Last year my wife and I went on our annual summer holiday to Portugal, the food was fresh and healthy, the sunsets were incredible and the sea was great for surfing but freezing. As I’ve been pondering on that visit i’ve been asking myself when God finally makes all things new as he promises throughout the scriptures, what will things look like? As amazing as these views and things in creation are, according to the bible they are broken. They aren’t as they should be, as beautiful as they are, they are a part of this broken world, they are just a pale imitation of the sunsets, foods and landscapes that one day will be,
Heres some thoughts that may help clear some ideas or preconceived understandings ( I don’t pretend to know it all, i believe the only way that is possible is when we meet the triune God).
Firstly its important to have a proper understanding of what life to come is all about. It is not going to be some cartoon version of heaven were we play harps in the clouds and wear white robes for eternity. One famous hymn says;
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing Gods praise
Than when we first begun”
I love this hymn, but are we really going to be endlessly worshiping with song? Is that what heaven is going to be like? Yes there will be worship, but in all kinds of ways, not just singing.
Secondly we need to fully understand God’s redemptive plan in all its dimensions. Hoekema writes that:
“The total work of Christ is nothing less than to redeem this entire creation from the effects of sin. That purpose will not be accomplished until God has ushered in the new earth, until Paradise Lost has become Paradise Regained. We need a clear understanding of the doctrine of the new earth, therefor, in order to see God’s redemptive program in cosmic dimensions. We need to realise that God will not be satisfied until the entire universe has been purged of all the results of man’s fall.” – Hoekema
God is not going to destroy earth it is to become new. “Kainos” is the Greek word for new, however this word means “new in nature” or “quality”. In other words when we read a new heaven and a new earth, they are pointing to a world renewed, not a world destroyed and brand new.
Thirdly its important to have a proper understanding of Old Testament prophesy. The Old Testament prophases speak of an amazing future for the earth, one where it will be far more productive, spectacular and glorious then it is now. It talks of a new (made new, Kainos) creation, Jesus affirms this vision.
Jesus has purchased for us reconciliation but the consummation is to come, its what lies ahead. Matthew 19:28 here jesus talks about his return bringing into being this new world. On this side of it all we live with the toll paid but can’t get on the boat. Let me explain… On this side of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension we live in the tension of the new world being paid for (by Jesus) but not completely rolled out.
Romans 8: 19-22 says that even the non-human creation shares the destiny of Gods chosen people. The ground is cursed because of us, sin infected and affected everything. Therefor the earth is bound up with our future redemption. Our bodies aren’t as they should be, they are frail, susceptible to illness and death. Likewise the earth isn’t working as it should, tsunamis decimating landscapes and villages, tornados ripping up trees and taking life, etc. The liberation that we are going to enjoy in our new bodies, creation (non-human) is going to enjoy in its restoration.
I think we can safely say that what is to come will be better then the things we think are amazing now. The red sky at night shepherds delight saying will go out the window when we see the gloriousness of earth and heaven restored.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. Blessings.