The movie “Heaven is for Real”, which is based on the testimony of a four-year-old who went to heaven temporarily and returned to earth, was #3 at the box office over the weekend. As I was driving yesterday I heard Todd Burpo, a pastor and the father of Colton who visited heaven, on the Glenn Beck show (as I was channel-surfing). So you know people are going to be talking about the movie.
Here’s a good article on the recent movie “Heaven is for Real.” It compares Hollywood’s version of heaven with the Bible.
Scripture does contain several visions of heaven or encounters with celestial beings, but they’re a far cry from the feel-good fare of the to-heaven-and-back genre.
In Scripture, when mortals catch a premature glimpse of God’s glory, they react in remarkably similar ways. They tremble. They cower. They go mute. The ones who can manage speech express despair (or “woe” to use the King James English) and become convinced they are about to die. Fainters abound.
The author also writes:
Yes, the Bible teaches that heaven is a place of ultimate comfort, with “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
But it is also a place where the reality of God’s unbridled majesty reigns supreme –and that’s scary.
Did a 4-year-old boy from Nebraska really visit heaven? I don’t know. My hunch is that the popularity of such stories tells us more about our view of God than the place in which he dwells.
Ultimately I believe we flock to gauzy, feel-good depictions of heaven and tiptoe around the biblical passages mentioned above because we’ve lost sight of God’s holiness.
Read more of “Heaven is Scary. . for Real.”
Three years ago, Tim Challies reviewed the book the movie is based on and concluded:
If you struggle believing what the Bible says, but learn to find security in the testimony of a toddler, well, I feel sorry for you. And I do not mean this in a condescending way. If God’s Word is not sufficient for you, if the testimony of his Spirit, given to believers, is not enough for you, you will not find any true hope in the unproven tales of a child. This hope may last for a moment, but it will not sustain you, it will not bless you, in those times when hope is waning and times are hard.
So reject this book. Do not read it. Do not believe it. And do not feel guilty doing so.