The real heaven and earth
John, whose revelation is recorded in the last book of the Bible, lived in a time that, like ours, had a plethora of problems. Yet he saw a promise of harmony based on the recognition of God, good, as the cause of all that really is. He lived what Christ Jesus referred to as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Doesn’t this indicate that through a more spiritual way of thinking and living, this promise is available to all right now?
Innumerable examples in the Bible show that there is no human circumstance that God’s infinite love and power cannot correct and heal. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains, “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony” (p. 390).
A seemingly endless succession of recent calamities, including a pandemic, floods, fires, drought, and political upheaval, has left many gripped by fear and despair. Underlying those emotions are two theories: that creation is flawed and includes evil and that evil events can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. One might even be persuaded that evil is superior to good.
However, the Bible presents an entirely different perspective. John’s revelation in particular offers a spiritual vision of harmony right where the physical senses report suffering: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; . . . And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:1, 3, 4).
Christian Science teaches—and thousands of testimonies documented in this magazine and its sister publications over a hundred and forty years prove—that by understanding God, we can experience the deliverance that biblical characters did. Like the Apostle Paul, we can be profoundly persuaded that nothing can separate us from God’s love (see Romans 8:38, 39).
What begins to dawn in consciousness as we progressively feel this inseparability from God, good, is a reorientation of thought. What appears as a material universe governed by material laws becomes better understood as the “new heaven” and “new earth” governed by divine law. This is the real heaven and earth of God’s creating.
By understanding God, we can experience the deliverance that biblical characters did.
What John saw, we can also experience. Explaining that the apostle’s corporeal sense of heaven and earth had given way to a spiritual sense, Mrs. Eddy writes, “This is Scriptural authority for concluding that such a recognition of being is, and has been, possible to men in this present state of existence,—that we can become conscious, here and now, of a cessation of death, sorrow, and pain” (Science and Health, p. 573).
This encourages us to look beyond material explanations and predictions and rely on the spiritual understanding of God’s universe and its everlasting spiritual perfection. It assures us that we can expect good, not evil, and see it expressed in our individual lives, in our communities and countries, and in the world.
God, Spirit, operates through divine laws to govern His perfect universe—not by intervening in what appears to be a material universe, but by sustaining spiritual reality. Thus, we don’t pray to fix an imperfect creation, but to see the present perfection of God’s creation. Relying on these divine laws, we can overcome what appear to be material laws of inharmony and their effects. This reliance, based on spiritual understanding, never ignores human conditions, but causes the real heaven and earth, God-given health and goodness, to be experienced to a greater and greater degree in our lives.
At one time I suffered from severe back pain. The prognosis seemed bleak. However, I had experienced many healings through prayer alone, so I continued to pray with an understanding trust in God as all-powerful, ever-present good.
One day, I was studying the biblical account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who had been threatened with death by fire if they would not bow down to the Babylonian king’s idol (see Daniel, chap. 3). I was suddenly struck by their faith. They trusted themselves entirely to God and His laws, regardless of the consequences. They told the king, “We will not serve thy gods.” And although they were put into the fire, they were not harmed by it.
I realized that I, too, could trust God entirely and not bow down to the idols of fear and belief in material laws. Within a week, my back was completely, permanently restored to normality.
Because divine law is supreme, invariable, and harmonious, each of us, following what Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated, can confidently and fearlessly face down evil and prove the real heaven and the real earth to be entirely good, right where we are. As Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Warren Berckmann, Guest Editorial Writer