Article

Heaven

Jerry L. Walls

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195170498.003.0023

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One of the most basic and existentially engaging of all questions is the question of what level of happiness and fulfillment is possible for human beings. Theism in general, and Christianity in particular, has returned the answer that the possibilities are beyond our deepest dreams and wildest imaginings. If the hope of heaven is a function of belief in God, then how heaven is conceived accordingly will be shaped by how God is understood. In light of this point, it is important to emphasize that the Christian view of God makes distinctive claims that go beyond generic theism. In particular, the doctrine of the Trinity provides rich resources for articulating the idea of a personal God whose very nature is love. This article examines differing conceptions of heaven, including the views of Alister McGrath, Colleen McDannell, Bernhard Lang, and Thomas Aquinas. It also discusses grace, freedom, exclusion, and inclusion as well as the doctrine of eternal hell, boredom in heaven, and heaven as a moral source.

Keywords: God; heaven; happiness; love; theism; grace; freedom; exclusion; inclusion; hell

Article.  7461 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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