The Meaning of “Paradise” in the Bible

My fourth and final blog post in the weekly series “Beyond the Book” was just posted by Baker Academic. Each of my four posts during March have focused on some point of interest that I learned about eschatology while working on A New Heaven and a New Earth. The latest post, called The Meaning of “Paradise” in the Bible, explains that this term is not equivalent to “heaven,” contrary to the assumption of many Christians.

Baker is giving away three copies of A New Heaven and a New Earth. You can sign up for a copy here, until midnight tonight (March 30, 2015).

If you want to read the four posts in order, here are the other three:

My first post, Preparation in Heaven for Revelation on Earth – The “Apocalyptic” Pattern, focused on the underlying pattern I came to discern in many “heaven” passages in the New Testament that seem to be associated with the Christian hope.

My second post, The Meaning of “Heaven” in the Bible, explained that “heaven” is not thought of in the Bible as an immaterial, uncreated realm, but rather as the cosmos beyond the earth, which can stand symbolically for the realm inhabited by God and the angelic host (and angels are often identified with stars in the Bible).

My third post, The Stars Will Fall From Heaven, discusses the origin of this image in extra-biblical literature and its meaning, which has to do with judgment on corrupt angelic powers and not the literal destruction of the cosmos.