Just watch cartoons, they’ll tell you all you need to know about heaven and hell. Heaven is a bright airy place where winged babies fly around and rest on puffs of cloud all day. Hell is an ongoing masochistic party of sorts, with a very high thermostat. Needless to say, both are gross distortions. We owe them to rennaissance artists and medieval writers, like Rafael and Dante, whose visions of heaven (and hell) have shaped Western societies views of God, heaven, and hell for centuries.
In an article on TIME magazine, Tom Wright, the bishop of Durham, seeks to dispel some of the myths surrounding the final destination for believers. He shows the Bible teaches heaven that is not in insubstantial air, but in a newly-created Earth. While he does not believe in the rapture and tribulation, the rest of the what he is saying is very accurate. The rapture is a seven year period when all Christians will be taken away from the Earth before the antichrist’s reign of peace…and terror. They will return to Earth in new bodies at the end of this time.
He doesn’t mention the Biblical teaching as to who will go where, though. According to the Bible, although humans were created innocent, all have the inclination to sin, from birth. Therefore all are destined to hell…but! (and it’s a big one): no one needs to be condemned. God offers total and permanent amnesty to all believers in his Son, regardless of past, present, or future sin.
Image by elbisreverri, used with a Creative Commons license