“How Beautiful Heaven Must Be”
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind (Isaiah 65:17).”
A young couple left for a faraway country to adopt a young son. Finalization of the papers took many weeks. During that time the parents spoke glowingly of their return home and how wonderful it was there, and they promised to stop at Disney World on their return journey. In this part of the child’s country running water was a luxury so he had little concept of many of the descriptions of the homeland that was reserved for him, or Disney World. His parents explained that there were rides that they likened to riding on a magic carpet. They promised lots of cotton candy. “What’s cotton candy?” Well it’s like tearing off a piece of a cloud and it melts in your mouth like honey. And there are lots and lots of people there and they are all happy. With many other descriptions they portrayed the wonders that awaited him when they all got home. But the child’s mind grew worrisome. What if he got lost in the mass of people at Disney World and was separated from his parents? They smoothed his fears with the assurance that they would never be separated once they got back “home.”
Have you ever wondered if the Bible speaks to us about heaven in such terms? What will it be like in heaven? We are made of the dust of earth, 70% water, and we must continually breathe the air of our environment to survive. Our bodies are perfectly suited for life in this habitat. But how do we conceive of heaven, a spiritual realm? Some believe that the Bible describes God’s home for us in much the same way that couple would describe that wonderful home to their child who had no experience or understanding of the nature of the new homeland.
Like that child, we too are adopted sons of God (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5) and Jesus came from heaven (John 3:13) and has returned again to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house so that we can always be with Him (John 14:2-3). And since we have no experience or concept of heaven we read of a city of gold, like glass with a wall of jasper covered in precious gems, and gates made of pearl with streets of gold (Revelation 21:18-21).
Will heaven literally have streets of gold? There are few who take this literally but it is a way of communicating to us how glorious it will be there. There are some scholars however who believe that heaven will be a renewed Garden of Eden, Paradise lost will become Paradise restored, and we will inhabit a new earth as was intended before sin and death interrupted man’s walk with God.
Joe Beam cites passages that promote this theory of a literal new earth being the heavenly habitation of men in eternity. John did see a new heaven and new earth coming down out of heaven (Revelation 21:1-2) and Peter wrote that we are looking for a new earth (2 Peter 3:13). Beam believes that the destruction of the earth when the Lord returns will be a purifying fire and not a literal destruction, just as the earth was said to be destroyed by the flood (Genesis 6:13).1 Applying a literal translation, he uses Romans 8:20-21 to demonstrate that even the creation is longing for redemption from the curse (Genesis 3:17-19). By this theory Jesus is making ALL things new (Revelation 21:5), and we await the restoration of ALL things (Acts 3:21) when He returns.
Will heaven be a spiritual home for Christians or will we in our new glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-50) dwell on a new physical earth? It seems the stronger case can be made for the former but perhaps such knowledge is too wonderful for our current comprehension (Psalm 139:6). What we do know is that we will serve Him there (Revelation 22:3). Assuredly, it will be a joyful service for which we are perfectly equipped and we will be with Christ forever (John 14:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:17). No fear, no sin, no temptation, no tears, no pain, no death, no more curse, no separation from the Lord who purchased us. For now, that’s all we really need to know.
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).”
Joe Beam & Lee Wilson, The True Heaven, Leafwood Publishers Abilene, TX. 1984, pp.114-5