Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God

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Overview

I don’t want to go to heaven. Not that I’m lobbying for the other place . . .
---Michael Wittmer

This planet is more than just a stopover on your way to heaven. It is your final destination. God wants you to enjoy your earthly existence, and to think otherwise is to miss the life he intends for you.

Exploring the book of Genesis, Heaven Is a Place on Earth gently but firmly strips away common misconceptions of Christianity and broadens your worldview to reveal the tremendous dignity and value of everyday life. Taking you from creation, to the fall, to redemption, and to glimpses from the book of Revelation, Michael Wittmer opens your eyes to a faith that encompasses all of life---baseball games, stock reports, church activities, prayer, lovemaking, work, hobbies . . . everything that lies within the sphere of human activity. To be fully Christian is to be fully human, says Wittmer, alive and responsive to the kingdom of God in all that you are and all that you do.

Discover the freedom and impact God created you for. It starts with a truly Christian worldview. And its fruit is the undiluted gospel, powerful not only to save souls, but to restore them to a life that is truly worth living.

Includes discussion/reflection questions after each chapter.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310253075
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Wittmer is currently Professor of Systematic Theology at GRTS in Grand Rapids, MI. He is the author of Heaven Is a Place on Earth, Don’t Stop Believing, The Last Enemy, and Despite Doubt. He and his wife, Julie, live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their three children: Avery, Landon, and Alayna.
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Read an Excerpt

Heaven Is a Place on Earth Copyright © 2004 by Michael Wittmer
Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Wittmer, Michael Eugene. Heaven is a place on earth : why everything you do matters to God / Michael E. Wittmer.--1st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. ISBN 0-310-25307-1 (pbk.) 1. Christian life. 2. Life--Religious aspects--Christianity. I. Title. BV4501.3.W59 2004 248.4--dc22 2003027623
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Italics in quotations of Scripture are the author's.
The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means--electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other--except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Interior design by Beth Shagene
Printed in the United States of America
04 05 06 07 08 09 10 /v DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Preface
This book is about the meaning in life. A slew of Christian books already address the meaning of life. Most of these rightly observe that we exist to love God through personaldevotions and minister to others by sharing the gospel and making disciples of all nations. I wholeheartedly embrace these spiritual values. It is a privilege to ponder the Word of God, to pour out our heart to him in prayer, and to persuade other people to repent and follow our Savior. But this book is not about that.
Instead, I want to examine what these "meaning of life" books typically overlook. They are right to tell us that we were created for worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship, and discipleship, but they are wrong to stop there. Look at that list again. While it more or less covers our responsibilities as Christians, it says little about what it means to be human. Does our purpose for life consist entirely in these spiritual activities, or is there also some value in showing up for work, waxing our car, playing with our children, or taking a trip to the beach--just a few of the many things we do, not because we are Christian, but primarily because we are human?
It is these distinctly human activities that this book seeks to address. Rather than encourage you to stretch forward to further pietistic pursuits (an important topic that has its place), I am more concerned here to renew our appreciation for the ordinary things we are already doing. In the process we will inevitably touch upon the meaning of life--that is, the purpose for our existence--but all the while our focus will be on the meaning in life--that is, the value within the normal, everyday activities that mark our human experience.
If I do my job well, you will come away from this book convinced of two important truths. First, God wants us to enjoy our earthly existence. We need not feel guilty for feeling at home in this world, for this planet is precisely where God wants us to be. As we learn from the opening pages of Genesis, it's good to be human and it's good to be here, on planet earth. Second, because this life matters to God, you will also be challenged to redirect every aspect of this existence to his honor and glory. No longer free to brush aside this earthly life as mere batting practice for our future, heavenly existence, we now recognize that whatever we do, regardless how seemingly small and insignificant, should be done with excellence "in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17).
