Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Heaven/Hell:It's Just Not the Point

My VETAMORPHUS class this week has set me the extremely easy task of presenting a seminar paper on heaven/hell-a nice easy topic to start the year off!

I'm finding Brian McLaren's book, The Last Word, and the Word After That to be very helpful, as is the discussion going onat Signposts at the moment.

I liked this quote from the Rev “I am sick of the idea that we live for an eternal reward, or an escape from an eternal punishment. I live for Christ and to share the kingdom of God, the justice, the mercy, the peace and most of all the love. My eternal destination is not my motivation, but Christ is. Very much along my line of thinking.

As is this: However, the idea of the kingdom of God come and the idea of the gospel being the kingdom and not personal salvation is something that I have believed for a long time.
So the kingdom of God is not heaven, the kingdom is now. When you forsake all and follow Christ, you bring the kingdom of God into this world

I also liked the quote 'Christianity is a way of living, not dying' that I saw somewhere.

Although i wholeheartedly agree with Neil in The Last Word that hell and heaven are totally not the point, it still is a fascinating idea, and it annoys me when he gets annoyed with Dan for keeping on asking questions about it, becasue its a huge issue for most people.

May or may not get around to posting some more thoughts on this.


Garth said...

I think its interesting too that its not preached anymore, its not fashionable. Our focus is with the here and now, so our perspective is consequently less eternal which translates to, "if this is the only life I have....then I'll stress about [insert issue]" and all sorts of things become far too important.

I think for a place that we are to spend eternity in, we know and speak of it very little.

thomas said...

must say i share a similar viewpoint on the whole idea of living for the 'reward' of eternal life in heaven; seems to me to be a bit self focussed, when here on earth my personal aim is to be god focussed... what do you think?

is wanting to be with god in heaven for eternal life a 'self' or 'god' thing?

Digger said...

Yeah I think in a way thats a good thing Garth, that we don't get caught up waiting for heaven, but of course it can go the other way, when we don't have any perspective on the issues we are currently facing.

I think for me, thats exactly the point, we do know very little of it, so how can I preach/teach/authoratatively on it?

Digger said...

Yeah i totally agree thomas, great point. If the reason we are being God focussed here is for heaven, then really thats a false God thing, and just about ourselves.

andrew said...

Thanks for this post Digger. I have recently finished McLarens book "The Last Word" and also found the discussions at Signposts to be helpful.

As with most things I think it is not an either/or but a both/and. In 2 Cor 5 Paul says, "Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling" which implies to me that there is something critical about finding our "hope" in being finally and fully at home with the Lord. But in scripture this is never the "motiviation" for becoming a Christian but part of the overall fabric of living as a Christian.

Have you ever read anything by Ted Dekker? In his first non-fiction book "The Slumber of Christianity" he speaks about the expectation and longing for heaven as being critical to the living of our story here and now. I think there is a lot of truth to this. As a writer of fiction he states that a story without a climax is not really a good story at all!

But ultimately, yes, we need to be living in such a way as to be exploring and expressing the kingdom of God on earth here and now!