Bringing Heaven Down To Earth

blog for the book by Nathan Bierma • > Heaven > Blog

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Visit to LaSalle Street Church

I was delighted to be able to lead a discussion about heaven last weekend at LaSalle Street Church in downtown Chicago, where we attended regularly a couple years ago (and which I profiled for RW). One of the questions that came up and stuck with me was, "How does the kingdom of God relate to heaven?" At first I said that the kingdom is a sort of underground kingdom for now, but will be the kingdom on the new earth. Then I simplified it a little and said, "The kingdom IS heaven." Maybe I should have gone back to the N.T. Wright quote on empire in Chapter 8.

But later I got thinking about Jesus' phrase "kingdom of heaven," which seems to be synonymous with "kingdom of God," and is used seemingly eschatologically. The Greek phrase is "basileia tôn ouranôn," with ouranôn being the same word as in Revelation 21, with the same ambiguity between its literal meaning of "sky" and figurative meaning of "ethereal realm of the dwelling of God."