From 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:
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.