The New Earth
On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen. (Isaiah 35; 65:17-25; Matthew 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 11:15; 21:1-7; 22:1-5.)
I ran into the water and quickly waded out, stopping only when the surface of the blue reached my chin. My breath shortened as I felt the sea tighten around my chest and neck.
This will either be really awesome or really stupid.
I was 15 but could hardly swim. I also had to contend with the memory of my cousin who, just a few days earlier, had been stung on the foot by a stingray in these very waters.
In spite of all this, I was determined; I scanned the surface of the water intently.
A little while passed before I finally heard it—a distinctive “whoosh” to my left. I panned around and saw two fins, about 20 metres off, disappear into the blue. The next time I saw them they were closer but no longer heading towards me.
Oh well. That’s still pretty cool.
I’ll never forget my first up-close encounter with wild dolphins . . . especially since the next time they surfaced they were two feet in front of me.
It was a mother and her calf. As they took a breath, I held mine. I looked into mum’s eye as her three-metre (ish) body slowly glided past, flanked by her baby. I could have reached out and touched them.
As the pair dived and disappeared from view, I exhaled. I would have been satisfied with “pretty cool”, but am so thankful God gave me “really awesome”.
More than our Maker
“You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them . . .” (Nehemiah 9:6, NIV1).
It’s easy for us to remember God’s role as Creator (although I’ll admit I often forget). A sunrise, a song, the sound of a beating heart—reminders of the One “in [whom] all things were created” (Colossians 1:16) are all around us; we need only stop and look (or listen).
I learned about this special part of God’s character at a very young age, with Genesis 1:1 among the first Bible verses I committed to memory. I have since realised, though, that “in the beginning” God did more than just create.
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished” (Genesis 2:1, NKJV, italics added).
Here’s something worth remembering about our God: inasmuch as He is Creator, He is also Completer. When it comes to His work, and His will, the Lord isn’t prone to stopping short or being content with “that’ll do”. What He starts, He finishes.
Imagine if He didn’t . . .
“And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:24).
A chorus of cheer and joyful song broke out among the heavenly host.2 It was a shout of celebration—at the birth of new life—but also anticipation; they knew what was about to happen.
A hush slowly fell over the expectant crowd.
Then God said, “You know what? I’m done. That’s enough. Simon, those blueprints I gave you of the man and the woman—you can dispose of them.”
The only sound to be heard was the chirping of the newly-created crickets.
After a few moments, which felt, ironically, like an eternity, Simon the archangel spoke up. “Umm, Lord? Are you sure about that? The earth feels, you know, kind of incomplete. What about your plans for humanity?”
The Lord shrugged His shoulders. “Yeah, nah . . . I’ve changed My mind. That’ll do.”
“And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).
Perhaps the world would have been a better place if humans had never existed (see Genesis 6:6). The fact is, though, God had always intended for the earth to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), and not just by animals. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4).
This was the case “in the beginning”. Not only that, it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Until it wasn’t.
In Eden, sin was a possibility but never a predetermined outcome. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, the Creator could have dusted off His hands and left humanity to suffer their deserved fate. Yet He told the serpent, “He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel” (Genesis 3:15). “This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. Before they heard of the thorn and the thistle, of the toil and sorrow that must be their portion, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that could not fail of giving them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ.”3
God created. God completed. Humans faltered. Sin entered, but God countered (with a promise). Jesus suffered, and “by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Thank you, Lord, for Plan B.
Last but not least
I used to see the 28th Fundamental Belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a sort of footnote. Sure, it’s great, I would think, but it doesn’t impact my life on a daily basis.
The concept of a new earth, though, reveals the true extent of God’s plan of restoration. He isn’t content to rescue humanity and leave the earth as a rotting, rusty relic. God is thorough; this world will be healed and made whole once more. So think about this: if God cares that much about the redemption of the soil and the sparrows4, how much more is He actively engaged and invested in the healing and restoration of His children!
As you read this, I know life, in some small or big way, is taking a toll. God, however, has given us a promise and a reason to hope. Plan B is still in motion. “He who [is] seated on the throne [has] said, ‘I am making everything new! . . . Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:5).
So, hang in there. Hang on. Hang tight . . . to the One who is both “author” and “finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV). When life takes a blow, the pain grows and all you have is “I don’t know”, remember that our Creator—and Completer—is still at work. “In the beginning God created”, and in the end He will finish what He started.
I don’t know about you, but to me that’s pretty cool.
Actually, scratch that.
It’s really, truly awesome!
- All Bible verses used in this article are from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
- Ellen White describes a similar scene taking place at the creation of the world: “The angelic host viewed the scene with delight, and rejoiced at the wonderful works of God” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 44).
- Ellen White, Education, p. 27.
- See Matthew 10:29-31.