We cannot imagine what is going to come next. [God] has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to end (Ecc. 3.11). No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2.9). Stretch your mind and strain your eyes to build a sustaining hope.
HOPE is the theme to the new creation. The creation waits with eager (αποδεχομαι) longing (Rom. 8.19). αποδεχομαι [apodexomai] refers to an anxious, yet careful and patient waiting–a reservation of knowing something is coming but continuing in patience. Hope that creation will be set free from corruption to bring glory to the children of God (Rom. 8.20-21). We wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies, we groan inwardly for the hope that we were saved by (Rom. 8.23-24). The new creation is unique–hope that is seen is not hope (Rom. 8.24-25).
So, where is heaven and hell? Heaven and hell are physical and not just spiritual. There is a resurrection of believers (1 Cor. 15) and a resurrection of unbelievers (Dan. 12.2; Rev. 20). Heaven and hell continue to exist after this creation. The Bible clarifies that heaven and hell continue after the moment God commands the cosmos to be “rolled up like a scroll” (Is. 34.4), to “disappear with a roar” (2 Pt. 3.10), and to “melt in the heat” (2 Pt. 3.12). This of it this way: suppose I have a paper with the image of Dante’s universe on it. It’s two dimensional (for the analogy to work I need to remove a dimension). If I crumble up the piece of paper the external dimensions where I am do not crumble up too. I can crumble the paper with those dimensions and still not be affected by it.
Eschatology is becoming part of the world of cosmological discussion. Gravity will overcome the expansion of the universe and collapse back in on itself. The Big Crunch refers to the singularity at the end of the universe (dark energy being incapable of expanding the universe to equilibrium). This will be a heat death.
There will be different physics.
There will be no death or decay. “The order of things has passed away, I am making everything new!” (Rev.21.4-5). No more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21.4). This implies an elimination of the second law of thermodynamics. “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay” (Rom. 8.21). “The redemption of [their] bodies” (Rom. 8.23).
Read over the account of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21.10-27). The measurements used by the angel’s rod is given in cubits (17.5 inches). The walls are 217 ft. thick. The length, width, and height are 1,380 miles each. The structure has corners so it is either a cube or a pyramid. Thus, there is spatial dimensionality.
Gravity turns all massive bodies larger than 300 miles (500 km) in diameter into spherical shapes. New Jerusalem is 1,380 miles!
Electromagnetism will be different. We will be bathed in light, but not electromagnetic light. No sun, no moon, or stars will exist (Is. 34.4; Rev. 21.23; 22.5). No darkness, night, or shadows (Rev. 21.23; 22.5).
Gravity, mass, or both, at least as we know them, will not exist. All laws are linked to thermodynamics, gravity, and electromagnetism. The elimination of all three from the new creation implies a removal of all present physics. God means it when he says, “I am making everything new.”
There will be a oneness with people and with God. There will be different dimensions–a resemblance of his oneness (Jn. 17.21). We can never be so “far’ from each other to not have immediate and intimate contact with others at the same “time.” Perhaps time may be geometric instead of linear (there will be time) — countless, simultaneous interaction. No schedules or lines to spend time with Jesus (2 Cor. 5.8; Phil. 1.21-26), a friend, a relative, Abraham, Moses, David, Mary, Adam, or whomever you wish!
We are prepared by grace. A full pardon gives the new creation of rewards and pleasures as expressions of grace. Only humans can experience grace; angels only observe it. Angels observe us as they seek to comprehend the full impact of this grace (1 Cor. 4.9; 1 Pt. 1.10-12). Angels watch us grasp how “wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3.18). God’s “intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold of the wisdom of God should be made known to the rules and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 3.10). Because of grace, redeemed humans will experience new creation rewards in ways angels cannot.
There will be relationship pleasures. There is beatification (1 Cor. 13.12). We will be filled and surrounded by God’s goodness. We will be taught by God (Jn. 6.45). This means we will be filled with knowledge and understanding (not infinitely). Each individual will be great to communicate with, overflowing in kindness, and compassion. No obnoxious people, dreadful bores, or self-absorbed whiners.
There will be no marriage or family. Ultimate oneness with people and God is described in the new creation as a marriage feast (Rev. 19.7-9). All of us will be family. Marriage, family, and relationships as we know it will be replaced by something so much more intimate, pure, and wonderful (even greater than sexual intimacy!). God designed marriage and family to develop and experience maximum intimacy and nurture within the confines of cosmic physics and dimensions. Physics were also used to limit our depravity. Never again will space, time, physics, and the effects of sin keep any of us apart.
All of creation is designed for us, for his glory. A few glimpses and clues that God has left for the new creation are amazing! How much the Creator has invested and will continue to invest for humanity’s sake is astounding beyond all comprehension. Have you ever given the new creation any attention? How often are you groaning in the hope for the new creation, the redemption of this universe and our bodies?
Does creation benefit the lost? The tragedy is that the unbeliever freely rejects this incomparable good that God offers him. So in that sense he does not benefit from being created. Nonetheless, it remains true that the reason God created him was for his own benefit, that is, for his own good, and every created person has the incredible benefit of the opportunity of knowing God, a benefit not enjoyed by persons whom God did not create (obviously).
How often are we groaning? We should groan all the time to be released from the curse we give ourselves.
How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Heb. 2.3)