In the next chapter of Night Comes, Dale Allison defends the idea of heaven, by which he means a conscious existence and blissful realm that the dead enter when they die. Over against this, many recent theologians—those who entertain belief in life after death at all—have downplayed this in favor of a future post-resurrection transformation of this world.
N. T. Wright is an example of this. He prefers the idea of “life after life after death” to current discussions about “life after life”. In other words, whatever the state of the soul immediately after death, the biblical hope is for a new heaven and new earth, when the prayer, “Thy kingdom come on earth. . .” will be answered.
Allison knows the gospels, the rest of the Bible, and Jewish and Christian tradition. He draws on all of these to show that most believers have held to belief in an…
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