This is a selection from a work-in-progress:
If you understand Heaven to be a place of people who are dead yet living you might be thinking that Heaven sounds like a pretty creepy place. If you’ve ever seen a zombie movie you probably would have no trouble picturing a city made up of people who have died and who have been reanimated. Maybe it was by magic, or maybe they caught some sort of virus, or maybe Hell was too full. Whatever the reason, the result is terrifying. There are some ugly, probably smelly, inhuman monsters out to snack on people who are not dead. Yet.
This understanding of the undead has even migrated into the popular understanding of the resurrection of Jesus. I’ve read comments about the Zombie Jesus who wandered around after he was killed trying to snack on some unsuspecting first century Jew. You could probably do a search on Google right now and find something similar. In some ways our Christian language might lead to this unintended misunderstanding. “This is my body…take it and eat it” does sound a bit like either cannibalism or a bunch of zombies having some not-so-fast-food. The thing is, those who have died to sin and risen from the grave with Christ aren’t the zombies. It turns out that it’s sort of backwards in reality. In reality, people weren’t fighting off infection, they were already infected and trying to prove that they weren’t. People who believe in Jesus have been given the cure. The place all those believers have left behind is the real Zombie City.
To carry the zombie metaphor forward, it’s a bit like those who have risen with Christ have been resuscitated. They were dead, shuffling around, going after their own desires without care to how it affected others (i.e. brains), but now they have been given actual life, not just reanimated like their former compatriots. Their actions change; they no longer go after their “carnal” desires (i.e. brains) but have a new goal and way of acting. They don’t have the plague anymore. Happily, this is the point where our popular zombie myth breaks down; Christians aren’t the monsters any longer, and strangely they don’t see the monsters as something to be feared. They have been changed so that they love the monsters that they used to compete against. Instead of the citizens of Heaven versus the citizens of the Zombie City it is the citizens of Heaven for the monster.