Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 4: Glorification
Day 3: Disembodied Existence in Heaven Isn’t the Final Goal
Yesterday we saw that at death the soul of the believer enters into the Lord’s presence in heaven. For many of us, that’s where the story ends. After all, heaven is the goal, right? What more could we want?
The fact that our souls go to heaven upon our death is obviously a good thing. As awesome as that is though, we need to recognize it still falls short of God’s ultimate plan for us. He never intended for us to go through eternity as mere souls. He created us with bodies for a reason. Death may separate our souls from our bodies, but in God’s plan that separation is temporary.
Remember death entered the world because of sin. And when Christ returns, he will finally defeat both sin and death. A necessary part of conquering death involves the resurrection of our bodies.
Think about it for a moment. In the Humanity section, we defined death as the separation of the soul from the body. If that’s true, what happens if we remain in a disembodied state? Death wins. So long as we exist as mere souls without a body, death still exists because that is what death is. As N.T. Wright puts it:
“God’s intention is not to let death have its way with us. If the promised final future is simply that immortal souls leave behind their mortal bodies, then death still rules–since that is the description of death not the defeat of death…”[i]
When we think of the souls of believers in heaven then, we ought to be thankful, but we ought to see it as a sign that not everything has been put right yet. God has something more in store for us. He is not going to rest until his original design is restored. And for that to happen, we need a body. More on that tomorrow.
Re-read N.T. Wright’s statement in today’s reading.
Do you think of heaven as the ultimate destination for Christians? Do you agree with N.T. Wright’s statement that death is not defeated if “the promised final future is simply that immortal souls leave behind their mortal bodies”? What implications does that have for our understanding of heaven?
[i] N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, New York: HarperOne (2008), 15.