It seems heaven has been a frequent topic around me lately. My most recent book review book is no exception.
In his book Heaven Revealed, Paul Enns seeks to educate his readers on a Biblical image of heaven. Through the course of the book, Enns attempts to answer questions as to heaven’s location and appearance, as well as questions about what we will look like, how we will interact with others, what we will do when we get there, and more.
The purpose of Heaven Revealed is expressed in the first pages of the book. Enns began studying Scripture for a picture of heaven after the unexpected death of his wife Helen. He longed for comfort as his heart was drawn intensely toward heaven, where he knew his beloved bride now lived. As he found comfort of his own, he desired to share it with others who longed for the same comfort.
Unlike many recent popular books about heaven, Enns does not draw on any “been to heaven and back” experiences. Instead, he draws heavily on Scripture itself, compiling references from start to finish that refer to heaven. The only non-Scriptural evidence used by Enns is the deathbed experiences of Christians who spoke of what they saw in their last moments on earth. Using these verses and statements, Enns has created his concept of what heaven will be like.
The Scriptural reliance is definitely a strength of this book. Other strengths include the clear and concise organization of the book and the summarization boxes found in each chapter.
I confess that I’m not entirely convinced, from my own studies of these same verses, that we can know some of these answers about heaven with as much certainty as Enns claims to know them. The thoughts are comforting, to be sure. But, I believe there is still a lack of clarity in the Bible’s depiction of heaven. What Enns claims as certainty I would call opinion. Not a harmful opinion, but still an opinion.
Although Enns does take some liberty with his certainties, I do not think that makes Heaven Revealed theologically harmful. While we cannot be certain what heaven will be like or what we will be like when we get there, sometimes we need comfort while we wait for our turn to go. Heaven Revealed is definitely a book of comfort for those who have said goodbye to loved ones who are believers in Christ.
This book was sent to me for review by C. Grant and Company. They also sent a giveaway copy! Once again, Doug and I are doing a joint giveaway. To enter, leave a comment here and/or on Doug’s blog sometime between now and midnight Sunday, April 10.