If you’re a Christian I’m sure you’ve experienced it: walking through a forest with the sunlight streaming through the trees or standing on a the top of mountain with breath-taking views or lying on the hot sand with the sound of the surf pounding on the beach. In that moment all of life seems wonderful. You wish it would last forever. Then a voice inside you says, “Hey – don’t get to liking this too much. Remember, this earth is not your home.”
What if I said to you it soon will be, in a real sense.
Fanciful? Not in the least. It’s thoroughly biblical. It all becomes very clear once you see the big picture. But first there’s a couple of stumbling blocks we need to get out of the way.
- Firstly – the belief that physical matter is sinful or at least unspiritual. That was the teaching of the Gnostics (influenced by Greek dualism) who taught that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good. It has no biblical basis and can really mess up your view of the world.
- Secondly – 2 Peter 3:10 which sates, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” Some say, “See, the earth is going to destroyed – annihilated, and we will never see it again.” No it won’t. Read the whole passage. Peter is drawing a parallel between two cataclysmic periods of judgment: the flood (past) and fire (future). Now in the flood what perished? All land-based life. The earth did not perish. The earth remained. So it will be in the future judgment. It is true this planet will experience devastating judgments, but it won’t be annihilated.
Once we deal with those two problems we then need to stand back and look at the big picture. And the big picture is God’s Redemptive Plan for the ages. When Adam and Eve sinned and plunged the world into sin and ruin, God didn’t abandon his creation. He made a plan to redeem and restore it. His plan was to,
“Reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20)
Note what got reconciled at the cross – not just souls, but all things; that is, all of creation. Derek Tidball in his commentary on Colossians writes,
Salvation means not just the redemption of individuals but the re –creation of the earth and the restoration of the universe to its proper relation with God. It’s a far grander vision that we have often had.
Indeed it is! God’s grand purpose is nothing less than a totally restored creation brought back into harmony with Himself. As Paul puts it in Ephesians 1:10, His plan is to, “Bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” [NIV]. And then,
“Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21)
So this earth is my real home. In a way – yes, but in another way – no. A better way to think of it is, as C.S. Lewis put’s it, this world is ‘a shadow’ of our real home. The best is yet to come.
Look at that beautiful sunset. It will look better.
Smell that sweet fragrance of spring air. It will smell sweeter.
Taste that delicious ripe peach from the tree. It will taste juicier.
Is there some place on this earth that you’ve always wanted to go? Don’t bust your gut trying to get there. You will see it. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do – some activity, some hobby, or some interest? Don’t fret yourself about it. In all likelihood, you’ll get to do it. There are some Christians whose life ambition is to get to Israel before they die. Personally, I’d rather wait until Jesus gets there. The place will be a lot better after he arrives!
Randy Alcorn makes the point that if we want to know what our eternal home is going to be like, the best place to start is by looking around us. Don’t close your eyes and try to imagine the unimaginable. Open your eyes, because this present earth is just as much a valid reference point for envisioning the New Earth as our present bodies are a valid reference point for envisioning our new bodies.
It all makes a lot of sense when you start thinking about it. Enjoy your view out the window today.