Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, is an encouraging and stirring look at the life that is in store for those who trust in Jesus Christ. Alcorn, the author of several Christian fiction and nonfiction works, exercises skill in biblical interpretation and in healthy, sanctified imagination to paint for his readers a picture of the glory that awaits. The result of this study is that the reader will both long for heaven and will better glorify God in the here and now.
The best thing about this work is the way in which Alcorn helps his readers to really spend time thinking about and longing for heaven. He helps us to see that heaven is not a nebulous existence in which bored saints sit on clouds in a vast sky, plinking on harps, and wondering if anything interesting will happen. As the Bible teaches and Alcorn emphasizes, eternal life for believers involves living with resurrected and perfected bodies on a recreated and perfected planet earth under the lordship of the gloriously present Lord Jesus. Heaven is not “up there,” but instead is “down here,” on an earth freed from the curse of sin after the return of Jesus. This is good information for believers, and Alcorn presents it thoroughly.
Some of the author’s arguments, while possibly true, are not as strong as one would wish to see in a book that is intending to develop readers’ theology. Alcorn’s argument for saints in the intermediate heaven having temporary bodies is one example of this weaker reasoning.
The book can, in places, also grow tedious. Readers may find themselves saying, “Yes, I believe you, now go on to the next point already.” Of course, this is merely what happens when the author tries to thoroughly make his case, but it can detract from the overall experience of the book, especially when using an audio book format which is tougher to skim.
Believers need to have a more eternal focus in their lives in order to properly glorify God in the present. Heaven certainly begins to stir that eternal thinking for a believer, offering comfort and a longing for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises. Most believers would benefit from some time spent with this work, so long as they can be charitable in places where the arguments may be thinner or where sanctified imagination is clearly at work.