The Christian doctrine of heaven has been a moral source of enormous power in western culture. It has provided a striking account of the ultimate good in life and has for two millennia animated the hope that our lives can be fully meaningful. Recently, however, the doctrine of heaven has lost much of its grip on the western imagination and has become a vague and largely ignored part of the Christian creed. Not only have our hopes been redefined as a result, but our very identity as human beings has been altered. In this book, Jerry L. Walls argues that the doctrine of heaven is ripe for serious reconsideration. He contends not only that the orthodox view of heaven can be defended from objections commonly raised against it, but also that heaven is a powerful resource for addressing persistent philosophical problems, not the least of which concern the ground of morality and the meaning of life. Walls shows how heaven is integrally related to central Christian doctrines, particularly those concerning salvation, and tackles the difficult problem of why faith in Christ is necessary to save us from our sins. In addition, heaven is shown to illumine thorny problems of personal identity and to be an essential component of a satisfactory theodicy. Walls goes on to examine data from near-death experiences from the standpoint of some important recent work in epistemology and argues that they offer positive evidence for heaven. He concludes that we profoundly need to recover the hope of heaven in order to recover our very humanity.
- Publication Date:
- 17 / 07 / 2002