Does Anyone Actually ‘Go to Heaven’—and Does It Matter? (J. Richard Middleton)

What happens to you when you die? Many Christians picture eternal life as spending time in an ethereal heaven with God, either after death as a disembodied spirit or after a “rapture” of Christians. Books and films, made by and for Christians, promote this idea of the afterlife.

Dr. J. Richard Middleton wants to debunk this view of the Christian afterlife. What happens right after we die does not much matter to the biblical authors; they concern themselves with proclaiming the hope of the resurrection and preaching the Kingdom of God. In this episode, he discusses common words in our theological vernacular—spirit, soul, resurrection, hell, heaven, etc.—and challenges us to rethink them through a biblical lens. The story of the Bible is not the story of what happens between death and resurrection, but the story of the “redemption of the world.”

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Introductions, N.T. Wright, and the redemption of the world
  • 3:48 Reactions to debunking the rapture
  • 4:57 “What happens to you when you die?”
  • 7:59 God’s glory entering the world
  • 10:45 Spiritual versus physical
  • 13:24 The hope of the resurrection
  • 16:42 Believing you go to heaven when you die
  • 18:32 Purgatory, limbo, and the grave
  • 21:03 Resuscitation versus resurrection
  • 25:20 The resurrection, final judgment, and hell

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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