6 Important Myths About Heaven that Are Not Biblical

Remember when we used to sing “When we all go to heaven”? This entire idea of heaven has deeply run through our culture in countless ways. For example, we fall in love and say it feels like heaven.

Or we eat a great pizza and call it heavenly. Some cartoons give us an image of little babies with wings playing harps on clouds; other stories point to a place where Saint Peter awaits us with a waitlist.

We really shouldn’t fully trust the world’s idea of heaven, but what about those of us who follow Jesus? Since biblical literacy is lacking more and more every day, how do we know what the biblical idea of heaven is? Here are a couple of myths about heaven that aren’t biblical:

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Heaven is a boring place.

Many people have this idea of heaven as standing or even sitting around in this ideal place as if there’s nothing to do as soon as we get there. Well, truth be told, it seems fairly boring, but the Bible speaks of another reality that is more active than this one.

Heaven is a realm filled with a lot of joy, worship, and fulfillment. Contrary to the monotony portrayed in the media, the Bible shows heaven as a dynamic and vibrant space.

The promise of rest in heaven is also accompanied by a depiction of eternal worship, service, and the privilege of being with Christ. Reigning with Christ also implies activity and purpose, even within perfection.

Ultimately, God is infinite, and we have an eternity to fully explore the depths of intimacy with him. We will definitely experience more in Christ. Of course, this challenges what we know about an uneventful afterlife, showing the richness and diversity of experiences awaiting those who enter his eternal kingdom.

Everyone goes to heaven right away.

When people pass away, we feel the need to talk about the person who died, like they ended up in heaven. No matter what our beliefs about the afterlife are, we want to assume they are in a better place.

Only in extreme circumstances do we suppose that person didn’t end up in heaven. Let’s say Hitler, for example. No one believes Hitler ended up in heaven. But the Bible teaches us something very different.

There is a very clear biblical teaching that implies salvation and entrance into heaven are contingent upon faith in Christ (John 14:6; Romans 10:9). Jesus is very specific when He states that the majority of people don’t make it to eternal life but rather to destruction.

The path to death is very wide, narrow, and difficult, especially the way to heaven. This is quite contrary to what most people believe. The Bible puts a lot of emphasis on the exclusivity of Christ as the way to eternal life.

Moreover, according to Biblical doctrine, we are to repent unto Christ but also to seek the coming kingdom of God. This type of repentance also includes acknowledging King Jesus as the Son of God.

Moreover, it’s about trusting in his sacrifice, confession, and obedience through the Spirit. This emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ also refutes the idea of automatic inclusion in heaven for everyone.

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Heaven is a cloudy place.

The myth of heaven being such a cloudy place, with all those people idly sitting and playing at their harps, lacks any kind of Biblical support. Even if heaven is often portrayed metaphorically, the Bible also provides a more nuanced and diverse description.

For example, in Revelation 21:10–27, heaven is shown as a place of grandeur and splendor, using all this vivid imagery like precious stones, crystal-clear rivers, and streets of gold.

The biblical depiction also challenges the simplistic notion of a cloud-filled and monotonous realm. All these rich and diverse terms that are used to describe heaven also introduce a much more profound and awe-inspiring vision of the eternal abode for believers.

Rather than just a static and cloudy environment, heaven is shown as a place of unparalleled beauty and dynamic richness, which is far beyond the well-known and oversimplified imagery that’s often associated with such myths.

These descriptions could be metaphorical, especially since it would be quite difficult to describe the eternal, divine realm in terms easy to explain to humans. Human language might not even be able to properly contain the reality of another dimension.

However, these metaphors are meant to activate our imagination to create an image of heaven with the deepest and most profound beauty and activity.

We become angels when we get to heaven.

People always talk about loved ones who pass away as if they’d look out for us and protect us from the afterlife. If they make it to heaven, it’s automatically implied that they get a pair of wings and become an angel to serve God.

But the Bible never really supported the idea that humans transform into angels when they go to heaven. In fact, Scripture distinctly shows the separation between angels and humans, each with their own unique roles and purposes.

In fact, Hebrews 1:4 explains this distinction, clarifying how angels are basically ministering spirits sent to serve God and those who earned salvation. Angels aren’t former humans but merely spiritual beings designed to fulfill specific functions.

Scripture also explains how we will one day rule over the angels. The disciple of Christ is a brand new creation born from God in Christ. If we were to reign with him, then the angels would be under our purview.

However, this doesn’t mean that humans in heaven aren’t involved at all. The author of Hebrews also wrote about how a “cloud of witnesses” encourages believers on earth from heaven. The context seems to imply that these are saints who have gone before.

Life in heaven is the same as on earth.

Our experience on Earth deeply influences our idea of paradise. This world and earth are everything we’ve ever experienced. This means that Heaven would be like Earth, only the perfect version of it, right?

Well, the description of the Millennium Reign in Revelation 20 (after Jesus’ return) points to a thousand years of such a life. Time has the same pace, but we will reign with Christ on Earth for a thousand years.

But after the devil is released for a time and God takes the enemy and puts it in the fire once and for all, the current shape and form of the earth will pass away. Then, we will see a new heaven and a new earth.

We will forget earthly life when we get to heaven.

When we reach heaven, we will transition into an eternal realm where life is completely different. Some people think humans become angels or even ghosts; others think we will completely forget our old lives upon our arrival in the next life.

The Bible also points out a form of continuity of memory for those who believe. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man, discovered in Luke 16:19–31, shows some interesting insights into this aspect of the afterlife.

For example, in the parable, both Lazarus and the rich man keep their identities and memories after they die. The rich man, as tormented as he is, remembers his past life and knows who Lazarus is.

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