This book by Randy Alcorn is awesome. It quotes scripture (that means everything to me) and makes me even more homesick than I already was. It is so comforting to know where my soul will be when I am at last called home and get to see my God - my Father - my Creator face-to-face.
A friend of mine passed this book on to me when my fiance went home to be with the Lord nearly five years ago. It was extremely helpful to me as I went through the grieving process, and it brought great hope and peace to my heart. Since I had to return the book to my friend, I purchased one recently to re-read and to keep on hand as a great reference. This book has revolutionized my thinking about heaven. It has helped me to understand the reality of heaven as a physical place, the continuity of this life with the next, and the grand scope of redemption that Jesus paid for us - both for us, individually, as well as for all of His creation. I highly recommend this book!
I was greatly blessed by this book and my anticipation of our life in Christ after this present world was challenged and stirred to greater expectations. It gives you a 'solid' feel for the 'afterlife'. This will challenge your heart and expectations in the greatness of our salvation in Christ.
I had heard a lot about this book, and was hoping it would teach me more about what the Bible says about heaven.
Randy Alcorn began the book by stating some of the things many believe about heaven and hell. Then, he explains that heaven and hell are real, physical places, and that they are our eternal destinations, and that the default for all of us, until we come to faith in Christ, is hell.
Which is all scripturally based.
Then, he begins to introduce other ideas. Revelation 21:1-3 says that there is a new heaven, and a new earth, and the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. Alcorn, however, states that heaven is actually where God is, and that the new earth will be the new heaven (p. 45 of the hardcover).
While John calls this the new heaven and new earth (again, Rev. 21:1-3), Alcorn states that it is actually the old earth, restored. While John called it a new earth, it's not really a new earth at all. 'So will the earth we know come to an end? Yes. To a final end? No.' (p. 90-91 hardcover). This is also in contrast to 2 Peter 3:10, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
The elements will be destroyed, but somehow, they will be then renewed. While I don't argue with God's ability to do this, it isn't a biblical idea. Just an imaginative one.
On p. 103 of the hardcover, he states, As God and man will be forever united in Jesus, so Heaven and Earth will for-ever be united in the new physical universe where we will live as resurrected beings. To affirm anything less is to understate the redemptive work of Christ.
So if you don't believe that the new heaven and the new earth are one, you are understating the redemptive work of Christ! It would be challenging to prove that from scripture.
This type of thinking is the foundation for the book. It really isn't a biblical perspective on heaven. In fact, most of it relates not to heaven, but to his vision of the new earth, which is in his mind, is also the new heaven.
Initially, I had hoped to write up my problems with the book, but by page 130 of the book, I had 11 pages of notes. If the book was biblically based, that shouldn't happen.
If you buy this book, look up the verses referenced, and others. Look at the verses, separate from the book. Ask God if they really mean what Randy believes they mean. Study of the Bible should help us better understand God and truth, it shouldn't lead to mere conjecture. And this book is based significantly on conjecture.