Russell Moore on why Christians get it wrong when they envision eternity as an "afterlife":
The gospel tells us that Satan keeps unbelievers bound by fear of death (Heb 2:14-15). Believers, too often, dread death also, though not as much from fear than from boredom. We see the story of our lives as encompassing this span of seventy or eighty or a hundred years. The life to come is our “great reward” in “the afterlife.”Moore to the Point – Why the Afterlife Bores Us
But just think about that word “afterlife.” It assumes eternity is an endless postlude to where the action really happens. It’s “after;” our “reward” happens after we’ve lived our lives. ....
Too many Christians see the hope of resurrection life as a capstone on their lives now. We implicitly assume that our focus in the new creation is a backward focus on our lives as they are now.
We talk about all the questions we’ll ask about why this or that happened. .... We talk about our reunion with loved ones, but even they often implicitly have a past focus.
A high school reunion can be fun. You catch up with old friends, and remember good and bad times. But the focus is usually on “remember when” and “whatever happened to” conversations. That’s great for an hour or four, but four trillion years of that would be hell. That’s not what Jesus promised us. He promised us life. ....
Your eternity is no more about looking back to this span of time than your life now is about reflecting on kindergarten. The moment you burst through the mud above your grave, you will begin an exciting new mission—one you couldn’t comprehend if someone told you. And those things that seem so important now—whether you’re attractive or wealthy or famous or cancer-free—will be utterly irrelevant in the face of an exhilarating new purpose, one that you were prepared for in this era but one that is far more than a mere sequel to your best life now.
Let’s talk about eternity. But it’s no mere “afterlife.” Instead let’s start thinking of this little puff of time, the next eighty or so years, as what it is: the pre-life. [more]