What Will Heaven Be Like?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
When Jesus speaks of God’s will being done both on earth and in heaven, it makes me wonder what heaven will be like. It is certainly true that for all its beauty, this world is a flawed and dangerous place that is under constant assault from earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tornados, blizzards, and floods. And the human body, for all its spectacular beauty and complexity, fights a losing battle with diseases, defects, and injuries. It will be a relief to escape our current limitations. The Bible draws a strong line of distinction between physical and spiritual. Some Christians believe all that’s physical will be consumed in fire and all that’s left in heaven will be spiritual in nature.
But the Bible offers another possibility.
The prophet wrote, “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore” (Is. 65:17).
John reports, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more” (Rev. 21:1).
Paul wrote, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:19).
And again Paul wrote, “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Eph. 1:10).
We look forward not just to a new heaven, but a new earth where all that God made to be good in creation (Gen. 1) will become good again—creation perfected. It will be the Philippines without typhoons. It will be Africa without Ebola. It will be India without malaria.
Years ago, I read about a ’72 Datsun that had been stolen. Considering the terrible shape it was in, the owner couldn’t figure out why anyone would steal it. Outside all rust and dents. Inside a dead dashboard and torn fabrics. Nine months later the police called. Her car had been found. But it didn’t look at all like her car. Everything about it was perfect. The only thing that was the same was the VI number. The thief had completely restored the car.
Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection redeem and restore not just humanity but creation itself. God loves creation and has big plans to restore it. So it only makes sense that we should love creation too. There are places on earth that already seem quite heavenly. The day is coming when all of creation will not only seem heavenly, it will be heavenly.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Describe some places that seem so heavenly you’ll hate to leave them behind. Name some things that would have to change for this world to really become heavenly. Why is it important to have a high view not only of spiritual matters but physical matters as well?
PRAYER: Almighty God, Creator of all things seen and unseen, teach us not to draw a line between what is spiritual and what is physical. Help us to love this world as much as you do and to care for it with reverence and gratitude. Amen.
Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren. Send a note to Dave.
What Do You Do?
If you sit with someone long enough, included in the initial small talk (“Where do you live?” “How do you know so-and-so?”) someone in the conversation will inevitably ask, “What do you do?” What are we looking for when we ask that question? And what do we hear when we’re on the receiving end of that question?
What we do is important stuff in this world, and God desires greatly to be invited into what it is we find ourselves doing every day. God takes delight in the work of our hands. But do we sometimes confuse what we and others “do” with who we are and, especially, who we are in Christ? Would our question change if we thought about it more deeply? And what about our answer? How about you? What Do You Do?