Questions from a Reader of the Heaven Book: What about Paradise, Is the Curse Separate from Sin, and Are We Living in the Tribulation?
Question from a reader:
I am working my way through your book Heaven. I have three questions:
First question: I understand the reason for distinguishing between the Intermediate or Present Heaven and the New Earth, where we will ultimately spend eternity. But if Jesus referred to it as Paradise (and you do mention this, but only in passing), why not refer to the Present Heaven that way?
Second question: you refer to sin and the Curse, seemingly as separate ideas or things, but I always thought the two were the same, that sin was the Curse—that we live in a broken, cursed world because of sin and evil. Would you be willing to explain to me the difference between the two terms?
Third question: do you believe that we are currently living in the Tribulation? I don't believe it’s necessary to consider the seven-year period of Tribulation a literal figure—since seven is the number of completeness, that number may simply imply that the Tribulation will be a complete end to most of the Christian influence on civilization (war, terrorism, mass murder, etc.), an end to habitable living conditions on our planet, and an end to man's ability to successfully treat diseases any more. By that definition, I’d say we’re well into the Tribulation.
Answer from Chelsea Dudley, EPM staff:
Thanks so much for sending your questions. Randy asked me to respond on his behalf.
Here are some thoughts to each of your questions:
- While the Bible uses the term paradise, the term theologians often use is the intermediate Heaven, and while Randy also uses it, he prefers the term present Heaven.
Randy writes, “‘Intermediate’ confuses people into thinking it’s halfway between Heaven and Hell or limbo, or something else. Intermediate refers not to location, between this and that, but to the time between Christ’s ascension and return, and in premillennialism eschatology also to the time of the millennium. Once there is the final resurrection and judgment of Revelation 20 and the inauguration of the New Earth in Revelation 21, what I now call the present Heaven will be brought down forever to the New Earth, and likely to the whole of the New Cosmos/universe, i.e. the New Heavens and the New Earth.”
Here is an article on Paradise that I think you might find interesting.
- The curse is a result of sin and a consequence for sin, but they are not the same thing. Sin is rebellion against God. It is missing the mark of God’s standards. The curse is a result of sin. We first read about the curse in Genesis 3:14-19 and see its effects throughout the rest of the Bible and all over our world.
- Here are some articles about what Randy believes about the end times, the rapture, and the millennium.
Hope this is helpful. We wish you God’s best.
Chelsea Dudley works at Eternal Perspective Ministries as Randy Alcorn's Executive Assistant.