In this ten-minute roundtable, John Piper, Scott Swain, and Randy Alcorn take up the thorny topic of heaven in the hopes defining a correct view of heaven, providing a more biblically-informed picture of our future home.
Scott Swain is encouraged as Christianity is currently embracing a more correct view of heaven than in years past. Specifically, Swain would like to see more of an emphasis on the joy of being with God. “The best part of the future,” he says quietly, “is that God will dwell in our midst.”
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In another article on Heaven, Randy Alcorn says, “Will we be with the Lord forever? Absolutely. Will we always be with God in the same place Heaven is now? No. In the present Heaven, God’s people are in Christ’s presence, free of sin and suffering and enjoying great happiness: “in your presence there is fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11). But they’re still looking forward to their bodily resurrection and permanent relocation to the New Earth. So, yes, after death we’ll always be in Heaven, but not in the same place or the same condition.
To illustrate, imagine you lived in a homeless shelter in Miami. One day you inherit a beautiful house overlooking Santa Barbara, California, and are given a wonderful job doing something you’ve always wanted to do. Many friends and family will live nearby.
As you fly toward Santa Barbara, you stop at the Dallas airport for a layover. Other family members you haven’t seen in years meet you. They will board the plane with you to Santa Barbara. Naturally you look forward to seeing them in Dallas, your first stop.
But if someone asks where you’re going, would you say “Dallas”? No. You would say Santa Barbara, because that’s your final destination. Dallas is just a temporary stop. At most you might say “I’m going to Santa Barbara, with a brief stop in Dallas.”
Similarly, the present Heaven is a temporary dwelling place, a stop along the way to our final destination: the New Earth. (Granted, the Dallas analogy isn’t perfect—being with Jesus and reunited with loved ones will be immeasurably better than a layover in Dallas!)”