Monday, February 1, 2010

going home to heaven...isn't biblical?

going to heaven when we die is an expressly greek imagination, informed by the thought that material world is evil and we need to be liberated from the material world into the realm of the ideal. This is based on the idea that a perfect god can have no interaction with imperfect humans, if a god does, then he is not perfect. problem is, when god created earth, he saw that it was good. it is very difficult to reconcile greek philosophy and the hebrew bible because they start from two very different assumptions.

greek thought --> creation is bad, we need to be liberated from this world so that we can commune with a perfect god that otherwise can't interact with humans because he is removed from the bad creation
jewish thought --> creation is good, god interacts with humans through creation, he is present with us in his creation
jesus' thought --> creation is good enough to die for

if we take our christianity to be rooted in judaism, we should think that heaven/the kingdom of god is meant to come to earth (as espoused in the bible, hebrew and christian), that paradise as jesus spoke of is merely a waiting place for those who die until the kingdom is fully realized on earth. the idea that we are "going home to heaven" is rooted in the greek thoughts of trying to escape this world in order to interact with a perfectly removed god. this is not and can not be reconciled with a god that came to earth to die for the creation that he said was good.

the intermixing of greek philosophy and biblical thought is a symptom of the spread of the gospel into the greek world. the spread i am thankful for, but not the intermixing. it is time to get our worldviews straightened out.

if we are to prioritize a biblical worldview over a worldview influenced greatly by greek philosophy (much of which stands in stark contrast to biblical thinking), then we must not consider heaven our home and earth just a pitstop, but exactly the opposite.

more on this later when I don't have a pile of homework.