The Earth That Was: The Good Earth
What was the earth like after God created it? God himself called it Good. For God to call something good, it had to be perfect. This is in keeping with God’s character and power. The earth that we live on today is far from perfect, and cannot be the original earth God had created.
We can speculate on the Good Earth that God created. It must have had (1)ideal topography, (2) ideal weather conditions, (3) ideal water supply, (4) ideal landscape, (5) ideal growth conditions.
From the events of the Third Creation Day we may speculate the earth was a single land mass, because the waters were commanded to gather to one place (into one ocean). Another clue is regarding its shape. The Bible mentions the ‘four corners of the earth’ in other places. We know our present earth is so irregular, so it does not have identifiable four corners. Is it possible that Noah’s descendents assumed the earth had four corners because they had heard that the pre-Flood earth had four corners? To idealize the land mass, we may conceive that the earth was a supercontinent of square shape. To optimize the climatic conditions, we may assume the center part was more elevated than the borders. Where would we place the Garden of Eden? If the rivers flowed out of it, it had to be at top elevation.
Based on these arguments, I have proposed an idealized earth shown schematically below. The Garden of Eden is placed at the center, at top elevation. The earth (land) is square, and has four corners. More evidence will be given later (under FLOOD) to support the speculation that the earth was a single land mass and had mild and uniform climate.
The ‘Good Earth’
How Long Did the Good Earth Last?
The Good Earth lasted for ten generations from Adam to Noah in whose lifetime the Flood destroyed the earth.. Hebrew Bible chronology (followed in the English Bibles) gives the total time span as 1656 years. However, the Greek Septuagint Old Testament (quoted in the New Testament) gives a time span of 2262 years. The time of the Six day Creation according to the Hebrew chronology (adopted in the English Bibles) is 4000 years before Christ. However, according to the Septuagint text, Creation took place some 5,500 years before the birth of Christ. The early Church Fathers adopted the Septuagint chronology. If we adopt the Hebrew chronology, the date of the destruction of the Good earth by the Flood would be 2348 BC, because Christ is believed to be born 4 BC, and Creation would be dated 4004 BC (this is the famous Ussher chronology). If we follow the Septuagint, the date of the Flood would be about 3,300 BC. The Septuagint time frame fits better with known historical dates. The Egyptian pyramids, for example, are dated as early as 2800 BC which would make them antediluvian. Yet, the pyramids are post-Flood structures. In the Septuagint time frame the pyramid date would be some five hundred years after the Flood.
The Present Earth
We shall now briefly discuss the earth we live on, the only earth we have known in secular history. ‘Earth’ in this context is strictly the land mass, but will carry the extended meaning of Planet Earth.
You have to look at a physical map or globe of the earth to realize how imperfect and irregular the land mass is. See below such a map.
The Present earth
First, it is not a single land mass, but is divided and fragmented into large chunks (continents) and small fragments (islands). Third, much of the earth is wasteland – deserts, ice covered areas, mountains and canyons. Fourth, the distribution of the land mass is such that severe climatic variations occur. Such nature events as hurricanes and tornadoes are the result of such uneven distribution. Fifth, the earth’s crust is not a single shell, but is broken into at least a dozen major pieces (‘plates’) and these points of separation are characterized by volcanic activity. There area live volcanoes in many parts of the earth, on land and under the oceans. There are specific earthquake zones. These items belong to Plate Tectonics which will be discussed in the FLOOD section.
Our present earth is far from the Good Earth God had created in six days. Is there any evidence that the continents were once part of a single land mass?
The answer is Yes. Look at the map below. Our scientists have been able to reassemble the continents like a Jigsaw Puzzle. This supercontinent they call Pangea. Following evolutionary dating, they assert that Pangea started breaking up some 200 million years ago, and it took many millions of years to reach the present pattern of continents.
Biblical Perspective of the Breakup of Pangea
According to Genesis, God had created a perfect land mass, the Good Earth. After ten generations spanning about 2,000 years, God destroyed the earth (land mass) by a universal Flood. This destruction is described in Genesis chapters 6-9. Curiously enough, the first mention of islands is after the Flood (Gen.10:5).
The Flood was an event of unprecedented magnitude. Most Creation Scientists underestimate its magnitude. They are content to establish it was universal, covered all land mass, destroyed all life and caused the deposition of fossils in sedimentary rock layers. They assume the continents were pretty much the same way before the Flood (how unbiblical!). They do not accept that after the Flood we had a new arrangement of land mass. I am stating here that the breakup of the Supercontinent was the major event of the Flood.
What about the time frame for the event? Was it 200 million years ago or 5,000 years ago that the breakup happened? To find the answers, you need to go to the next major section, FLOOD MYSTERIES. I shall cover the Flood event in detail, its causes and effects. You should be ready for a lot of surprises.
