Section 9: The End Times
Week 4: The New Heaven and the New Earth
Day 3: The Joining of Heaven and Earth
As we had a chance to discuss earlier, God is omnipresent. That is, he is present everywhere at all at once. Nevertheless, it is clear God manifests his presence more powerfully at certain times in certain places. We call the place where God most powerfully manifest his presence heaven.[i]
Yesterday we talked about the idea many Christians have of eternal life as a purely spiritual state where we look upon God and take in his beauty and goodness for all eternity. Where is this vision of God thought to occur? In heaven. And that makes sense because that is where God dwells. But take a look at Rev. 21.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son'” (Rev. 21:1-7).
The picture we’re given of eternal life is one where heaven and earth come together. God’s dwelling place is no longer some other place where we need to go to experience him. In eternity his dwelling place will be right here. He will make his home with us. And since heaven is the place where God most powerfully manifests his presence, heaven and earth will be one.
Look at Rev. 21-22 one more time.
How does this picture of the joining of heaven and earth make you feel? What difference does God’s presence make on the earth? Where does all the abundance come from?
[i] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Doctrine, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House (1994), 1158.