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Doesn't the Bible say we can't know about Heaven?

Randy Alcorn, arguably the world's leading scholar on heaven, tells the story of a friend who noticed him working on a new book project, which prompted him to ask, "What are you working on?"

 

"A big book on Heaven," Alcorn said.

 

"Well, since Scripture says 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him,' what will you be talking about?" the friend retorted. 

 

Alcorn told his friend he "didn't complete the sentence," because 1 Corinthians 2:10, the verse after the one the friend quoted, says, "but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."

 

Alcorn says that he has come to instinctively cringe whenever he sees 1 Corinthians 2:9 used in a book on heaven, because it is nearly always misused to prove the opposite of what it actually means.

 

"God has explained to us what heaven is like," Alcorn writes. "Not exhaustively, but accurately. God tells us about heaven in his word, not so we can shrug our shoulders and remain ignorant, but because he wants us to understand and anticipate what awaits us." (Alcorn, Heaven, 19).

 

Unfortunately this seems to be the case with several other passages of Scripture. Deuteronomy 29:29, for example, says, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God," and is often used as a way to suggest that heaven is a "secret thing" that we cannot understand. But that is just the first part of the verse. The rest of the verse says, "... but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever."

 

Likewise, 2 Corinthians 2:2-4 discloses Paul being "caught up to paradise," where he heard "inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." Some suggest that this conclusively proves that heaven is a subject we shouldn't pursue. The problem with this conclusion, however, is that John, the author of Revelation, was similarly caught up "in the Spirit" (Rev 1:10), and permitted to share everything he saw concerning heaven and earth (Rev 1:11).

 

It seems that we can't employ Paul's experience as a way to remain ignorant to the subject of heaven, because John had a similar experience, but was told to share it in explicit detail.

 

The truth is that the Bible offers several insights into heaven. It portrays a God who is passionate about his people knowing about his abode and their eternal homes, and gives us reasons to pursue the subject, not excuses to ignore it.

 

For more information, see Randy Alcorn's Heaven, Chapter 2 "Is Heaven Beyond Our Imagination"

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