The Earth That Will Be: The New Earth
Now I am going to introduce you to a totally New Earth that will appear in the future. It is not a figment of my imagination. It is revealed in the Bible. To find it, you have to go to the last two chapters of the Bible (just as you found the Good Earth in the first two chapters of the Bible). The last book of the Bible is Revelation. Without this bookthe Bible will be an unfinished Book and Earth history will be incomplete.
We are introduced to the New Earth in Revelation 21:1:
- "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away…" (KJV)
I am most excited about this New Earth. This is where God’s people will live forever. Evolution gives us no hope like this. Notice the usage ‘new heaven and new earth’ It is not just the earth that God renews; it is also the heaven.
‘Heaven and earth’ were first introduced to us in Genesis 1:1. We saw that these represented the earth’s inhabitable land and its atmosphere (and all life). The ‘first heaven and first earth’ of Revelation 21:1 is not this earth, but the present imperfect earth. The Good Earth that God created was perfect, and did not need renewal. But it was destroyed by God’s judgement of a wicked earth. The earth that emerged from the Flood was an imperfect earth full of divisions and inhospitable features. It is this earth (and its atmosphere) that will be renewed in the future.
Just as the antediluvians had corrupted the earth they had lived on, the peoples of this world have been polluting and corrupting our world for thousands of years. It will reach a point of climax when it will no longer be inhabitable for healthy living. It is at that point that God would step in and clean up the earth. But it is more than cleaning up. God is going to put together all land masses into a single Supercontinent which will continue through eternity. I am not talking about a renewed and peaceful millennial Earth that Christ will establish at his Second Coming after defeating the forces of the Antichrist (Revelation 13 – 19). The millennial earth would still have continents and islands. It will have better features than our present world, but it will not be the unified earth in the real sense.
Events That Lead to the New Earth
I want to take you to Revelation 20: 11-15:
‘And I saw a great white throne. And him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them …And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (KJV)
This majestic account is generally known as the Last Judgment or the White Throne Judgment. Why am I quoting this? Because it contain clues to the formation of the New Earth. Until now you may have noticed them because you had not heard about the Keys I had introduced earlier when I analyzed Genesis One. The Bible is consistent in its use of the words ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’.
What we see in the verses quoted above is the disappearance of our present ‘heaven and earth’ . They ‘fled away’ Since ‘earth’ is land, what really happens is the sudden and fast movement of the land masses. This is analogous to the movement of land masses during the Flood and before the Six Day Creation. First. God moved the loose land masses into the single Supercontinent, the Good Earth; then He broke up Good Earth into fragments. Both these events were major earth events that involved the breakup of the earth’s crust with terrific force, the fluidization of the rocks beneath and the slippery movement of the pieces at great speed propelled by the forces of separation. No life could exist under such conditions. The earth was a fiery mass with lava streams everywhere. Such an event will happen to our present earth in order to create the New earth.
It is most interesting to note that the mention of ‘lake of fire’ in the context. The ‘lake of fire and brimstone’ is the ‘hell’ of the Bible. All the wicked people are judged and cast into this fiery pit. When the earth opens up, the ‘lake of fire’ will be visible from one end of the earth to the other. It is the fiery lava stream that will be flowing when the earth opens up. It is like millions of volcanoes erupting at the same time. We are told that the wicked people will be thrown into this lava stream.
The Earth Reunited
The verse that follows the description of the Last Judgment is Revelation 21:1 we already saw, where the New Earth appears. Many people have erroneously inferred that our planet earth would be fragmented and would disappear, and God would create a new planet earth. This is untrue.
John, who was given the Revelation, was caught up above (Rev. 4) to observe the events down below. From his vantage point above he saw the land masses moving away rapidly and the fiery hell opening up. Then the New Earth appeared. What really happens is that the land masses unite into a single land mass away from his sight. Since planet earth rotates on its axis, the united Earth appears after awhile. In Rev. 21:1 there is one statement that has puzzled many: ‘"’there was no more sea" . You should know better now. From John’s point of view from above the united Earth was so large, that he could not see the ocean surrounding the earth. What an amazing confirmation of the single land mass! The earth was sealed up again and there was no more hell visible.
A sketch of the Ideal New Earth is shown below. Note that it is similar to the Good earth, but the central part, the square, is much larger than the one in the Good Earth. This is because the square part is the New Jerusalem, a very large City compared to the Garden of Eden.
The ‘New Earth’
The New Jerusalem
This is my favorite. Rev. 21:2 states:
- "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (KJV).
