Life Promises for Eternity
By RANDY ALCORN
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2012 Eternal Perspective Ministries
All right reserved.
Chapter One Eternal Promises
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever. PSALM 138:8
"I know the plans I have for you," declares the lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." JEREMIAH 29:11
Our Desire is God's Idea
Charles Spurgeon expressed this perspective on death: "To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes."
What God made us to desire, and therefore what we do desire if we admit it, is exactly what he promises to those who follow Jesus Christ: a resurrected life in a resurrected body, with the resurrected Christ on a resurrected earth. our desires correspond precisely to God's plans. it's not that we want something, so we engage in wishful thinking that what we want exists. it's the opposite—the reason we want it is precisely because God has planned for it to exist. resurrected people living in a resurrected universe isn't our idea—it's God's.
The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. GENESIS 2:7
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. JOB 33:4
Let Your Heavenly Imagination Soar
As human beings, whom God made to be both physical and spiritual, we are not designed to live in a non-physical realm—indeed, we are incapable of even imagining such a place (or, rather, non-place). An incorporeal state is not only unfamiliar to our experience, it is also incompatible with our God-given constitution. We are not, as Plato supposed, merely spiritual beings temporarily encased in bodies.
Adam did not become a "living being"—the Hebrew word nephesh—until he was both body and spirit (Genesis 2:7). We are physical beings as much as we are spiritual beings. That's why our bodily resurrection is essential to endow us with eternal righteous humanity, setting us free from sin, the Curse, and death.
We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine. That's why, I believe, God has given us glimpses of Heaven in the Bible—to fire up our imaginations and kindle a desire for Heaven in our hearts.
The Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. GENESIS 2:8-9
God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. ISAIAH 42:5, NLT
Hinting at What's to Come
Scripture provides us with a substantial amount of information, direct and indirect, about the world to come, with enough detail to help us envision it, but not so much as to make us think we can completely wrap our minds around it. I believe that God expects us to use our imagination, even as we recognize its limitations and flaws. If God didn't want us to imagine what Heaven will be like, he wouldn't have told us as much about it as he has.
In order to get a picture of Heaven—which will one day be centered on the New Earth—you don't need to look up at the clouds; you simply need to look around you and imagine what all this would be like without sin and death and suffering and corruption.
Excerpted from Life Promises for Eternity by RANDY ALCORN Copyright © 2012 by Eternal Perspective Ministries. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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