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New Heaven and New Earth
|Title||New Heaven and New Earth|
|Publication Type||Encyclopedia Entry|
|Year of Publication||1992|
|Authors||Riskas, Thomas J.|
|Secondary Authors||Ludlow, Daniel H.|
|Secondary Title||Encyclopedia of Mormonism|
|Place Published||New York|
|Keywords||Paradisaical Glory; Prophecy; Restoration|
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New Heaven and New Earth
Author: Riskas, Thomas J., Jr.
This phrase depicts the earth's destiny of renewal, one cosmic aspect of the restoration of all things. In LDS theology, "the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory" (A of F 10). That renewal will include restoration of its former components-for example, the return of the City of Enoch-and also its former purity and Edenic state.
Ancient biblical prophets taught that the beginnings of this fulfillment are to be associated with the coming of the messiah and his millennial reign. The phrase reflects the vision of Isaiah (65:17;66:22) and the revelation of John (Rev. 2:17;3:12;5:9;14:3;21:1). Book of Mormon prophets likewise speak of a new heaven and a new earth (Ether 13:9) and of "all things" becoming new (3 Ne. 15:2). The Doctrine and Covenants contains prophecies that every corruptible "element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that [God's] knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth" (D&C 101:23; cf. 29:23-24; 42:35, 62, 67; 45:66; 84:2-4; 133:56).
The Hebrew root for "new" (chadash) points to a time of refreshing rather than replacement. Consistent with this understanding, Mormons expect that the earth will not be destroyed but glorified, not transcended but transformed, and that ultimately the polarization of earth and heaven will be overcome. Faithful Saints are promised the "fulness of the earth" (D&C 59:16) and "an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come, when the earth shall be transfigured" (D&C 63:20-21).
The earth fills the "measure [the purpose] of its creation" (D&C 88:19, 25) and its biography follows typologically that of mankind. It has fallen from paradise, it has been baptized in water, and it will be baptized by fire. It will die (Isa. 51:6; D&C 45:22;88:26) and be "quickened again," and will not only regain its pristine condition but a higher state still (D&C 88:25-26). "This earth will be Christ's" (D&C 130:9). It will have a one-thousand-year sabbatical and then become a veritable Urim and Thummim in fulfillment of John's vision of its appearance as a "sea of glass" (D&C 130:7-9; Rev. 2:17), a habitation worthy of God. "It will be rolled back into the presence of God," and "crowned with celestial glory" (TPJS, p. 181; cf. WJS, p. 60). Then those who have been "quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness" (D&C 88:29). God, "in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it" (D&C 88:17), will fulfill his promise "that bodies who are of the Celestial Kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified" (D&C 88:20).
Turner, Rodney. Footstool of God: Earth in Scripture and Prophecy. Orem, Utah, 1983.
THOMAS J. RISKAS, JR.
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