Jerusalem was God’s holy city on earth where God’s Temple was established in the past. During the millennium (Rev. 20:8 and Old Testament prophecies such as found in Isa. 4, Micah 4:1 and Ezek. 40). Jerusalem will become the exalted capital of the world, but at the end of the millennium Satan and his armies will move against it to destroy it. It is in this context God intervenes and defeats Satan. There will be no more forces of evil. The Last Judgment follows and the New Earth appears.
The New Jerusalem is the ultimate capital city of the world because it will have God’s eternal presence. God’s people will live in it forever (Psalm 37:11; Matt. 5:5)..
How is it that the believers think they will go to heaven and live there forever? The Bible also reveals that God’s people will inherit the earth and live on it forever.
Both statements are correct because God’s heaven will be on God’s earth! The New Jerusalem comes down from heaven It is the most glorious place we can think of. It is immense, and is a city with high walls, pearly gates and foundations of precious stones. The throne of God will be in it, and God’s people will see His face forever.
Reading further down in Rev. 21 and 22 we get a graphic picture of the New River of Life flowing from the Throne are twelve Trees of Life. The city is square with a size of 1,500 miles (it is not clear whether each side is this long or it is the total circumference).
Compared with the Garden of Eden of the Good Earth, the New Jerusalem is the city of ultimate perfection. The Garden of Eden was the prototype of the New Jerusalem. It had only one Tree of Life. The river that flowed out of the Garden watered the land. In the New Jerusalem the river that flows out of the Throne area waters the New Earth (we can assume it branches out).
We are further told of the New Jerusalem that it is the Tabernacle of God (Rev. 21:3). This is most significant. The Old Testament Tabernacle was first constructed at Mt. Sinai. It had a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place. God’s presence on the Ark of the Covenant was manifested in the Holy of Holies which could not be approached by any man except the High Priest. Even he could enter it only on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and he had to carry the blood of sacrifice. No man could approach God without first cleansed of all sin.
The New Testament clearly shows that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, opened the way to the presence of the Father by his death on the Cross. His blood was the atonement for all mankind’s sin. We can boldly enter the presence of God as believers.
When Jesus died on the Cross, the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place was from down from top to bottom. This signified that all believers can approach Go directly.
The New Jerusalem is like the Most Holy Place: it is a square, and it has God’s presence. The Tabernacle has a tent-like covering; the New Jerusalem would also look a like a tent over the square city. It was on top elevation (Rev. 21:10). This is why I have placed the New Jerusalem, a perfect square, at the center, top elevation in a square earth. It is for this reason I had a similar shape proposed for the Good Earth. The Most Holy Place had only one entrance; but the New Jerusalem has 12 entrances, from all sides, to approach God. All of God’s people have direct access to God.
The New heaven is the atmosphere surrounding the New earth. It will be pure and clear as was the atmosphere of the Good Earth.
A schematic of the New Jerusalem is shown below with the Holy City, God’s Tabernacle’ on Earth. Again, the sketch is not to be taken literally or to scale.
The ‘New Jerusalem’
Three Heaven and Three Earths
As I have stated repeatedly, the Bible is consistent with its usage of words and phrases throughout.
We have seen three earths: the Good earth, the Present earth and the New Earth. The apostle Peter under divine inspiration wrote the following (2 Peter. 3:5-13):
"…there were heavens and earth long ago, created by God’s word out of water and with water; and by water that first world was destroyed, the water of the deluge. And the present heavens and earth, again by God’s word, have been kept in store for burning…But we have this promise, and look forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of justice" (NEB)
Notice that the words ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’ have the original meanings given in Genesis. It is the land that perished by water. Planet earth was never destroyed, and will not be destroyed in the future.
How To Secure Your Place in the New Heaven and Earth
Revelation 21:27 clearly warns us that "Nothing impure will ever enter it, Nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (NIV)
Jesus said he was the only way to the Father. He alone paid the price for our redemption to be reconciled to God. It is for this reason that we need to have our names in the Book of Life kept by Jesus, the Lamb of God. We need to be born to the Kingdom of God through Christ. Then we become a New Creature (2 Cor. 5:17).
God cannot accept anything or anyone less than perfect in His Kingdom, because it will make Heaven imperfect. The only way we can be perfect is through the righteousness of Christ. Hence do not count on your good life and good works to go to heaven as evolution implies. Christianity is unique among all religions that it rejects self perfection and salvation by works.
As I close this section I am reminded of some beautiful Creation songs that we sing such as: ‘How Great Thou Art!’, `You are Lord of Creation and Lord of my life..’, ‘Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth…’ (Jer. 32:17). Let us praise and worship God our Creator who has revealed Himself to us in the Bible.
Note: The Creation models of the earth I have presented above were first published in an article I wrote in the Bible Science Newsletter, December 1976 issue under the title, "In Search of the Ideal World". In 1991 I gave a television presentation on it in CTV, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as "From the Good Earth to the New Earth".