The present heavens and earth, tainted by sin, are going to be destroyed some time in the future: ‘The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.... That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat’ (2 Peter 3:10,12). To illustrate God’s power and ability to fulfill that, the Genesis flood that destroyed everything except the people and animals in the ark, was an example. It demonstrated God’s judgement on sin in the days of Noah. (This explains the antipathy of modern unbelievers to accept the flood account in Genesis 6-9. That world wide catastrophe must have caused most of the Geological formations of the earth and the fossil record. But they oppose that, because they refuse to accept God as the Judge of all the earth.)
After the destruction of this present heavens and earth, there will be a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1). They will be quite different than these present ones.
- There will be no sea. The Bible often represents the sea as the abode of evil. In Isaiah 57:20 we read: ‘The wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.’ (This sounds like the opponents of God today, who are ever restless, busy casting up mire and mud against God.) We also have the depiction of the great sea monster Leviathan who is destroyed by God (Psalm 74:13,14). In Revelation 13:1 and 17:1 the beast and the great prostitute come out of the sea. The sea occupies around 74% of the earth’s surface. That will be inhabitable land on the new earth. The same will apply to deserts and unproductive areas. God will not waste space, since there will be many billions of people. (They will live together like one large family, who know and love each other.)
- Will the city of Revelation 21:2 be a real city? In the Old Testament the unbelievers built the first cities: Cain, Nimrod and the builders of Babel (Genesis 4:17, 10:10, 11:1-9). God put His name in the old Jerusalem, but it was an unfaithful city. In His eternal kingdom, God gives His people what they never had on earth, a God-centered city in a community of peace and justice.
The wonder of that new, eternal home for those people who loved God while on earth, is astounding:
- People were originally created to live on earth, so their eternal home will be on the new earth.
- They were created for fellowship with God, so God will live among them (Revelation 21:3).
- They were created as social beings for community, and so a true city will be established.
- God gave His children His eternal spirit, so they will live eternally.
- Because of the resurrection of Jesus, His followers will also have supernatural, resurrected bodies (Philippians 3:21).
God created the first heavens and earth. He will recreate or renew the old one, so that His people can live on a perfect new earth.