The second chapter of Love Wins is all about Bell’s theology of heaven. In short, he proposes that heaven is coming to earth which is very different than a raptured church escape theology. Leaning heavily on NT Wright’s Surprised By Hope (yet offering not a single footnote through the whole book!), Bell presents an earthy heaven where people still find joy in creativity and nature.
A great little section about God’s eventual judgment is on page 37,
“The day when God says, ‘ENOUGH!’ to anything that threatens the peace (shalom is the Hebrew world.)
God says no to injustice.
God says, ‘Never Again’ to the oppressors who prey on the weak and vulnerable.
God declares a ban on weapons.
It’s important to remember this the next time we hear people say they can’t believe in a ‘God of judgment.’ “
Then Bell gives an interesting thought on heavenly activities on page 40,
“The standard answer was: live the commandments. God has shown you how to live. Live that Way. The more you become a person of peace and justice and worship and generosity, the more actively you participate now in ordering and working to bring about God’s kind of world, the more ready you will be to assume an even greater role in the age to come.”
Then, on page 58, Bell gives what seems to be a major claim (but is only one if you believe in a matter-based linear experience of time in the new age) when he says,
“Let me be clear: heaven is not forever in the way that we think of forever, as a uniform measurement of time, like days and years, marching endlessly into the future. That’s not a category or concept we find in the Bible. This is why a lot of translators choose to translate aion as ‘eternal.’ By this they don’t mean the literal passing of time; they mean transcending time, belonging to another realm altogether.”