You’ve Got Questions: What Will Heaven Be Like?
The Bible gives us many images that are full of implications about heaven. For example, the author of Hebrews writes that heaven is a city: “For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (11:10, emphasis mine), “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (13:14, emphasis mine). When we hear the word ‘city,’ we shouldn’t scratch our heads and think, I wonder what that means? We understand cities. Cities have people, buildings, activities, gatherings, art, music, athletics, events of all kinds, and goods and services.
Heaven is also described as a country: “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16). We know about countries. We also know what Earth is like, and thus we know much about what the New Earth (Rev. 21) will be like. If we can’t imagine our present Earth without rivers, mountains, trees, and flowers, then why would we try to imagine the New Earth without these features?
If the word Earth means anything, it means that we can expect to find earthly things there—including atmosphere, mountains, water, trees, people, houses—and even cities, buildings, and streets. Those things are even mentioned in Revelation 21-22:
“the holy city” (Rev. 21:2).
“walls” and “gates” (Rev. 21:12-15, 17-19, 21).
“the river of the water of life” (Rev. 22:1, 2).
“street” (Rev. 22:2).
“the tree of life” and “fruit” (Rev. 22:2)
Just as a new car is a better version of an old car—but with all the same essential components (four wheels, an engine, transmission, steering wheel, etc.), so too will the New Earth be a far better version of the old Earth, but with the same essential physical components. The New Earth will be God’s dwelling place, but it will also be fashioned by God for resurrected people to live there. We’ll love our eternal home, and we’ll love being with Jesus and His family—which will be our family forever.
(This answer is adapted from the book, Heaven by Randy Alcorn)