What happens when we die? What will heaven ultimately be like? The Bible gives Christians much to hope for when it comes to our future. For the Christian, heaven is being with Christ (Phil. 1:23). It’s paradise (Luke 23:43). It’s the ‘new heaven and the new earth’ (Rev. chapter 21). It’s ‘gain’ (Phil.1:21). It’s the ‘resurrection’ (1 Cor. chapter 15).
The Bible employs a host of imagery when it comes to both the afterlife and the final state of believers. Why? American theologian Richard Mouw says,
“My own hunch is that God has provided us with a rich storehouse of diverse images of the afterlife, all of them hints in the direction of something that is beyond our present comprehension, so that we can be free to draw on one or another of them as a particular situation in our life may require.”
In other words, the many varied images and concepts about the afterlife and ‘heaven’ are given so that, in particular times of need, we may be encouraged about what is to come. If I am lonely, knowing one day I’ll be with Christ is a great comfort. If my body is failing, knowing a resurrection body awaits is wonderful. If I am discouraged about the state of the world in general, I can rest in the promise that God will remake and renew this broken place, fill it with his glory, and give me a place in it.
Soli Deo Gloria.