On Thursday, October 20, Dr. Donald Sinnema, professor of theology, presented his ARIHE lecture “Heaven: Is It Part of Creation?” to students and faculty at Trinity.
Association of Reformed Institutions of Higher Education (ARIHE) lecturers like Sinnema are selected from member institutions and are established scholars whose works model the type of scholarship that is distinctive at these colleges. Other Trinity ARIHE lecturers have included Dr. Brad Breems, professor of sociology, and Dr. Michael Vander Weele ’73, professor of English.
Sinnema’s ARIHE lectures focus on two topics related to misconceptions in popular eschatology.
“Heaven: Is it Part of Creation?” challenges the popular Christian conception that heaven is an eternal spiritual or celestial realm that is outside of creation, a realm that includes God, angels, and the souls of deceased believers.
“Time and Eternity: Will Believers Enter Eternity?” challenges the popular Christian view of time and eternity that time extends from creation to the last judgment (the “end of time”) and that eternity in some way surrounds time since it was there “before” time, extends “over” time, and will continue “after” the end of time.
“In my lecture, I wanted to challenge the common notion that heaven is an eternal spiritual realm outside of creation,” said Sinnema. “There are no grammatical or other good grounds in Scripture to distinguish between the singular heaven and the plural heavens, as if only the heavens or skies were created.
“My main point was that heaven is indeed part of God’s creation and that it has a history—in the beginning it was created, it is part of the fallen creation, and in the end it will also be renewed as the new heaven envisioned by John in the book of Revelation.”
About Dr. Sinnema
Dr. Sinnema is an internationally recognized scholar on the Canons of Dort. His understanding of and support for Reformed Christian higher education permeate his scholarship.
Sinnema has served as professor of theology at Trinity since 1987. He has published many scholarly papers and a book about the founding of Trinity Christian College (1952-1960) titled If We Begin with Christ.
He earned a master’s in philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Canada.