Take a complex and emotive subject that eludes description except by analogy and simile, and lies beyond shared human experience. Let it be one that so affects every person that the firm convictions of Christians are liable to cause offence in those looking to take it. Now write a short, engaging and helpful book on it. That is what the author – senior pastor of a water-borne London church – has bravely attempted.
This title – in the series 'Questions Christians ask' – is aimed at sustaining and encouraging the believer in their future hope, and challenging the seeker. Hell is briefly alluded to, and the author addresses sensitively the concerns of the bereaved. Practical related questions such as 'Are ghosts for real?' and 'Cremation or burial?' are addressed in turn at the end of each chapter, and plentiful quotes from diverse sources make the whole very readable.
The promise of a renewed physical creation is described, correcting any caricatured 'clouds and harps' preconceptions. The historicity and ramifications of Jesus' resurrection are central.
There is a right emphasis on the need to focus on our future hope to sustain us, but I would have welcomed more on the Holy Spirit's ministry as the 'deposit guaranteeing our inheritance' without whom this would be a losing battle of imaginative effort. Overall this is a useful primer, especially suitable for new believers.