Both truths only make sense within a full-orbed Christian worldview, which is why I spend some time in chapter 1 explaining what a worldview is, how it works, and what might comprise its foundational beliefs. Finally, I have concluded the book with discussion questions and case studies for each chapter in a section entitled "Expanding Your Worldview." Those who use this material to facilitate smallgroup discussions will be able to contact me and download a free leader's guide and two bonus chapters (on the foundational beliefs of the Christian worldwiew)
Acknowledgments It is sometimes difficult to know how far back to extend one's thankyous (witness the long and tiresome acceptance speeches at the Oscars), but I must begin with Joe Crawford and James Grier. I had attended twelve years of Christian school, four years of Christian college, one year of seminary, plus church services three times a week during that span and yet had never heard the life-changing truths of this book until I sat under their ministry at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. I would also like to thank Doug Felch, who kindly permitted me to use his informative chart on the image of God, and Neal Plantinga, whose inspiring lectures and writings have further enlarged my understanding of the Christian worldview.
Besides these mentors, I am indebted to the editorial contributions of the gracious staff at Zondervan--Paul Engle, Jim Ruark, Tim Beals, Katya Covrett, and Greg Stielstra--and the many friends, such as Wendy Widder, Sharon Ross, Scott Morter, Jeff Lindell, Phil Wittmer, and Gary and Julie Childers, who gladly volunteered to read and comment on major portions of my manuscript. Their encouragement and insights have made this a better book.
Finally, I offer my most profound gratitude to my dear wife, Julie, who not only carefully (and critically!) read every page but, more important, daily implements its truth in our home, enabling me and our three children to enjoy firsthand the privilege of living within the liberty of the Christian worldview.
1 What You See Is What You Get
"Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth". ARCHIMEDES (3RD CENTURY B.C.)
I don't want to go to heaven. Not that I'm lobbying for the other place--I want no part of everlasting fire and unbearable, unquenchable torment. The reason why I first repented and asked Christ to forgive my sin was to avoid going to hell. I became a Christian to get out of hell, not because I wanted to get into heaven. Before you judge me, remember why y o u said the Sinner's Prayer.
The delights of heaven may be to die for, but isn't that precisely the problem? Everyone who makes it into heaven has to leave this life to get there. Granted, death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person, but it's pretty close. All things being equal, I'd rather continue the earthly existence that I currently enjoy.
I'd love to go to heaven--for a visit. It will be unspeakably exhilarating to stand in the presence of God and sing his praises--but to do nothing except this forever and ever? That's a lot of rounds of "Shine, Jesus, Shine." Perhaps you think I'm being unfair. Well, what else do people do in heaven but worship God? As one preacher put it, "I don't know what we're going to do there, but I promise you it won't be boring." Thanks for the help. I want to believe you, but in the absence of any hard facts, I'm siding with Huckleberry Finn.
In a futile attempt to persuade a fidgety Huckleberry to behave, the stern Miss Watson warned her young charge about the hellish destiny of restless boys and the heavenly reward awaiting those who sit up straight and study their spelling books. According to Huckleberry, "Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together."1
Huckleberry Finn is right: Heaven does sound boring. Who wants to go there? We are not cut out for the clouds. We don't make very good angels. Humans weren't made for heaven. As wonderful as it will be to praise God in his celestial glory, there is still one thing better--to kneel in the presence of God with the bodies he created us to have in the place he created us to live.
Heaven Is Not My Home, I'll Just Be Passin' Through
And this is precisely what God promises. Contrary to popular opinion, the Christian hope is not that someday all believers get to die and go to heaven. Indeed, the only reason anyone ever goes to heaven is sin. If Adam and Eve had never sinned, they would have continued to live on this planet, enjoying the beauty of creation as they walked in close fellowship with their Creator. However, as we will see in chapter 9, Adam's sin brought death into the world. Now all people must die--an event that separates their souls from their bodies. Their bodies immediately begin to decay, but their souls continue to live, either in hell with the damned or in heaven with Jesus Christ.
