Heaven Is Not Your Final Destination

Editor's Note: Is the resurrection only spiritual? Will we have bodies in Heaven or will we be spirits for eternity? These questions are common questions that have been asked for centuries. Dr. Horton gives an answer in Episode 16 of the Core Christianity Radio Show. 

The pagan, Greek view that we've inherited as a civilization says that the body is a prison-house of the soul. So, once we die, the soul is finally freed from its bodily care and purpose and flies up like a butterfly to be reunited with the divine, one of which is a spark. Okay, that's the pagan view.

Now, the Bible does teach that when we die the soul is separated from the body and enjoys conscious existence in the presence of the Lord. And that's wonderful, but it's not the climax. In contrast with pagan thinking, the Bible affirms this world. It affirms creation and the body. We're not saved from this world, but with this world. 

The soul was never intended to be separated from the body. That's the result of death, which is the penalty for sin. The separation of body and soul is only temporary. And that's why we call it the "Intermediate State." It's not the final state. The final state is the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. So any gospel, so called, that stops short of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting, that there will be no continuity between this earth we're living on right now and our everlasting state, is not reading the Bible correctly.

The distinction between heaven and earth will disappear. Heaven will be on Earth, a renewed Earth, not a different world but a world in a totally different condition. At the end of the day here, "no eye has seen or heard what God has prepared for those who love Him" [1 Cor. 2:9]. 

We don't know exactly how all this is going to play out. But we do know this: after Jesus rose from the dead, he was hungry, and he asked for fish. We do know that Jesus was fully human, a ghost doesn't have flesh and bones, as you see that I have, he said, after the resurrection when he met up with the disciples. As goes the head, so go, the members. Our resurrection is going to be like Jesus' resurrection. And if that same Jesus who died on the cross was raised, this same world is going to be raised not just us as individuals. 

Paul says in Romans 8 that the whole creation is waiting for its redemption from bondage to decay. So it's not the soul looking for redemption from the body and this world. It is the body and the soul and the whole creation longing to be redeemed and together join in the celebration of God's redemption in Jesus Christ. 

Adapted from an answer given in Episode 16 of Core Christianity.


Related Resources:

5 Things You Need to Believe About Jesus' 2nd Coming

4 Reasons Why You Should Believe in Heaven

7 Ways the Ascension of Christ Changed Everything

How Can We Rejoice In Heaven While People We Love Suffer in Hell?

7 Things You Need to Know About Heaven

Photo of Michael Horton

Michael Horton

Michael Horton (@MichaelHorton_) is the Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. The author of many books, including Core Christianity, he is also the host of the new Core Christianity radio show, a daily Bible question-and-answer show broadcasting nationwide. He lives with his wife Lisa and four children in Escondido, California. 

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