A New World
In his book on heaven, Randy Alcorn has this account of a conversation:
“Whenever I think about heaven,” a pastor said to me, “it makes me depressed. I'd rather just cease to exist when I die.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I can't stand the thought of that endless tedium. To float around in the clouds with nothing to do but strum a harp . . . it's all so terribly boring. Heaven doesn't sound much better than hell. I'd rather be annihilated than spend eternity in a place like that.”
The pastor may not have read his Bible all the way to the end.
John’s final vision in the book of Revelation presents an exciting prospect for the believer. He saw “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-8). And he heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (v. 3).
The result is to be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for there is a new order and “the old order of things has passed away” (v. 4). Heaven and earth are to be united, and we are to inhabit the new creation, a perfect creation without the suffering we see today throughout this world. We know the suffering of the world is a result of the entrance of sin, but the new world will be free of sin and suffering.
When God made Adam and Eve, He made them from the earth and for the earth. We are earthlings, and God has no intention of abandoning that plan. Rather, He will remake the earth for us. And the new earth will not be less exciting than the present earth, but more exciting. Life on the new earth will be more productive, more imaginative, more joyous, more harmonious. Everything will be better because there will be no sin, disease, pain, death, or conflict.
Are you looking forward to the new life in the new heaven and the new earth? As Peter writes, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13). John will go on to give us some details, and we will follow his description as he does.
Prayer: Lord, create in me a hopeful heart. May I look forward to the new creation with excited anticipation. Give me a longing for that new life with You.