The Heaven Promise by Scot McKnight
New book about heaven which is accessible but lacking a serious discussion of biblical material
The Heaven Promise. Engaging the Bible's Truth about Life to Come
By Scot McKnight
Hodder & Stoughton
Reviewed by Pieter Lalleman
I knew Scot McKnight as a serious biblical scholar, the author of some learned books. But his new book about heaven is written at a popular level and accessible to all. That's to say, it is a very American book which makes no attempt to address the rest of the world. At times it's more or less funny.
McKnight finds six promises about heaven in the Bible and he answers ten questions about heaven and related subjects such as near-death experiences, purgatory, and whether there will be families and pets in heaven.
He admits that the Bible does not give us high-resolution pictures of Heaven. Rather, we have access to Heaven through impressions, images, and metaphors. I am also aware that our minds simply cannot comprehend all that God has prepared for those who love him.
What I miss in McKnight is a serious discussion of biblical materials. To my mind the book is more packaging than content. In particular the chapter on rewards in the afterlife omits much of what should be discussed, such as the parable of the talents.
Are there any alternatives? Yes, try Paula Gooder, Heaven (London: SPCK, 2011), 978-0-281-06234-8; and the theologians among you have Anthony C. Thiselton, Life After Death: A New Approach to the Last Things (Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2012), ISBN 978-0-8028-6665-3. Both these books contain fewer stories and more meat than McKnight's 200 pages.
Dr Pieter J. Lalleman teaches biblical studies at Spurgeon's College