What Are the Four Most Common Misconceptions about Heaven?
Misconception 1: That the present Heaven, where Christians go when we die, is the same place we will live forever. In fact, when we die we go to be with Christ, which is wonderful, but we are incomplete, in a pre-resurrected state, anticipating Christ’s return to earth, and our resurrections. The place we’ll live forever will be where God comes down to dwell with us, on the New Earth (Revelation 21:1-3).
Misconception 2: The physical realm is evil, and God’s plan is to permanently destroy it and deliver our spirits to live without bodies. In fact, God created the physical realm and called it “very good.” He has never given up on his original plan for physical human beings to rule the earth for his glory. God sent his Son to permanently become a man and redeem and restore the physical universe—including our bodies and the earth—to become all He desires it to be. That’s why Jesus spoke of the “renewal of all things” (Matthew 19:27-28), and Peter preached that Christ will “remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:21). Isaiah and other prophets speak in detail about the Earth being returned to the perfection God designed for it. Speaking of an earthly kingdom, an angel reveals, “But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever” (Daniel 7:18). This is not for a thousand years, but forever.
Misconception 3: There will be nothing to do, and it’ll be boring and predictable, without adventure, discovery, process and progress. This is as wrong as it could be, as I develop in the Heaven book.
Misconception 4: We’ll be absorbed with God and lose our identities. That is Hinduism, not Christianity, but surprisingly many Christians seem to believe it. In fact, resurrection means we will retain our identities and be forever reestablished as individuals, liberated to see God and worship him as our primary joy and the source of all derivative joys. Job said, “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another” (Job 19:26-27).
For more information on the subject of Heaven, see Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven.