Lately, I have been reading a book called A History of Heaven by Colleen McDannell and Bernhard Lang. I am fascinated with their 22-page chapter, “Irenaeus and Augustine on our Heavenly Bodies.”
The authors compare the eschatology views of Irenaeus, the early Augustine, and the later Augustine. Irenaeus represents the early church’s premillennialism. Augustine represents the later amillennial view. You can see the stark contrast between these two men. Also helpful is the distinction between earlier and later Augustine. The early Augustine held very much to a Spiritual Vision Model approach, while the later Augustine was slightly less so. I have charted out some of the differences in the perspectives. Hope you find this helpful. See below:
Reposted from The Cripplegate.
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next… . It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity [New York: Harper Collins, 2001], 134.)
“Eschatology” is the study of last things, or end times. For many, that term sounds like little more than an academic label, fit only for theology textbooks and doctrinal debates.
But whether we use the term “eschatology” or not, the study of the future is of vital imporance for believers. Biblical eschatology is far more than an academic topic to be debated. In His Word, God has revealed truth about the end of the age, and that truth is intended to do more than merely generate colorful charts or provide fodder for bestselling novels.
At least three answers to that question might be considered, demonstrating that the future is meant to edify and encourage believers in the present. Our understanding of future events ought to impact our present reality in substantive ways.
What will eternity be like for believers? Recently, in a couple of separate conversations, I heard two believers express the idea that in our eternal state, we won’t care about any of the kinds of things that interest us here and now. We won’t be curious, won’t be seeking answers, won’t be striving to be productive or improve ourselves or our surroundings. One of the two indicated that “ignorance is bliss” and that not knowing or caring about answers to life’s questions will be a key feature of the joy of heaven.
I suggested that there are compelling reasons to believe our experience of life in eternity will not be that different from life as we know it now—that we were created to be curious, creative, intellectual, and productive, not just spiritual and relational, and that our final form must include all of what we were originally intended to be.
So will eternity reveal a glorious perfecting of our original design as humans, or a scrapping of that design for something fundamentally different?
Scripture does provide ample evidence that major changes await believers after this life. One of the most loved examples comes from the apostle John.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (ESV, 1 John 3:2)
CHAPTER VII - WHAT CHRIST TEACHES CONCERNING FUTURE RETRIBUTION
BY REV. WM. C. PROCTER, F. PH., CROYDON, ENGLAND
There are four reasons for confining our consideration of the subject of Future Retribution to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(1) It limits the range of our inquiry to what is possible in a brief essay. There will be no occasion to examine the 56 passages in the authorized version of our Bible which contain the word “Hell,” (most of which are the translations of the Hebrew “Sheol” and the Greek “Hades,” meaning “the grave” and “the unseen state,”) and we can concentrate our attention on the ten passages in which our Lord uses the word “Gehenna” (which was the usual appellation in His day for the abode of the lost) together with those other verses which evidently refer to the future state of the wicked.