Will the current heavens and earth be destroyed in order to make way for the new heavens and earth?

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Well, it's an interesting question to ask, whether or not the new heavens and the new earth will require the destruction of what exists now. And one thing I would say about this is that there's a difference of opinion, depending on sort which theological camp you might come from. From my point of view, there's a saying that I learned in seminary and it goes like this: God doesn't make junk, and he doesn't junk what he makes. And to unpack that a little bit, when God made the heavens and the earth, he declares them good. And of course we know that sin enters into the world and it changes that, it infects it. But that doesn't mean that all of a sudden it's bad, discardable in some sense, and so when we think about what God's redemptive purposes are for, and the scope of his redemptive purposes, we need to realize that that's not just for you or for me, but that it's for the entirety of all his creation, it's for all of his creation. And so, in that sense, when you think about even the way God preaches the kingdom of God, when Christ is preaching that in his gospels, a lot of times you see him healing someone of some sort of illness, making something right that was not quite the way it should be—the blind seeing, the lame walking. And all of those, to me, are indicators of the way he's not only just restoring us in our relationship with Christ, but also restoring his creation. It's a full scope of his redemptive purposes. And so, the answer really in my mind is that the new heavens and the new earth don't eradicate what exists now. It's more of a question of a full restoration of what does exist now at a time when it will be completely free from sin.

Answer by Dr. Scott Manor