Randy Alcorn. Heaven . Tyndale. 2004.
Author Randy Alcorn has no subtitle to his book Heaven, but I thought a good one would be: Real New Earth. He describes New Earth and New Heaven brilliantly.
I'm reviewing this book in two parts due to the comprehensive nature of the book.
"Enchanting" is the best way to describe Alcorn's writing. He is a Bible scholar, author of 20 books, and a leading authority on the subject of Heaven.
Stu Weber, pastor and author of The Tender Warrior writes of Alcorn's Heaven, "Other than the Bible itself, this book may well be the single most life changing book you'll ever read." He goes on to add that this book has "given me a fresh sense of purpose and drive."
A fresh sense of purpose. That's a good description of this book.
I couldn't help contrasting this book's ideas on a New Earth with Tolle's version. The term "New Earth" itself comes from the Bible, and while Tolle uses it in his book and as the title of his book, he only picks and chooses which scriptures he favors.
Conversely, Randy Alcorn's description of "The New Earth" comes from all available statements from the Bible, many that Tolle chose to ignore which I believe relevant for a full understanding. This point is important and is a basic fact we cannot overlook. While Tolle's A New Earth includes numerous quotes from Jesus in the New Testament, he ignores a startling truth, which the New Testament hinges on.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." John 14:6. He did not say, I am ONE of the ways.
The point that needs to be made here, to understand Randy Alcorn's book Heaven, you cannot ignore the one point it all hinges on. Jesus cannot be quoted because of being a "good teacher." C.S. Lewis said he was either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. A lunatic for claiming to be the son of God. A liar, which would make him a bad person. Or indeed who he said he was--Lord, the son of God. It can't be both ways.
So which of the three do you believe about Jesus. If Tolle is going to use Jesus's words, why should we believe anything he's written as truth if he doesn't say Jesus is the way. Christ said, "I am the way." Emphasis added. So who does Tolle believe him to be? Liar or Lunatic? Yet, he quotes him in his book.
Randy Alcorn says, "When we realize that God calls us to be like children and that he'll give us a new universe and unlimited time, then we suddenly 'get it.'"
Jesus says, "Unless you become like little children," not people with a higher consciousness. Little children believe. They have the utmost faith until this fallen world robs them of it.
Heaven, the book, talks about our dreams and aspirations that may never be fulfilled on this present earth. This book is uplifting, written with grace and beauty, full of hope.
"Our dreams will expand, not shrink...revived and enhanced. Perhaps that's part of what it means to become like a little child and why childlikeness is necessary for Heaven."
Both authors of New Earth doctrine, Tolle and Alcorn, agree that this earth will become what we call Heaven.
Randy Alcorn says, "... God is not unjust, and this is not our only chance at life on earth." (Emphasis original text)
He tells us earlier in this book:
In this world...human imagination and skill have produced some remarkable works. The statues of Easter Island. Stonehinge. Shakespeare's plays. Beethhoven's Ninth Symphony. The Golden Gate Bridge. Baseball. Heart transplants. Prenatal surgery. Microwave ovens. DVDs. The space shuttle. Chocolate ice cream. Pecan Pie. Sports cars. It's a list that never ends. With the resources God will lavishly give us on the New Earth, what will we be able to accomplish together?
Alcorn says of our lifelong views of Heaven, where we will play harps, wear halos, watch angels and sing unending hymns, a lot of people say they'd rather be "having fun in hell than be bored in Heaven." This book tells us just the opposite is true. Hell is boredom. Heaven is where the fun will be.
Early on, the book deals with the "theology of Heaven" and introduces the New Earth concept. It's not as exciting to read as the last two parts, but the author tells us in the intro that it's necessary to our understanding of the rest of the book. I agree to an extent.
If you have no concept of God the creator and Bible teachings, you probably should read Part I. I got too excited and had to skip around a little, but did go back and finish the first part, which yielded some great truths.
Additionally, the ultimate question is addressed in Part I. Who goes to Heaven, who inhabits the New Earth?
This will be in Part II, which will deal with our Life Purpose. Stay tuned.