Heaven - here or up there?

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nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
Will the consummate state of heaven be HERE on a renewed/new earth....or will it be UP THERE where Christ is currently? Some say it will not be "here" but "up there" because Christ is currently "there" preparing a place for his disciples and will come again so that where he is we can be also (John 14), because the heavens will be dissolved and elements melted away (2 Peter 3), and because heaven/earth will fly away from the Lord's face in the day of judgment (Rev 20).

However, some say that the consummate state will be DOWN HERE on a renewed earth, and that the Christian is a pilgrim of sorts establishing a colony until one day the intermediate state of heaven comes to earth and the earth is renewed and we all dwell here forever.

It seems like the former definition is what the Westminster divines had in mind. Looking at WLC 53 about Christ's ascension, it says "visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men, to raise up our affections thither, and to prepare a place for us, where himself is, and shall continue till his second coming at the end of the world" Question 90 says:

Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And this is the perfect and full communion which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

Also, from I Thessalonians (about us being caught up in the clouds), it seems the consummate state will be "up there" rather than "down here." In that case, maybe the people who believe the former (heaven is "up there") would believe the "new earth" is referring moreso to the time of the New Covenant? Just a thought.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
My current understanding of the new earth is that heaven (the place Jesus has prepared for us) will descend on the earth we're now living in. Don't know if this is confessional. Haven't given it much thought or effort to study.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Heaven will come down to Earth, and Earth will be resurrected and glorified to meet Heaven.

The dwelling place of God will be with men i.e. on Earth. It was God's will that He become a man, after all, and Man's domain is Earth.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Rev 21:3, ESV)

This is not inconsistent with the Lord preparing a wonderful place for us when we die, in Heaven.
 
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nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
Heaven will come down to Earth, and Earth will be resurrected and glorified to meet Heaven.

Richard, what Scriptures support your conclusion? Are you thinking of Revelation 21:2 where the holy city descends from heaven? How do you understand the passage in 2 Peter 3 that the heavens will be dissolved and elements melted away? Do you understand the "new heaven and new earth" - the first heaven and earth being passed away (Rev 21:1) - to be a renewed, glorified heaven and earth?

This is not inconsistent with the Lord preparing a wonderful place for us when we die, in Heaven.

In John 14, Jesus seems to be saying he will prepare a place where he is going...and that he will return and receive us to himself SO that where he is going to be, there we will be also. Does this not seem to be implying that Christ is currently making a place where he's at, and that when he receives us to himself, the place will be there...not "here" where we're currently at? Or would this place be part of the holy city descending from heaven (Rev 21:2)?

The dwelling place of God will be with men i.e. on Earth. It was God's will that He become a man, after all, and Man's domain is Earth.

Interesting point. I hadn't thought before that the Rev 21:3 verse would be implying God would dwell with men i.e. on Earth.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
You have to interpret Scripture with Scripture. Scripture is its best interpreter.

The present Earth and Cosmos will be dissolved by fire, and then renewed and glorified, and made the best of all possible worlds for Christ and His people.

Our bodies likewise disintegrate but will be the same bodies, yet renewed and glorified.

Christ comes for His people in the providence of death, and they will be eternally where He is, first with Him in Heaven, then with Him on the New Earth.

This is the classical Reformed position - i.e. that this Earth and Cosmos will be transformed, rather than the New Heavens and New Earth being completely new. See e.g. Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Rom 8:18-22, ESV)
 
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