Sunday I did not get to answer all of the questions that you sent in. Here are a few brief answers to some of them:
1. How would you interpret passages that indicate destruction of part or all of this earth (2 Peter 3, Revelation 8)?
I do not believe Revelation 8:6-13 talks about the destruction of the world. I believe it is referring to all of the natural disasters that have been occurring throughout history as trumpets to alarm us and call humans to repentance.
I preached through Revelation a couple of years ago, and you might find those sermons interesting: Revelation Redeemed
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Peter is teaching that the judgment is definitely coming even though it is delayed. Just as all Christians have been baptized with fire, and are now new creations. The earth will be cleansed through the fire of judgment and will be “new” but that does not demand that the old one will be thrown away. I believe he means this Earth will be renewed.
2. You said evil is real and its not our fault if that is true then If someone experiences the consequences for their evil choices aren't they responsible for this?
Certainly people do evil things, and often suffer the consequences of their actions. But more often people suffer evil that they had nothing to do with. When a child is molested, it is not his fault. When a girl is raped, that is not her Karma from another life coming back on her. Evil often falls on innocent people.
3. How does our belief about bodily restoration affect the Presbyterian view of cremation and other alternative forms of burial?
People vary in their views on cremation. Some theologians believe cremation does not show adequate respect for the body or belief in the resurrection. I personally do not hold that view.
The Bible says we will return to dust and ashes, I believe cremation only speeds up the process. We all do agree that God is more than able to raise up our bodies from the dust and ashes.
4. Will there be work in heaven? If so, why and what will it be like?
I believe so. We will still be in the image of God, and we will be creative and active as he is. Our work will involve delighting in and cultivating God’s creation. Most likely we will all find activities that we fully enjoy with our bodies, minds and hearts. We will worship God as we work.
5. I've never heard the idea of Heaven being physical and on this earth, where do you get that from in scripture?
The bible uses the word heaven in many ways.
• The sky where the birds fly, that is ruled by the moon and stars.
• Heavenly or the kingdom of heaven is used to distinguish between the sinful kingdom of the world and the righteous people of God (Matthew 5:1-15)
• Paul refers to the “third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12:2, I honestly don’t have any guess what he is referring to there.
• The place where the righteous dead go and Jesus presently lives (Revelation 4:1-11, Revelation 8:15-17)
We will go to heaven when we die, but it will not be our final resting place. When Jesus returns, we will return with him.
At that point, after the general resurrection we will see the fulfillment of all the prophecies and take dominion over the Earth the way God originally intended.
2 Thess. 4:14, Revelation 19:14, Romans 8 :19 – 25, Isaiah 11:1-9, 65:17-25.
What will friendship be like in heaven? Will I recognize my friends and family and remember the things we did together?
Jesus recognized his friends after the resurrection, and certainly remembered them. He is the model for what we will be like after the resurrection, so I would say yes.