In popular evangelical eschatology, it is often the case that the intermediate state is given greater attention than the final resurrection state. Just look at a standard hymn book and you will probably find many more hymns on going to heaven after death than on resurrection glory. But the intermediate state is just that; intermediate. It is not final or ultimate. Calvin's eschatology, as it unfolds in the Institutes helps us to redress the balance. He rightly focused almost all his attention on the resurrection of the body. In doing so, Calvin captured the overwhelming emphasis of Scripture. Yes, Christians will go to heaven when they die, but after death, we shall be raised immortal and made like our glorious, risen Lord Jesus.
The Westminster Larger Catechism gives a helpful summary of the biblical teaching,
Question 86: What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
Answer: The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.
In the next post in this series, we will look at what Calvin has to say on the resurrection of the wicked.