Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Heaven, Hell, and Earth?

In Christianity and western thought for that matter, there is a common understanding that a person will either spend eternity in one of two places, heaven or hell.

In fact, this has become the standard question posed to many when presenting the gospel; "Where will you spend eternity, heaven or hell?"

Ever since beginning this blog, I have read numerous discourses on the particulars of salvation, formally known as soteriology. While most evangelical christians understand eternal life to be a gift and something received by faith, there are also many denominations - with the Roman Catholics being the largest - which teach a mixture of faith and works as a prerequisite for eternal life.

I would like to go beyond the salvific matter here, and plunge into the future and its contents. So I pose the following question for you to ponder and consider. If you have an answer or thought that makes Biblical sense, please do us the favour of sharing it. Here is the question:

If all believers will spend eternity in Heaven, and all unbelievers in Hell, what will be the purpose of the earth? Will it be inhabited? Will it still exist?

6 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

The earth will be inhabited by the Millennial nations who will not be resurrected or raptured. They will continue to live in non-glorified bodies like Adam and Eve. They will marry and bear children,living in perfect conditions.

God Bless

Matthew

Daniel said...

Jim asks: If all believers will spend eternity in Heaven, and all unbelievers in Hell, what will be the purpose of the earth? Will it be inhabited? Will it still exist?

Scripture answers: For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,6and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. - 2 Peter 3:5-7 [ESV]

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. - Revelation 21:1 [ESV]

The earth, as we know it, along with all of the present creation will be burned up with fire, inaugerating the arrival of a new heaven and new earth. Even our flesh will be forever changed.

Most of us read John 14:2 and picture heaven in terms of a spatial place with rooms and what not, or perhaps as a large city with many houses in it - but the language is interesting to me. "house" can mean family, and the word alternately translated as mansions or rooms can meen station or position within a family.

I often wonder if it wasn't meant that way - you know, "in my father's family there are many positions, I go on to prepare a position for you" sort of thing...

Either way - I suspect that if we will live beneath the new heavens on a new earth in new bodies, and that God will live there too.

Daniel said...

Sorry about the spelling and grammar - I meant to hit preview... oh well.

Jim said...

Thanks Daniel,

I appreciate your exposition of John 14. Sadly, many have completely missed the typology there. You for one seem to have a very good grasp on it.

It does seem that many christians view of eternity will be quite different from what scripture actually alludes to.

Jim said...

Matthew,

I think you have given me the millenial period of earth. What do think will happen after the millenium? Will the earth still be inhabited? Will it still exist?

Do you agree with Daniel?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

No, I am talking about the eternal state. The believers of the millennium will continue to inhabit the earth and replenish it in earthly bodies.

God's prgramme for humanity will be fulfilled in eternity. The Millennium is only a transitional stage.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew