Tag Archives: New Earth

#1 Post of 2015 – Is Heaven an Immaterial Realm?

Not the eternal Heaven (New Earth) that all believers will occupy when they are resurrected. The eternal Heaven (New Earth) will be a physical world with material objects, not some ghostly place where we float on spiritual “clouds.” Randy Alcorn sets us straight about the eternal Heaven in his book called Heaven. Alcorn laments:

Many books on Heaven say nothing about the New Earth. Sometimes a few paragraphs, vaguely worded, are tacked on at the end. Other books address the New Earth but undercut its true nature: “Is this new earth like our present earth? Probably not.” But if it isn’t, why does God call it a New Earth? One author says, “The eternal phase of Heaven will be so unlike what we are familiar with that our present language can’t even describe it.” Certainly our present language can’t fully describe it, but it does in fact describe it (e.g., Revelation 21– 22).

Does anybody want to live forever in a disembodied state? I don’t. Does anybody want to live forever on this sin-filled mess we call planet earth? I don’t. So what is it we crave? What do we desire?

We are homesick for Eden. We’re nostalgic for what is implanted in our hearts. It’s built into us, perhaps even at a genetic level. We long for what the first man and woman once enjoyed— a perfect and beautiful Earth with free and untainted relationships with God, each other, animals, and our environment. Every attempt at human progress has been an attempt to overcome what was lost in the Fall.

Alcorn continues:

Our ancestors came from Eden. We are headed toward a New Earth. Meanwhile, we live out our lives on a sin-corrupted Earth, between Eden and the New Earth, but we must never forget that this is not our natural state. Sin and death and suffering and war and poverty are not natural— they are the devastating results of our rebellion against God.

We long for a return to Paradise—a perfect world, without the corruption of sin, where God walks with us and talks with us in the cool of the day. Because we’re human beings , we desire something tangible and physical, something that will not fade away. And that is exactly what God promises us— a home that will not be destroyed, a kingdom that will not fade, a city with unshakable foundations, an incorruptible inheritance.

This present earth is not our true home. A disembodied state of existence is not our ultimate destiny. Instead, we are looking forward to a newly constituted Earth that is our true home. Alcorn concludes:

Adam was formed from the dust of the earth, forever establishing our connection to the earth (Genesis 2:7). Just as we are made from the earth, so too we are made for the earth. But, you may object, Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for us and would take us there to live with him forever (John 14:2-3). Yes. But what is that place? Revelation 21 makes it clear— it’s the New Earth. That’s where the New Jerusalem will reside when it comes down out of Heaven. Only then will we be truly home.

What Will It Mean for the Curse to Be Lifted?

In the Book of Genesis we read that after Adam and Eve sinned against God, God pronounced a curse on them and all creation. “Cursed is the ground [earth] because of you” (Genesis 3: 17). Mankind would be subject to “painful toil” among “thorns and thistles.” After a difficult life, men and women would die, returning to the ground from which they were made.

Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, looks at the plan God set in motion to redeem his creation from the curse brought on by human sin. Regarding the connection between human sins and the earth, Alcorn writes,

Our welfare is inseparable from Earth’s welfare. Our destiny is inseparable from Earth’s destiny. That’s why the curse on mankind required that the earth be cursed and why the earth will also be resurrected when we are resurrected. The Curse will be reversed.

How did God deal with the curse? Through Christ.

As a result of the Curse, the first Adam could no longer eat from the tree of life, which presumably would have made him live forever in his sinful state (Genesis 3:22). Death, though a curse in itself, was also the only way out from under the Curse— and that only because God had come up with a way to defeat death and restore mankind’s relationship with him.

Christ came to remove the curse of sin and death (Romans 8:2). He is the second Adam, who will undo the damage wrought by the first Adam (1 Corinthians 15: 22, 45; Romans 5:15-19). In the Cross and the Resurrection, God made a way not only to restore his original design for mankind but also to expand it.

What will the New Earth, with the curse removed, look like?

In our resurrection bodies, we will again dwell on Earth— a New Earth— completely free of the Curse. Unencumbered by sin, human activity will lead naturally to a prosperous and magnificent culture. Under the Curse, human culture has not been eliminated, but it has been severely hampered by sin, death, and decay.

Before the Fall, food was readily available with minimal labor. Time was available to pursue thoughtful aesthetic ideas, to work for the sheer pleasure of it, to please and glorify God by developing skills and abilities.

But since the Fall, it’s been a sad tale for mankind.

[G]enerations have lived and died after spending most of their productive years eking out an existence in the pursuit of food, shelter, and protection against theft and war. Mankind has been distracted and debilitated by sickness and sin. Our cultural development has likewise been stunted and twisted, and sometimes misdirected— though not always.

Is everything that mankind has accomplished since the Fall sinful and evil? Has the Curse wiped out 100% of the goodness God introduced into his original creation?

Even though our depravity means we have no virtue that makes us worthy of our standing before God, we are nevertheless “made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9). Consequently, some things we do, even in our fallenness, such as painting, building, performing beautiful music, finding cures for diseases, and other cultural, scientific , commercial, and aesthetic pursuits, are good. The removal of the Curse means that people, culture, the earth, and the universe will again be as God intended.

Alcorn reminds us of the terrible price that Christ paid for removing the curse:

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3: 13, ESV). God’s law shows us how far short we fall. But Jesus took on himself the curse of sin, satisfying God’s wrath. By taking the Curse upon himself and defeating it through his resurrection, Jesus guaranteed the lifting of the Curse from mankind and from the earth.

The removal of the Curse will be as thorough and sweeping as the redemptive work of Christ. In bringing us salvation, Christ has already undone some of the damage in our hearts, but in the end he will finally and completely restore his entire creation to what God originally intended (Romans 8:19-21). Christ will turn back the Curse and restore to humanity all that we lost in Eden, and he will give us much more besides.