“Heaven is important, but it’s not the end of the world.”
I haven’t been able to get this quote from N.T. Wright out of my head this week! Over the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting, trying to speak about things the way the Bible really speaks about things. One result is that I have rid my vocabulary of the phrase “dying and going to heaven.” The whole concept, let alone the phrase itself, is simply not biblical in that it stops short of what the Bible really says about the end of the world. Instead, I’ve been trying to remind myself and others that the end, the goal, of creation and redemption is New Creation, the New Heavens and New Earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Rev. 21:1) So when I die someday, I will, along with all of the redeemed, die and go to the New Heavens and New Earth. But not only that, my new life in Jesus that I experience today is the beginning of this new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) that will come in its fullness when he returns!
“HEAVEN IS IMPORTANT, BUT IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD; God will make new heavens and new earth, and give us new bodies to live and work and take delight in his new creation. And the ‘good news’ of the Christian gospel is that this new world, this new creation, has already begun: it began when Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead on Easter morning, having faced and beaten the double enemy, sin and death, that has corrupted and defaced God’s lovely creation.”
–N.T. Wright, from a sermon entitled “The Road to New Creation.”