight as the Jesus Creed blog: Top Ten Ideas about Heaven.

This based on McKnight’s new book The Heaven Promise — which I’ve not yet read but certainly will. But I’ve gotten this far:

In the theocentric heaven, the focus and unending characteristic is praise of God. The kingdom-centric heaven focuses on the new heavens and the new earth, where God’s people will live with one another after the pattern of life God intended for them. Here’s a chart of these two views:

Theocentric                          Kingdom-Centric
God                                             God and God’s people
Glory of God                             God’s perfect society
Mode of life: worship              Worship and fellowship
Atmosphere: holiness             Justice and peace
Gathered for worship              Social engagement
Family eliminated                    Family perfected
Fellowship diminished            Fellowship emphasized
Location: heaven up there      New heavens, new earth
Spiritual existence                    Embodied existence

McKnight, Scot (2015-10-06). The Heaven Promise: Engaging the Bible’s Truth About Life to Come (Kindle Locations 295-304). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Here is the big point: We need to learn to talk about heaven in two phases or dimensions. They are the first heaven (now) and the final Heaven (the final kingdom of God). From this point on I will use lowercase heaven for the first heaven and uppercase Heaven for the final kingdom. The first heaven is real and present but undisclosed to mortal eyes, while the final Heaven is the full disclosure of the heavenly realm. And it will be on a renewed earth.

The history of heaven comes to light in the Bible in the form of two chapters. First is the undisclosed, hidden reality of the presence of God (first heaven). The second is the disclosed, visible reality of the presence of God on earth (final Heaven). The answer to the question “Where is heaven?” is that heaven occupies two locations. One is the undisclosed reality of God’s presence, a reality more real than our lives now. The other location is the future new Heavens and new earth.

McKnight, Scot (2015-10-06). The Heaven Promise: Engaging the Bible’s Truth About Life to Come (Kindle Locations 878-885). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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