While grilling some chicken last night, Jackson brought me his Bible. (He wanted a “real” Bible the other day, rather than a “kids” Bible, so we stopped and let him pick one out.) He had been reading Genesis 1 and he had a question about creation. Our conversation about creation prompted an exchange about eternity and Jackson said, “I think heaven will be like going back to the Garden of Eden.” I said, “Well, in many ways, there’s some truth to that. Things will probably be something like they were in the Garden. But God says that the end isn’t a return to the Garden but instead it’s life in the eternal city, the new Jerusalem.”
Jackson sat there blinking at me.
So we read through Revelation 21&22 and did a little “new heavens, new earth” theology together. I told him that heaven wasn’t some far away disembodied existence where we float around on clouds and ride raindrops and all of that stuff. Instead, God promises to renew and redeem the earth, to restore it back to its originally good purposes. So when humanity made a mess of the creation God deemed to be “good”, He didn’t give up on those purposes. Rather, He’s working toward the achievement of those good purposes once more. That’s eternity, the place where things are “good” once again. The new heavens, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem all point to the work of God who will make “all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
Jackson said, “I like the sound of that.”
I do, too.
Back porch eschatology is the best kind of eschatology.