But even those of us who make it to heaven have not yet achieved our perfect state. It must be extremely satisfying to join the other saints in heaven who continually stand in the presence of God. Yet even the saints who are there still long for something more. They long to be whole again, not merely to bow before God as a disembodied soul but to praise him as a fully restored person, possessing both a renewed spirit and body.
This is why our temporary stay in heaven--what theologians call the intermediate state--is not the primary focus of Scripture. There are only a few verses that even allude to it.2 Scripture is relatively silent on our intermediate state in heaven because it is not the Christian hope. The Christian hope is not merely that our departed souls will rejoice in heaven, but that, as 1 Corinthians 15 explains, they will reunite with our resurrected bodies.
And where do bodies live? Not in heaven: That's more suitable for spiritual beings like angels and human souls. Bodies are meant to live on earth, on this planet.3 So the Christian hope is not merely that someday we and our loved ones will die and go to be with Jesus. Instead, the Christian hope is that our departure from this world is just the first leg of a journey that is round-trip. We will not remain forever with God in heaven, for God will bring heaven down to us. As John explains his vision in Revelation 21:1-4, he "saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" to earth, accompanied by the thrilling words, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them." In short, Christians long for the fulfillment of Emmanuel, the divine name that means "God with us." We don't hope merely for the day when we go to live with God, but ultimately for that final day when God comes to live with us.
Diamonds Are Forever
In their effort to focus attention on what matters most, well-meaning pastors and teachers often remind us that only two things last forever: the Word of God and souls. Since nothing else is permanent, people who wish to make their lives count for eternity will concentrate their energies on evangelism. These leaders suggest that bringing people to Jesus is more than urgent--ultimately it is the only thing that really counts.
I am not convinced that permanence alone guarantees importance. (After all, the lake of fire seems to last forever, yet no one argues that we should live for that.) But even if it did, I think we should expand our list of things that last forever (that is, items that will exist in our final, everlasting state). Certainly the Word of God and souls head the list, but what about physical things, such as our bodies and even this planet? While our resurrection bodies and the new earth will be somewhat different from those we currently enjoy,4 they apparently will also be quite similar.
For example, consider the post-resurrection body of Jesus. Although his spiritual body could pass through solid walls, he went out of his way to prove to his disciples that he was not a ghost but the actual, physical fellow they had known for three years. He invited them to touch his hands and feet, and when they still would not believe, he ate fish and perhaps some honey in front of them.5 Jesus wanted his friends to know that the resurrection did not obliterate his humanity but rather restored it from the ravages of sin and death that he had suffered on their behalf.
Because Jesus is "the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep,"6 we may surmise that, like the resurrected Christ, our future life on the new earth will repair rather than remove our humanity. Isaiah says as much when, in words echoed by John in Revelation 21:24- 26, he describes the new earth as a place of commerce, wealth, and flourishing human culture.7 Speaking of the New Jerusalem, Isaiah 60:11 declares that "your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations--their kings led in triumphal procession." We will examine this further in chapter 11, but for now note that rather than transforming us into quasi-angelic beings who have no use for gold, houses, and vineyards,8 our final salvation redeems these human products from the corroding cancer of sin.9
The point is that not only our souls but also our bodies and the earth itself, together with our cultural contributions, appear to survive the transition from this world to the next. Thus, if we grant that permanence is at least one indicator of a thing's importance, it seems evangelical Christians should stretch beyond their usual (and justified) concern for "spiritual things" and develop a well-rounded view of the world. We need to become, in the best sense of the word, "worldly Christians."
Worldly Christianity
Besides this issue of permanence, the sheer breadth of life compels us to develop a Christian worldview. Evangelical Christians have rightly emphasized spiritual activities, encouraging one another to "have their devotions," attend church, and witness to their unsaved family and friends. Personal acts of piety like these are the heart of the Christian life. They are extremely important activities, and all of us Christians, if we are honest, know that we can do better.
Still, it seems that many evangelicals have oversimplified the Christian life, reducing it to nothing more than these personal acts of piety. When someone asks how we are doing spiritually, we immediately examine our prayer lives, perhaps answering the question according to whether or not we had our "quiet time" this morning. When a preacher exhorts us to "return to our first love" or to "stop being lukewarm Christians," we immediately know what he means. We need to beef up our devotions, expand our prayer list, and extend ourselves to more unsaved friends. These things may be the heart of the Christian life, but I wonder whether they aren't overemphasized in some evangelical circles.
Think about your typical day. You wake up early so you can have a quick breakfast with your Daily Bread or other favorite devotional. After a hot shower, you're off to work, alternately praying and listening to the news as your car inches its way through the morning commute. Depending on your line of work, your day consists of meetings, phone calls, consultations with colleagues and clients, and tending to various other emergencies. Or it may consist of hammering wall studs and mounting drywall. On a good day you finish early enough to get a head start on the afternoon rush hour. As you breeze home, you savor the day's successes and fret about tomorrow's challenges while keeping one ear open for the traffic report. When you finally make it home, your evening may consist of reading the paper, a hasty meal, routine maintenance around the house, an hour or two of television or perhaps a trip to soccer practice. Somewhere during the late evening news you concede that you've had enough, and you head for bed, wondering how another promising day so quickly slipped away.
In this more or less typical day, look at how much time you spent on activities other than Bible reading, prayer, and evangelism. If Christianity speaks only to these personal acts of piety, then it does not address most of our lives at all. If life includes more than Bible reading, prayer, and evangelism, then the Christian life must include more as well.
It's a lot like sex. I propose that personal acts of piety are to the Christian life what sexual intimacy is to marriage. Sexual intimacy is one of the high points of marriage. For some, it's the main reason for getting married. But in the back of our minds we know that marriage involves much more than sex. After all, if a good marriage needs nothing more than sexual intimacy, why do the world's most beautiful people have so much trouble staying in love? Hollywood couples quickly discover that they need more from each other than just good lovin'. To survive, their marriage requires the more foundational glue of commitment, companionship, patience, encouragement, shared values, and sacrifice.
Just as intimacy is the climax but not the entirety of married life, so the Christian life culminates in--but is not exhausted by-- personal acts of piety. Marriages succeed when both partners learn to live together and support each other in every area: physically, emotionally, vocationally, and spiritually. In the same way, Christians succeed when they learn to honor God in every area of life.
This is why Christians need to develop a well-rounded worldview. It is not enough to have a "soul-view" or a "piety-view." We must learn to think Christianly about every aspect of our world. For instance, what should we think about brushing our teeth, making the bed, mowing the lawn, going to movies, buying a CD, playing softball, driving an SUV, watching the Simpsons, getting a job, starting a hobby, playing the stock market, weeding a garden, or taking music lessons? Or the Arab-Israeli conflict, global warming, abortion, genetic engineering, human cloning, the terrorism of September 11, drilling for oil in the Arctic wilderness, and mercy killing? In short, what should we think about all of the many big and small things we do or consider every day, choices that comprise our lives not so much because we are Christian but because we are human? Such questions only receive answers within a full-orbed Christian worldview.
What Is a Worldview?
Not everyone possesses a Christian worldview, but every person, whether or not they have ever heard of the term, has a worldview. The English term "worldview," a translation of the German word Weltanschauung, has been variously described as "perceptual frameworks," "ways of seeing," the "set of presuppositions . . . which we hold . . . about the basic make-up of the world," and "the conceptual framework of one's basic belief about things."10
The common theme running through these definitions suggests that a worldview is a framework of fundamental concepts or beliefs about the world. In short, a worldview comprises the lens through which we see the world. This lens is more like contact lenses than eyeglasses, for like the former, we so take it for granted that we often aren't consciously aware that we are wearing it.
While hassle-free living may be a key selling point for contacts, being hassle-free can be dangerous when it comes to worldviews. People who take their worldview for granted, never questioning its basic assumptions or wondering if a particular perspective is accurate, risk staking their lives on an unstable foundation. In time, when a major crisis thunders their way, they may discover, too late, that their worldview could not bear their weight.
To avoid such catastrophes, one goal of this book is to help us think more deeply about the worldview we currently own. Certainly we want to learn the content of the Christian worldview, but just as important, we must decipher the beliefs of our current perspective. Only by knowing both the truth and our present situation can we make the necessary adjustments to protect ourselves from the onslaughts of life.
The Structure of a Worldview
As a framework of basic beliefs about the world, it may help to picture our worldview as a series of concentric circles. Although every belief is related, at least indirectly, to every other belief in the web, the beliefs near the center form the core of our worldview while those on the fringes are more easily given up. Which beliefs are near the middle and which are on the margins depends largely on the ordering criteria we have in mind. Much as computer files may be sorted by date, size, or alphabetical order, so the beliefs in our worldview may be variously arranged according to their relative importance or level of certainty.
For example, a worldview arranged by importance may include on its margins such trivial notions as the widespread opinion that the New York Yankees will win the World Series (Fig. 1.1). This is a reasonable belief to hold, given the Yankees' recent track record and their ability to outbid any other team for the players they want. However, every now and then another team has a really good year and,
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 10
Preface 11
Acknowledgments 13
1. What You See Is What You Get 15
Part 1 What Is This Place?
2. Where Lies the Great Divide? 37
3. Where Are We? 50
4. Who Are We? 69
Part 2 Why Are We Here?
5. To Love God 87
6. To Serve Others 101
7. To Responsibly Cultivate the Earth 122
8. To Savor the Works of Our Hands 139
Part 3 What Is Wrong with Me and My World?
9. The Original Sin 157
10. The Fallout from the Fall 171
Part 4 What Is God's Plan for This World?
11. The Cosmic Reach of the Gospel 185
12. But What About...? 208
Notes 223
Expanding Your Worldview 241
Case Studies 253
Scripture Index 261
Subject Index 267
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First Chapter

Heaven Is a Place on Earth
This book is about the meaning in life. A slew of Christian books already address the meaning of life. Most of these rightly observe that we exist to love God through personal devotions and minister to others by sharing the gospel and making disciples of all nations. I wholeheartedly embrace these spiritual values. It is a privilege to ponder the Word of God, to pour out our heart to him in prayer, and to persuade other people to repent and follow our Savior. But this book is not about that.
Instead, I want to examine what these 'meaning of life' books typically overlook. They are right to tell us that we were created for worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship, and discipleship, but they are wrong to stop there. Look at that list again. While it more or less covers our responsibilities as Christians, it says little about what it means to be human. Does our purpose for life consist entirely in these spiritual activities, or is there also some value in showing up for work, waxing our car, playing with our children, or taking a trip to the beach---just a few of the many things we do, not because we are Christian, but primarily because we are human?
It is these distinctly human activities that this book seeks to address. Rather than encourage you to stretch forward to further pietistic pursuits (an important topic that has its place), I am more concerned here to renew our appreciation for the ordinary things we are already doing. In the process we will inevitably touch upon the meaning of life---that is, the purpose for our existence---but all the while our focus will be on the meaning in life---that is, the value within the normal, everyday activities that mark our human experience.
If I do my job well, you will come away from this book convinced of two important truths. First, God wants us to enjoy our earthly existence. We need not feel guilty for feeling at home in this world, for this planet is precisely where God wants us to be. As we learn from the opening pages of Genesis, it's good to be human and it's good to be here, on planet earth. Second, because this life matters to God, you will also be challenged to redirect every aspect of this existence to his honor and glory. No longer free to brush aside this earthly life as mere batting practice for our future, heavenly existence, we now recognize that whatever we do, regardless how seemingly small and insignificant, should be done with excellence 'in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him' (Colossians 3:17).
