Don’t you just hate it when things aren’t compatible? Like when all you have is a standard socket set and the bolt you need to remove requires a metric socket. Or, when you forget to bring your phone charger on a trip and you can’t use your spouse’s because she has a newer model phone. We’ve all been there.
That’s how many people think of Heaven and Earth, as though they are opposites, incompatible in virtually every way. But such an antithetical view of Heaven and Earth creates problems of its own.
Have you ever noticed the contradiction between the pastor’s comments at a typical funeral service versus the comments made at the ensuing graveside service? The funeral message often speaks of an ethereal Heaven where the deceased is delivered from all of their earthly concerns and physical struggles, while the focus at the graveside is placed on the hope of a bodily resurrection. Now that’s a head scratcher! If our eternal abode is a blissful, though immaterial Heaven, why would we be brought back for a bodily resurrection? What possible good would a body be in a non-physical Heaven anyway? Oddly, few seem to notice the incongruity.
The source of this confusion stems from a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of Heaven itself. The Bible doesn’t view Heaven and Earth as incompatible opposites but as a Kingdom that has been divided. Remember, in the beginning, we are told that Adam walked with God in Paradise and that Paradise existed here on Earth.
Heaven wasn’t an ethereal, non-physical place at that time. And it won’t be in the future when we have been resurrected and have physical bodies that require a Heaven that can accommodate them. So why should we believe that Heaven is any different right now?
Nevertheless, many people think of Heaven and Earth as though they represent two discordant realities—like oil and water, destined to be separated forever. But once again, we discover something remarkably different when we allow the Bible to weigh in on the issue. The Bible not only suggests that Heaven and Earth are compatible, the Apostle Paul wrote that a day is coming when they will be reunited!
“And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:10, NLT).
The Apostle John added his voice to the conversation, providing an eyewitness account of this future event.
“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:2-3, NLT).
Heaven is where God is, and one day that will include the Earth! Just as it was in the beginning, so it will be again. Just as God originally intended it should be, it will be. God and man, Heaven and Earth, will one day be one.
The fact that we are promised a bodily resurrection only makes sense if there is a physical dimension to Heaven. The fact that Heaven and Earth will one day be merged only makes sense if they are compatible realities.
In actuality, the only incompatibility between Heaven and Earth is sin. Remove sin and the suffering and death associated with it, and you remove the one thing that caused Heaven and Earth to be separated in the first place.
Likewise, if you want to visualize what Heaven will be like, just imagine this world without the sin, without the suffering, without the struggle, and without death!