It’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been working (whenever I have a few minutes) on the next midrash on Hosea, which would be chapter 5. It’s turned out to be one of the more difficult texts to interpret and I can see why people have a hard time with the prophets. But I had a breakthrough in my readings, so that should help. Other than that, I’ve been extremely busy.
But today I wanted to quickly post a question to see people think on this subject (see: post title). My friend Ted Howard has loaned me a good book by N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, and it has really got me thinking about many of my preconceived notions about what heaven life after death will be like. I crossed through “heaven” just now because this book has seriously called into doubt everything I’ve thought my whole life on life after death. While Wright’s ideas are radically different than the mainstream Christian thought on the subject, it’s strangely not against the bible. One of the points he makes early on (and due to being very busy, I’m only in Chapter 3) is that people have alot of ideas about what happens after you die and that most are either not entirely biblically-based or just flat-out wrong.
So, my question to all of you is this: what happens when you die? From the point of death, what happens next? Do you go up to heaven immediately (ala Rich Man and Lazarus parable by Jesus), do you sit in the ground and wait for judgment day, or do you do something else like become a ghost or spirit messing with people? Is there going to be a “rapture”? When does judgment day occur and what happens? Does God just have a big timer set up in heaven and when it goes off he calls up Jesus and says “Jesus: you are clear for launch”? (the last question could be probably less sarcastically said “Is the time of the second coming just an arbitrary point in time, such that it could be ‘any old time’ like today or tomorrow?”) Or do you think there a bit more purpose behind the second coming as to when it will occur? What happens to earth and the current material physical universe after the second coming? Where do the bad people go and is there really such a place as “Hell” or is it a metaphor? Where do the good people go? Once you’re in eternal paradise, how do all those “treasures stored up in heaven” come into play? Are those treasures literally a “mansion on a hilltop”? Or is it something else entirely? And once “the door is shut” and eternity in paradise starts…what do you do for eternity?
Hmm…looks like that’s waaaaay too much for one reply. So let’s take them one at a time instead. The above questions are what we’ll talk about together in a series, but let’s start with just the first specific one:
From the point of death, what happens next? Be specific. Do you go up to heaven immediately (ala Rich Man and Lazarus parable by Jesus), do you sit in the ground and wait for judgement day, or do you do something else like become a ghost or spirit messing with people?