When you think of Heaven, what do you picture? Floating around as “spirit” singing hymns for all eternity? Maybe playing a harp while sitting on a cloud? Honestly, when I used to think of Heaven, I just kind of had a void in my mind because I really didn’t know what to picture. Many people believe that our souls are resurrected for all eternity, but that the other language in Scripture that depicts Heaven and things in Heaven as being physical is simply symbolic, that Heaven is simply spiritual and not really physical. But picture Heaven as being a physical place, with mountains and meadows and lakes and rivers and buildings and streets and work. Picture being reunited with our loved ones, really getting to walk with them and have conversations. How about meeting people that you never met on Earth but that influenced you in some way? If we are in a disembodied state floating on some cloud for all of eternity, how would we get to reunite with those we love, and meet those we love without ever having met them? Alcorn presents quite a strong case for Heaven being a physical place that occupies physical space and is made up of physical, tangible elements. How can I run and not be weary, walk and not faint, if I am only spirit? Scripture says that we will rule over cities, rule over the angels, serve the LORD for eternity. What will we rule and how will we serve if Heaven is not a physical place? Reading Alcorn’s description of Heaven as he has studied what Scripture says about it really excites me. I’m sure some will disagree with the idea of Heaven being literal and physical, but his arguments are pretty strong. Throughout the rest of the book he goes into greater detail about what we can infer from Scripture about the different components of Heaven, but for now I just want to meditate a while on getting to walk beside a river with the One Who died for me, to touch Him and hold His scarred hands and talk with Him. That is something worth thinking about.
Note: For anyone who is curious about Alcorn’s teaching on Heaven but does not want to wade through a theological work (although this book is really smooth reading), I strongly recommend his novels, Deadline and Dominion, along with Deception which is recently out. He intermingles his doctrine of Heaven with a suspenseful, thought-provoking plot that makes for an excellent read.