The cartoonist pictures life in heaven as an unexciting existence: the inhabitants sit on clouds and strum harps. Even among believers there is a nebulous understanding of what the afterlife will be like. The reality is much different from the cartoonist’s caricature.
God made Adam an Eve to live in a perfect physical environment. He made us likewise with body and soul. The body is designed to live on earth and from the earth. When the Christian dies, his soul goes to heaven but his body is buried in the earth. He is “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).
“God is a Spirit” and heaven is His dwelling place, where he is served by angelic spirit beings. Despite the fact that Elijah and the Lord Jesus are in heaven in their actual bodies, heaven doesn’t seem to be the abode of the saints in their resurrection bodies.
Isaiah and John (in the book of Revelation) tell us that God is going to make a “new earth.” What would be its purpose if it is not to be inhabited? Peter adds that it will be a place “Wherein dwelleth righteousness.” If there are no people on the new earth, who would show that “righteousness” to which Peter refers?
The body lies in the grave awaiting the resurrection. Why would God resurrect our bodies if we were going to dwell in heaven which is preeminently the abode of spirits, not bodies? Is it not rather that after our souls and bodies are reunited at the resurrection, we will live on the new earth with the Lord Jesus, also in His glorious body?
What a prospect! “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3.
[Frank McClelland in A Word in Season,
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Job 19:25, 26