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Is Heaven Immaterial?

The simple answer to that question is ‘no.’ The Bible teaches that all believers will occupy the New Earth following the resurrection. The eternal Heaven will be a physical world with material objects. The idea of Heaven being some indistinct place where believers drift about on mystical vapors is not biblical. Unfortunately, many writings dealing with Heaven fail to mention the New Earth, and this is where much of the confusion emerges. The Scriptures are not vague nor minimal when presenting this truth.

    The Bible uses the phrase “New Earth” in a redemptive sense. The current heavens and Earth have long been subject to God’s curse resulting from humanity’s sin. All creation “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22) as it awaits the fulfillment of God’s plan. The planet is currently rife with wickedness of every imaginable kind, with death functioning as the ultimate result. The word ‘new’ describes the wholesale renovation undertaken on Earth when God brings redemption to completion.  

     The historic Christian position maintains the new creation is a renewal of the old creation, in which Christ’s work and principally His death and resurrection remove the effects and source of sin. By doing so, restoration is not only for human beings but for all God has made. This agrees with the biblical data, including the declaration of creation’s goodness (Genesis 1:3,10,12,18,21,25,31) and God’s superintendency. The scope of redemption will encompass all that was affected by the fall.

     The first coming of Jesus Christ provided signs of what His eternal kingdom, the new creation, would be like. It looks like a place where creation is restored, bodies are healed, and, most importantly, death is absent.  

     The New Earth will return to mankind what was forfeited at Eden by Adam. The fundamental desire for a perfect earthly environment, which every effort of human progress has tried to accomplish, will be returned. Sin, suffering, pain, and death will no longer dictate society, as the tangible beauty of man’s salvation will be displayed in the New Earth. The Bible describes this eternal destination of Christians as having an unshakable foundation and an incorruptible inheritance.  

   Adam was created from the dust of the Earth, forever establishing humankind’s connection to this planet (Genesis 2:7). Among the various reasons for Jesus’ departure to Heaven was to prepare a place for believers. He promised Christians permanent residence in Heaven (John 14:2-3). This fact causes unnecessary confusion, for Revelation 21 teaches this is the New Earth. That is where the New Jerusalem resides when it physically comes down out of Heaven. That moment will be the full consummation of the Christian faith.  



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