Review: Heaven–What is it? (Schilder)

As I understand the background to this book, the translation wasn’t the best one possible and that might account for the “choppy” feel it has. Nevertheless, there are gems of wisdom here.

Against Neo-Platonism: creation was replaced by emanation.  Gradation from highest to lowest, but no antithesis between holy and ungodly (Schilder 7).

Can we know God and heaven?  We speak thusly on the basis of God’s speaking to us.

Heaven is part of creation (11).  As part of creation and history, it unfolds.

The antithesis is between sin and grace, not nature and grace (24). There is no polarity between eternity and time, but between promise and fulfillment. We evaluate history by the word of God, not by abstract speculations about time and eternity.

Third heaven: simply a common figure of speech.

Since heaven has a history, we should avoid the tendency to separate space and time.

History of Heaven

Diatase concept:  God and creation are always distinct yet never divorced.  If God were wholly other man would not even be able to speak of differentiation.

“Above” and “below” lie in one field of vision.

Living soul vs life-giving spirit

A soul receives life, a spirit gives life.

Schilder plays off the contrast between “jolt” and “evolution.”  We can never attain heaven, even pre-fall, by evolutionary (or natural) processes.

God’s dwelling place with man

On the beatific vision

Schilder denies this medieval concept. Erases the distinction between God and man (63).

The Great Supper

The Supper is connected with the Lamb figure.  The feast is bound with Christ’s mediatorial death.  The marriage feast and the wedded life merge into one.

Against Dante and Neo-Platonism

When the Bible utters those beautiful words “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  “Those who have been called to this supper have not been bathed in Lethe; on the contrary, they commemorate the center of history; they receive a perspective of history from its beginning to its end” (75).


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