Three ways to live

Which is your way?

What is heaven? N.T. Wright has the answer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 2:09 am on Monday, February 11, 2008

Here is an important recent interview with N.T. Wright about correct Christian understanding of heaven. While teaching of Wright are often rather controvescial, here he presents an orthodox teaching that is oh so often missed nowadays.

So what is life after death? Here are the main points:

1) There is no heaven (or hell) right after death. Instead, we enter so-called itermediate state. It is not clear what happens during this state. We will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed, we will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep.

2) What is more important is the next stage, life after life after death – the final place where we will live forether, which can only be entered after the final judgment. But this place is not some place in the clouds but rather a renewed physical Earth where our current bodies will be resurrected into something completely different.



Comment by The Hedonese

February 16, 2008 @ 4:31 am

:) Wright has got that right! The bodily resurrection is the christian hope, not a disembodied ethereal existence


Comment by Chen Huaizhi

February 16, 2008 @ 7:51 am

:-) right! its the intermediate state i wonder about. 7th day adventist teach “soul sleep” i.e. you “sleep” till the resurrection from the dead, but Jesus, looking to the repentant thief on the cross said, “TODAY, you will be with me in paradise”.. what is this paradise ? a holding area in prep for the resurrection ?


Comment by Vitali

February 17, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

Well, the common interpretation is that paradise Jesus mentions on the cross is the intermediate place.

The Bible provides little information on what this state is. Compared to our bodily existence, it is like sleeping. The believers will be with God. I guess the reason why there is so little information is that ultimately it’s not that important, compared to our final bodily resurrection in the New Heaven and the New Earth.


Comment by Brandon Malave

August 29, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

Here is what NT Wright believes

Wright definitely does not advocate soul sleep. He thinks that the intermediate state is some sort of restful, conscious existence in the presence of the Lord (hence the use of ‘paradise’ as a description which wouldn’t make much sense in terms of soul sleep), until the day of resurrection when we will be re-embodied.

To quote from Surprised by Hope: “all the Christian dead are in substantially the same state, that of restful happiness. Though this is sometimes described as ‘sleep’, we shouldn’t take this to mean that it is a state of unconsciousness. Had Paul thought that, I very much doubt that he would have described life immediately after death as ‘being with Christ, which is far better’. Rather, ‘sleep’ here means that the body is ‘asleep’ in the sense of ‘dead’, while the real person – however we want to describe him or her – continues.

… it is a state in which the dead are held firmly within the conscious love of God and the conscious presence of Jesus Christ, while they await that day. There is no reason why this state should not be called ‘heaven’, though we must note once more how interesting it is that the New Testament routinely doesn’t call it that, and uses the word ‘heaven’ in other ways.” pp.183-184

Explicitly, Wright states that “the Christian dead are conscious” (p. 185). This is from the section in the book on ‘Paradise’, pp. 183-187


Comment by Weeks Parker

April 3, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

Dear Sir,

I have a friend who is a so-called “Jehovah’s Witness”. Do you have any scripture to indicate that after death our soul or spirit does not sleep in the grave but,for the born again Christian, it does go to an intermediate place called paradise. Also do you have scripture to prove that the lost go to an intermediate place called Sheol where they shall await the final judgement that will send them to an eternity in hell?

Please email me at

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