Previously, I argued that our eternal home will be on this earth. This current world will be purified and turned into a sinless paradise. Now I want to turn my attention to a question everyone wants the answer to: what is the meaning of life? Rev. 21:3-4 says: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” This passage is a good place to start thinking about the topic at hand.
The meaning of life
A proper view of heaven as a restored earth gives us an answer to the question of the meaning of life. To an atheist there is no meaning in life. We are nothing but accidents. We randomly evolved over a long period of time. We are born, we live a short life, and then we die. No one will remember us and we will remember no one. Eventually, all life will go extinct, and the entire universe will run out of energy and simply cease to exist.
However, most people don’t look at life this way. Every religion seeks to understand why their god or gods created us. Even Christians have pondered the question as to why God created us in the first place. Why did God create a world full of death, disease, and bad things? Why was I born to begin with? Everyone asks these questions at some point in their life.
First off, God didn’t create this world with death and disease. He created it perfectly. The reason why bad things happen is because of sin. The Bible puts the blame for wars, murder, and every other calamity on humans. This is the complete opposite of what many people think – that human beings are basically good. The Bible teaches that we are basically bad (Psalms 14:1-3; Romans 3:9-20).
However, God did do something about all the bad things. He came to earth as a man, Jesus Christ, to take on the penalty that we deserve. God’s plan is to restore creation back to its original pristine condition. History, then, can be seen in three major stages:
1) “Very Good” Creation
2) A Fallen and Cursed Creation
3) Restored and Glorified Creation
In Genesis 1, it is taught that God created the world “very good.” In Genesis 3, God cursed mankind and the rest of creation. Romans 8:19-25 says that all of creation will be liberated. This, of course, will include everything that has been cursed and now dies. What other part of creation besides humans dies? Animals! Yes, animals, including dogs, cats, mice, elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and everything else will be included in heaven.
What does all this have to do with the meaning of life? Quite simply these three stages show us God’s plan. God created everything in a pristine condition. We messed up the world by rebelling (sinning) against him, and he came to save us (Jesus). He will return and purify the world (and judge the wicked as well). However, only those who believe that Jesus is Lord and rose from the grave for our sins will be allowed to live on the restored world.
The fact that God will restore the world shows us that a perfect world was his plan all along. Life after the Second Coming of Christ is the true definition of life. 1 Timothy 6:19 says, “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” Notice that Paul says that the next age will be “life that is truly life.” No human being alive today (or ever really) has experienced what it is truly like to live. Our world has been tainted by sin ever since Adam and Eve sinned. This current life, where we are born, live a short life, and then die, was not what God had originally planned. God’s intention was to create a perfect world that would last forever.
God living among us
Rev. 21:3 tells us, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Notice that it says that God will come down to us, not that we go up to him. Randy Alcorn sums everything up very well (I will quote him at length):
“Most views of heaven are anti-incarnational. They fail to grasp that Heaven will be God’s dwelling with us – resurrected people – on the resurrected Earth. The Incarnation is about God inhabiting space and time as a human being – the new heavens and New Earth are about God making space and time his eternal home. As Jesus is God incarnate, so the New Earth will be Heaven incarnate. Think of what Revelation 21:3 tells us – God will relocate his people and come down from Heaven to the New Earth to live with them: ‘God himself will be with them.’ Rather than our going up to live in God’s home forever, God will come down to live in our home forever. Simply put, though the present Heaven is ‘up there,’ the future, eternal Heaven will be ‘down here.’ If we fail to see that distinction, we fail to understand God’s plan and are unable to envision what our eternal home will look like.”
There is another aspect to all of this that most people don’t even know about. Genesis 3:8 says, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Wait!! What did that just say? God was walking in the cool of the day. God was in human form living among Adam and Eve!
God was originally living with us in the beginning. This fact along with him dying on the cross to save us, and that he will restore the world when he returns gives us the answer to meaning of life. The meaning of life is to live with God, in a perfect world, forever. That is the very reason why God created us to begin with.
Think about it. Before God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), only He existed. He was perfectly fine without us. In fact, God does not need us. This should make us pause and think for a moment. God was perfectly fine without heaven, earth, angels, humans, animals, and everything else that he created. He is beyond space and time, needing neither. Yet “in the beginning” he created everything that humans have come to know and love. And even when we rebelled against him, he simply wouldn’t go way. He came back and died for our sins, not his (not that he ever sinned). And now he is returning to remake things the way they were intended. God does not need us, he wants us. God wants to live with us on earth. That is his dream.
 Randy Alcorn. 2004. Heaven. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 45-46.