Read e-book online A Brief History of Heaven PDF

By Alister E. McGrath

ISBN-10: 0631233539

ISBN-13: 9780631233534

Эта книга одного из самых известных современных христианских авторов исследует историю небес, от их происхождения в библейских письменах к самым новым представлениям о них.


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But where does the notion of “paradise” come from? And how does it relate to the Christian idea of heaven? In the previous chapter, we reflected on the image of the city as a model for heaven. Yet models drawn from nature itself have their place in this discussion. The image of the garden brings together the natural and the cultural – the raw beauty of nature combined with the human desire to allow this beauty to be showcased, presented to its best advantage by framing it in a certain manner. For Henry David Thoreau, nature was “nobody’s garden” – a way of looking at the natural order that stressed its beauty, independent of human fabrication or engineering.

339–97), for example, drew upon the ideas of the Jewish Platonist writer Philo of Alexandria in offering an allegorical reading of the story of paradise. The Garden of Eden is now understood to be a “delightful well-tilled land in which the soul finds pleasure” – in other words, a Platonic world of ideas and values, rather than a physical or geographical entity. To speak of paradise “planted with trees” is a picturesque manner of referring to the human soul with its various virtues. Adam represents the virtues of reason, and Eve the human senses, which are easily led astray by the pursuit of pleasure.

But there is a serpent by the wayside watching those who pass by. Be alert, in case he stings you with unbelief. He sees so many receiving salvation, and “seeks those who he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). You are drawing near to the Father of Spirits, but you must first go past that serpent. So how may you get past him? Have “your feet shod with the 50 The Garden: Heaven as Paradise gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15) so that even if the serpent should sting, he may not hurt you. Have an abiding faith within you, a steadfast hope, a strong sandal, that you may pass by the enemy, and enter into the presence of your Lord.

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A Brief History of Heaven by Alister E. McGrath

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