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“What should I think about the movie, ‘Heaven is For Real’?” — Dave
I have not yet seen the movie, so I cannot honestly comment on specifics. (I often go to see movies for “homework” purposes, that is, I know the questions will be coming! But as yet, not this one.)
We can, however, make some observations on the topic:
There has always been speculation on what heaven must be like.
Some folks believe that heaven is not “a place to which one goes” after this life. These folks hold that “heavenly rewards” are simply the results of a full life well-lived on this earth. Heaven, in other words, is what you make it here and now. (Frankly, I find this view less than satisfying — even though one might be able to scrape together some biblical proof texts to support it.)
There are several ways Scripture uses the word translated “heaven.” One, it is a reference to the sky, the space above the earth (Gen. 1:1; Job. 22:14; Mt. 6:26). Two, it is the eternal dwelling place of God (Mt. 5:16; 6:9; 12:50; Heb. 8:1; I Pet. 3:22; Rev. 3:12), as well as the eternal dwelling place of those who put their ultimate hope in God (II Cor. 5:1).
Where we find the scant “visions” of heaven in Scripture, the glory of God gets center stage (Isa. 6:1-7). Ezekiel relays a vision of heaven that is cryptic and confusing yet powerful, a reminder that heaven is not a place either easily described or readily understood (Ezek. 1). In the New Testament apocalypse, heaven holds the contiguous presence of the Trinitarian God; see Rev. 4:1ff; 5:11ff; passim).
Beyond these statements, we do not have a lot on which to go — but we can say this: any self-acclaimed vision of what heaven will be like must be checked against the whole teaching of Scripture. Any portrait of heaven that adds to the biblical material is already suspect, subject to personal hopes, layers of tradition and selective interpretations.
More later, after I see the movie!