“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” -Revelation 21:1-2
The first time I read these verses, I whined, “Oh no, you mean in the new heavens and new earth there won’t be any sea? Heaven’s centerpiece will be a city? I’ve always preferred country landscapes, not cities. It doesn’t sound very appealing!”
C. S. Lewis long ago addressed my fears when he wrote:
“Our notion of heaven involves perpetual negations: no food, no drink, no sex, no time…Against all these, to be sure, we set one positive: the vision and enjoyment of God… The negatives have an unfair advantage. We feel that the vision of God will come not to fulfill but to destroy our nature. We must not allow this to happen. We must believe that every negation will be only the reverse side of a fulfilling.”*
I agree with Lewis. My desire for the new earth to include oceans and country landscapes is so limited by my human perceptions. Heaven won’t be less than my natural experience here on earth; it will be more. And it will be far better!
How? Lewis sheds more light on this. “Our natural experiences are like penciled lines on flat paper. If our natural experiences vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape; not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.”
I believe, Lord, that heaven will be more, not less, of what I enjoy on earth. Make that fact come alive for me today.