As we sail on the calm sea of faith, we are given the reassuring hope of a beautiful land lying just beyond the horizon.  But beware; there’s a subtle, slow current that can so easily push us in the wrong direction towards a disappointing substitute.  The ultimate Christian hope is bodily resurrection in a renewed Earth, but ideas originating in Platonism and Gnosticism have led many believers into a watered-down hope – the prospect of an eternity as disembodied souls in a non- material “heaven”.  Don’t be misled.  Resurrection is real.

Sadly, there are many Christians who assume that what the Bible really means, when it talks about our life in eternity, is that we will live as spirits without bodies.  But that’s not what the Bible says at all.  Scripture is emphatic that the resurrection on the last day will be a physical rebirth.  We will have new bodies on a new Earth.  We will not go to heaven. On the contrary, heaven will come to us.

Some teachers have suggested that the destiny of the redeemed is to be in an eternal present, where time no longer exists. Do you aspire to be an immovable image, eternally looking out with a beneficent smile, as if from a painting? That doesn’t appeal to me – and it doesn’t fit with Bible teaching, which describes a universe that had a beginning and that will come to an ending but, and here’s the thing – both ends are really transitions. Whether you take the Genesis story or the Big Bang theory, the “beginning” proceeds from something [1]. And the Bible’s apocalyptic visions point to a glorious prospect of life, and that means active life.

Resurrection is Christianity’s foundational doctrine.  As Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.[2]   Christ’s resurrection, remember, was in a physical body that could be seen and touched.  Paul said that Christ was the first to be raised in that way, and we who believe will be raised in the same manner.  Unfortunately, the unscriptural beliefs about “going to heaven” have invaded some of our music, and many churchgoers learn their doctrine from songs.  Art is a pervasive form of indoctrination – so I’m using another art form to correct the story.

Belief depends partly on imagination.  We visualise a concept before we believe it.  So, what about making a journey to a planet where resurrection life is the normal experience?  Shemayin is a fantasy adventure story based around a planet that’s physically much like Earth, but totally different in culture and morals. Danny, the hero of the story, quantum leaps to Shemayin and, once he accepts that his experience is real, rather than a dream, he is shown around and asks the kind of questions we might ask – like “how can a body be resurrected after it’s been destroyed?”, and “what will we do all day in eternity?”  Danny’s experiences offer a spur to our imagination, making it easier to believe and look forward to our future resurrection.

To discover what the New Testament apostles believed and taught about “life after death”, read what the Bible actually says.  A good place to start is 1 Corinthians chapter 15.  Much of the chapter speaks about Christ’s resurrection which, remember, was in a body that could be seen and touched, and was seen eating. When it comes to our resurrection don’t be confused by ideas of disembodied souls.  Our new bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body.  Incorruptible – yes!  Insubstantial – no!  And everything the apostles preached in the book of Acts tells the same story.  There’s a host of New Testament texts that reinforce this point, so I’m listing them in the footnote.[3]

Note what the Bible teaches and believe it.  But, to boost your imagination of life in a renewed Earth, read the book, “Shemayin: A world at peace.[4]

© Derrick Phillips2022

[1] See my earlier blog No Beginning
[2] 1 Corinthians 15:14
[3] To study the Bible teaching about the Christian hope of resurrection on a renewed Earth, you may like to read the following passages: Isaiah 11:69, 65:17-25, 66:12-14 and 18-24; Daniel 7:13-14, 26; John 5:25 and 11:25; Acts 1:11;  Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; Ephesians 1:9-10 and 19-23; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Peter 1:3-5;  2 Peter 3:13; 1 John 3:2; Revelation chapters 20 and 21.
[4] The book, Shemayin: A world at peace, is available worldwide from Amazon in paperback or Kindle eBook format.

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