Both truths only make sense within a full-orbed Christian worldview, which is why I spend some time in chapter 1 explaining what a worldview is, how it works, and what might comprise its foundational beliefs. Finally, I have concluded the book with discussion questions and case studies for each chapter in a section entitled 'Expanding Your Worldview.' Those who use this material to facilitate smallgroup discussions will be able to contact me and download a free leader's guide and two bonus chapters (on the foundational beliefs of the Christian worldwiew) at www.heavenisaplaceonearth.com.
Acknowledgments It is sometimes difficult to know how far back to extend one's thankyous (witness the long and tiresome acceptance speeches at the Oscars), but I must begin with Joe Crawford and James Grier. I had attended twelve years of Christian school, four years of Christian college, one year of seminary, plus church services three times a week during that span and yet had never heard the life-changing truths of this book until I sat under their ministry at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. I would also like to thank Doug Felch, who kindly permitted me to use his informative chart on the image of God, and Neal Plantinga, whose inspiring lectures and writings have futher enlarged my understanding of the Christian worldview.
Besides these mentors, I am indebted to the editorial contributions of the gracious staff at Zondervan---Paul Engle, Jim Ruark, Tim Beals, Katya Covrett, and Greg Stielstra---and the many friends, such as Wendy Wi d d e r, Sharon Ross, Scott Morter, Jeff Lindell, Phil Wittmer, and Gary and Julie Childers, who gladly volunteered to read and comment on major portions of my manuscript. Their encouragement and insights have made this a better book.
Finally, I offer my most profound gratitude to my dear wife, Julie, who not only carefully (and critically!) read every page but, more important, daily implements its truth in our home, enabling me and our three children to enjoy firsthand the privilege of living within the liberty of the Christian worldview.
1 What You See Is What You Get
'Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth'. ARCHIMEDES (3RD CENTURY B.C.)
I don't want to go to heaven. Not that I'm lobbying for the other place---I want no part of everlasting fire and unbearable, unquenchable torment. The reason why I first repented and asked Christ to forgive my sin was to avoid going to hell. I became a Christian to get out of hell, not because I wanted to get into heaven. Before you judge me, remember why y o u said the Sinner's Prayer.
The delights of heaven may be to die for, but isn't that precisely the problem? Everyone who makes it into heaven has to leave this life to get there. Granted, death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person, but it's pretty close. All things being equal, I'd rather continue the earthly existence that I currently enjoy.
I'd love to go to heaven---for a visit. It will be unspeakably exhilarating to stand in the presence of God and sing his praises---but to do nothing except this forever and ever? That's a lot of rounds of 'Shine, Jesus, Shine.' Perhaps you think I'm being unfair. Well, what else do people do in heaven but worship God? As one preacher put it, 'I don't know what we're going to do there, but I promise you it won't be boring.' Thanks for the help. I want to believe you, but in the absence of any hard facts, I'm siding with Huckleberry Finn.
In a futile attempt to persuade a fidgety Huckleberry to behave, the stern Miss Watson warned her young charge about the hellish destiny of restless boys and the heavenly reward awaiting those who sit up straight and study their spelling books. According to Huckleberry, 'Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.'1
Huckleberry Finn is right: Heaven does sound boring. Who wants to go there? We are not cut out for the clouds. We don't make very good angels. Humans weren't made for heaven. As wonderful as it will be to praise God in his celestial glory, there is still one thing better---to kneel in the presence of God with the bodies he created us to have in the place he created us to live.
Heaven Is Not My Home, I'll Just Be Passin' Through
And this is precisely what God promises. Contrary to popular opinion, the Christian hope is not that someday all believers get to die and go to heaven. Indeed, the only reason anyone ever goes to heaven is sin. If Adam and Eve had never sinned, they would have continued to live on this planet, enjoying the beauty of creation as they walked in close fellowship with their Creator. However, as we will see in chapter 9, Adam's sin brought death into the world. Now all people must die---an event that separates their souls from their bodies. Their bodies immediately begin to decay, but their souls continue to live, either in hell with the damned or in heaven with Jesus Christ.
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