This volume is about Christian hope. Part of the Christian hope is heaven. The promise of an afterlife in heaven places our lives in a larger context, to fix us to a firm foundation. Bierma takes a look at the reasons why hope for the afterlife is not a heartfelt reality in our daily walk. Part of the answer can be found in misrepresentations people have about heaven and afterlife and Christ’s return, like the rapture.
In this chapter Longman introduces the book of Proverbs. Different aspects of the book are explored: it title, canonicity, place and function in the canon, authorship, date, social setting, text, genre (wisdom), literary style, structure, ancient Near Eastern background, Sumerian wisdom, Egyptian instruction, and Akkadian wisdom.
Chapter 2 addresses man’s ill-motivated interest in heaven, angels, and the afterlife. Much of this interest flows from gullible superstition, Gnosticism, occultism, or New Age philosophies. The author examines popular claims to near-death experiences, including Todd Burpo’s claims to being a visitor to heaven.
What is heaven and what might it be like? Heaven is often associated with the life hereafter. In chapter 1 of this book, the author attempts to explain why every major religion and every significant culture in human history has had some notion of heaven or “paradise.” Different names are used: nirvana, Elysium, Valhalla, Utopia, Shangri-La, etc.