"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."
~ C.S. Lewis ~
I have a solid book recommendation for you: The Promise of Heaven (subtitle: Reflections on our Eternal Home), by Randy Alcorn.
I just read this book to my family, and it was wonderfully encouraging.
Check out the chapter titles:
- Why Should We Look Forward to Heaven?
- What Can We Know About Heaven?
- What Is the New Earth? What Will It Be Like?
- What Will Our Lives in Heaven Be Like?
- What Will We Do in Heaven?
- How Can We Know We're Going to Heaven?
The answers to all of those questions may have some surprises for you!
This is something of an abridged version of Alcorn's larger book entitled Heaven. And it's perfect for family reading. Wide-eyed children and gray-haired adults will both get a lot of our every chapter.
And the book is full of pictures. Beautiful pictures. Pictures of the same quality as the cover picture that you see above. The thought behind the pictures is summed up in this quote:
"This place will be beautiful beyond our wildest imagination. That's why this book is full of earthly pictures, not what we usually think of as "heavenly" ones. Understanding the New Earth is simple because it will be like the earth we're living on now -- only better. So as you enjoy these beautiful photographs taken by my friend John MacMurray, think of them as just a sampling of the beauty of God's coming New Earth."
Having a Biblical view of Heaven (and after that, the New Heavens and the New Earth) is central to so many things: a proper doctrine of creation, a strong sense of Christian hope, a fuller grasp of God's plan, the reality of what is promised us, a sober understanding of judgement and Hell, the ground of our salvation, a life lived storing up true treasures that will last forever, what happens after death, God's full purpose and intention for humanity, the Creator/creature distinction, the eternal communion of the saints, the centrality of Jesus... not to mention a more useful theology of pets, work, angels, worship, sin, reward, song, dance, marriage, arts, entertainment, sports, laughter, space exploration, food, drink, etc.
Read the book.