God and Creation—Part 13

Man’s Eternal Home

“God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.”
—Genesis 1:28, Revised Standard Version

AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER most people are confronted with the question, “Where will you spend eternity?” Many times this question is asked with the implication that, unless there is a reformation of heart and life, eternity will not be pleasant. Our text implies that God’s design for man is that he should spend eternity right here on the earth. This was God’s ‘blessing’ upon our first parents—they were to fill the earth and subdue it—that is, bring it all under control through cultivation, to be utilized for the sustaining of the millions which would result from God’s blessing upon his command to ‘multiply.’


We must recognize that the Divine commission to multiply was limited to the filling of the earth. Since the Creator was capable of providing for the propagation of the race by the creating of mother Eve, we know that in the outworking of the Divine purpose human ability to reproduce will be caused to cease when the earth becomes adequately filled. The Bible does not tell us how this will be done, nor do we need to know. It will be in God’s way, and his ways are always better than ours.—Isa. 55:8,9

There is nothing in the Genesis record of Creation that suggests that the Creator had any other purpose in the creation of man than for him to live forever on the earth. However, this plainly stated truth concerning God’s design for his human creatures to inhabit the earth forever has been lost sight of as a result of Satan’s great deception concerning the Divine penalty for sin.

Satan’s lie, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4), meaning, as expressed in modern times, “There is no death,” implies that when one experiences what is called death he actually enters into another life, the environments of which are quite different from those of humans here on earth. So the question, ‘Where will you spend eternity?’ implies that it is not possible to spend it on the earth as a human being.

The plain statement of the Bible is that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), but the great mass of professed Christians say no, this is not really so—the penalty for sin is torture. The Bible records the deaths of many of its personalities—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, the kings of Israel—to mention a few in the Old Testament. In its obituary notices pertaining to most of these is the simple statement that they “slept with their fathers.” Abraham’s father was a heathen. All of those who are said to be sleeping with their fathers were of the too-good-for-hell type, yet many of them were certainly not-good-enough-for-heaven. The inspired writers of the Bible insist that they are sleeping—unconscious, that is, in death.


A prevailing Christian view is that all those who are not sufficiently wicked to be tortured in hell-fire forever, go direct to heaven when they die—that this is where they will have their eternal home. The Bible contains promises of heaven, but that all those not sufficiently wicked to be tortured in hell forever will spend eternity there, is another error arising out of Satan’s lie, ‘Ye shall not surely die.’

Note briefly some of the Bible’s testimony concerning heaven. Jesus said to his disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you; And if I go … I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2,3) Few have noticed the full implication of Jesus’ promise to ‘prepare a place.’ Obviously if this place was not prepared until after Jesus came to earth, it could not be a place to which all the righteous from creation down to his day had been going when they seemed to die. It is acknowledged that this place promised by Jesus is a heavenly abode, and Jesus said, “No man hath ascended up to heaven.”—John 3:13

Jesus prefaced his promise to prepare a place for his followers with the statement, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.” (John 14:2) Jesus did not promise these mansions to his followers. He simply observed that they already existed in his Father house. It seems reasonable to conclude that the Father’s house is the entire universe. It all belongs to him, and is all his domain. In this domain are mansions, or dwelling places—planes of existence, or spheres of life.

The earth is one of the spheres of life. This is the sphere of life in which God designed that his human creatures should spend eternity—the mansion which God created for man. And he “created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.” (Isa. 45:18) However, as Jesus said, there are many mansions—many spheres of life. They are higher than the human, and our finite minds can but vaguely comprehend them. But they do exist—‘If it were not so, I would have told you,’ said Jesus.


But, as Jesus promised his disciples, he was going away to prepare still another place for his followers. Much is said in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, concerning this place. It is vaguely foretold in the Old Testament, and in the New is referred to as an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven.” (I Pet. 1:4) Those for whom this place is prepared are said to be “partakers of the heavenly calling.”—Heb. 3:1

The use of the word calling, or invitation, implies that this place is not prepared for all. And herein lies the truth concerning this aspect of the Creator’s plan for the rescue of his fallen human creatures from sin and death. Heaven is not designed as an alternative for hell-fire. Nor is it the plan of God that all who are saved will be transferred from earth to the place prepared by Jesus.

Those who are invited to this “high calling” (Phil. 3:14), and accept the invitation through belief in Christ and full devotion of their lives to the service of God, are described by Paul as “new creature[s].” In other words, beginning with Jesus, a New Creation is being developed. Paul explains that the followers of Jesus who have become ‘new creature[s]’ are ambassadors for Christ, and ministers of reconciliation. He explains that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” and that now these New Creatures are fellow workers with God and with Christ. See II Corinthians 5:14 to 6:1

The Scriptures reveal that those who become New Creatures in Christ Jesus are a “little flock.” (Luke 12:32) The eternal home of these will be in heaven, or in the spiritual realm. Heaven is not a substitute for life on earth, but because in the Divine plan for restoring the fallen human race to life on earth there is a provision for the selection of a few of earth’s billions to be associated with Jesus in the work of restoration. In order to be efficient workers in this Divine arrangement, these are transferred from the earthly mansion to the place which Jesus prepared for them.


To help us grasp this thought, the Bible presents it from various standpoints. One is the thought of a kingdom, or a government, which will be established in the earth, and for a thousand years will administer righteous laws under which mankind will be disciplined and trained, and thereby gradually have the righteousness of the Divine requirements of justice and love written in their hearts. We pray for this in the words, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:10

Those for whom Jesus promised to prepare a place will share with him in the work of bringing about this full reconciliation of humanity with God. They will be joint-heirs with Jesus in his kingdom. Consequently they will be highly exalted in the Divine arrangements. Jesus promised, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21) Jesus also promised, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”—Rev. 2:10

The expression ‘crown of life’ suggests the highest, the very zenith of life. As we have seen, the many mansions in the Father’s house are planes of life. Jesus went away to prepare a place for his associates which was to be crown of them all. The Apostle Peter wrote, “whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” (II Pet. 1:4) The Heavenly Father always possessed the Divine nature, and Jesus was exalted to this highest of all stations of life when he was raised from the dead, and highly exalted above all “principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.” (Eph. 1:20,21) In this exalted position, “at the right hand of the throne of God,” he “prepares” a “place” for his followers, that they might be with him where he is.—Heb. 12:2; John 14:3

This prize of the High Calling is not an alternative to an eternal home on earth. It is not a case of man having sinned, and therefore he is provided with an eternal home at the right hand of God. God’s provision for his human creatures as a whole still is that upon condition of obedience to him they may live on the earth forever. The redemptive work of Christ makes this restoration possible—“As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:22) The followers of Jesus, for whom he prepares a place, are to be associated with him in restoring mankind to that which was lost through the disobedience of our first parents. The harmony of the Bible is discernible only when we recognize this distinction between God’s promises to mankind in general, and those which apply exclusively to the followers of Jesus.

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Dawn Bible Students Association
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