The Summit Lecture Series 13: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell, part 1 with Louis Markos

To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org

In his book “Miracles”, C.S. Lewis starts out by discussing heaven. The first thing we must understand is that heaven is greater than earth, not less than earth. We have a very bad habit today of using negative terms when discussing God or heaven.

Heaven is more real than earth. God is not non-corporeal, He is trans-corporeal. Heaven is not earth with all our “stuff” thrown out. In fact, as Lewis says, “Heaven is the ultimate fact.”

Another falsehood regarding heaven is that when we die, we become angels. According to the Bible, God created three creatures for His universe. First angels: angels are purely spiritual, without bodies. Secondly, God created the animals: purely physical beings without a soul. Lastly, He created us: not a soul trapped inside a human body, but 100% physical AND 100% spiritual. We are the perfect fusion of body and soul.

Therefore, our goal is that one day we will have perfect resurrected bodies just like Jesus had after He resurrected.

In addition to our bodies being perfected and redeemed, the earth will be perfected and redeemed. In the end, God will destroy the old heaven and the old earth and create a new heaven and a new earth. Heaven will be a physical place.

Another common falsehood that is propagated today is that when we are resurrected in heaven, our bodies will be androgynous. In fact, God made us male and female, with masculine and feminine souls.

In “Miracles”, Lewis also writes that the body is not innately bad. It can be used for bad reasons – as well as good – but our body itself is not inherently evil.

This idea becomes problematic when we take Paul’s usage of the word “flesh” in his epistles. You see, when he says “flesh”, he actually means our sinful nature, not our actual skin. The body is actually good and in heaven, we will have perfected, resurrected bodies.

Lewis uses the analogy of a child learning to ride a pony. He is not taught to ride the pony so that as an adult he can get rid of it. But rather, he is taught to ride a pony as a boy so that when he matures, he can someday ride a great horse.

Our bodies are similar in that we learn to use our earthly bodies so that we will be well trained to use our heavenly bodies.

Lewis also writes about the miracles that Jesus performed. He says that most of Jesus’ miracles were “miracles of the old creation”. With these, Jesus merely (yet greatly) sped up the natural process of things (i.e., turning water into wine, multiplying bread and fish, healing cripples, etc.)

Then there are a few miracles that Lewis has labeled “miracles of the new creation”. These include walking on water, appearing and disappearing, even resurrection itself. These actually transcend our earthly human constraints. Lewis argues that these miracles foreshadow our heavenly existence. In heaven, the old boundaries of time and space will be broken.

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