QUICK HIT: Written by Hank Hanegraaff, known as the “Bible Answer Man,” Afterlife is an encyclopedic type of resource that seeks to answer some of the most-asked questions about heaven.
There’s so much misinformation and hype about heaven these days. Pop culture portrays it as an ethereal place in the clouds where everyone has wings and plays a harp and is compelled to worship 24/7. Frankly, heaven seems boring. Christian culture places too much emphasis on heaven, making it the end-all, be-all of the Christian life, rather than just a facet of salvation.
Whatever the culture, heaven and the afterlife is an enigma because…well…we’ve not experienced it. That’s why recent books like Heaven is for Real have exploded in popularity despite not having sound theological backing. We want assurance of an afterlife. We want to know what it’s like.
Hanegraaff is able to do away with the hype and drama and offer clear biblical answers.
Part 1: Life after Life-after-Life: The Eternal Heaven and Earth
- What is heaven about?
- What happens to us in heaven?
- What is heaven like?
- What’s up with hell?
Part 2: Life after Life: The Transitional Heaven
- What happens to us between death and heaven?
- What is the transitional heaven like?
- Are near-death experiences the real thing?
- Is there a transitional hell?
Part 3: Life: What You Do Now Counts for All Eternity
- Doesn’t a loving God want everyone in heaven?
- Is there really a resurrection?
- What about the end times?
- How does the afterlife affect my life now?
Within each of these subheadings, there are even more detailed questions. For example, the subheading “What is heaven about?” covers questions like:
- What is heaven?
- Where is heaven?
- When do we receive our resurrected bodies?
- What will our resurrected bodies be like?
- Will earth be resurrected?
Hanegraaff spends about 2-3 pages on each detailed question and 10-20 pages on each subheading. It’s enough to fully answer each question concisely without getting too much in the realm of speculation. Although, admittedly, with some of these questions, all we can really do is give educated guesses.
Overall, this is sort of like an encyclopedia of heaven for the layperson. It’s a great resource for the questioning Christian, especially children growing up in the faith. However, one word of caution. Hanegraaff is a well-known preterist. In layman’s terms, he holds that the majority of the book of Revelation was fulfilled in A.D. 70 in the fall of Jerusalem. Now that doesn’t directly relate to the subject of heaven, but Hanegraaff manages to fit his pet theory into the book, taking time out to lambast premillennialism. Basically, all of chapter 11 could have and should have been excised from the book. It’s tangential to the topic and doesn’t fit in the with the rest of the book’s content.
With that caveat, I’d definitely recommend it as a great launching pad into further discussion on each one of these topics.