Religious History

A Brief History of Heaven by Alister E. McGrath

By Alister E. McGrath

Эта книга одного из самых известных современных христианских авторов исследует историю небес, от их происхождения в библейских письменах к самым новым представлениям о них.


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She is a tree of life to those that take hold of her” (Proverbs 3:18) . . Any who have not believed in Christ, or have not grasped that he is the first principle and the tree of life is unable to celebrate this feast, since they cannot show to God their tabernacles adorned with the most lovely of fruits. How shall they rejoice? So do you want to know the lovely fruit of the tree? Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how pleasant they are. Good fruit came by Moses, that is the Law, but not so lovely as the Gospel.

Access to paradise, which was lost through Adam, has been regained through Jesus Christ, the “new Adam” who brings about a reversal and transformation of the human situation (Romans 5:14–16; 1 Corinthians 15:45–8). This theme is developed in the Pauline letters, which explore the complex interplay between paradise as a future hope for believers, and its anticipation in the present. Yet there are strong hints of the paradise theme elsewhere in the New Testament. One of the most important resurrection scenes in John’s Gospel is set in a garden (John 19:41).

They were healthy in body, and peaceful in soul. In paradise, it was neither too hot nor too cold . . There was no sadness, nor any foolish joy, for true gladness flowed ceaselessly from the presence of God. Augustine’s depiction of paradise has important implications for his concept of heaven, in that the life to come involves the restoration of the conditions of this earthly paradise. The Millennium as Paradise One of the most interesting aspects of early Christian reflections concerning the afterlife is its interest in the idea of the millennium – the period of one thousand years which, according to the Book of Revelation, intervenes between the coming of Christ and the final judgment.

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