Travel in Heaven? (Episode 361)

The following is a transcript of the audio.

We are joined again by author and speaker Randy Alcorn, sitting in this week for John Piper. We’re calling it Heaven Week. In Monday’s episode, #359, Randy you said this: “If there is a new Jerusalem, why not a new Los Angeles, why not a new Chicago, why not a new Paris, why not a new London?” And so I want to pick up on that today and ask about travel: Will we travel around and leisurely explore the New Earth? Assuming there are cities, will we travel to them? And will we travel to other planets and explore the universe?

Given the reality that the new earth will correspond to the old earth in the same way that our new bodies will correspond to our old bodies, a better version of the same, but not fundamentally different except in the sense of perfected, glorified, always healthy, not subject to death and suffering and all of that, because we are not longer under the curse. Therefore I think the natural understanding would be that travel in... on the new earth in the resurrection would be similar to travel as it is now. We can walk. The new Jerusalem has streets. Streets are made for walking. They could be also made for riding horses. There could be automobiles. There could be jet engines and travel... air travel. There could be space travel, all of these things. In fact, there is no reason at all to think there wouldn’t be, because this is not the new earth, what we see in Revelation 21 and 22 and, for that matter, in Isaiah 60, 65, 66 and other new earth passages, is that you would expect people to do what they have been able to do except do it better. Our minds will be better. Our bodies will be healthier.

So will we run? Well, probably faster than we have ever been able to run, not getting us tired. Of course, we will still be finite. So some people suggest that they see Jesus in the resurrection appearing and suddenly in rooms where the disciples are present and so people speculate, well, maybe we will be able to do that, transport Star Trek like, you know, without the transporter to another location. That is possible, although that is also possible that that is something that is limited to Jesus that he the God man who has a fully human body yet at the same time still has properties of deity that we don’t have, maybe he will be able to do that and we won’t. But whether we would travel someplace even in space travel to explore the universe, because it is new heavens and new earth. There is the old heavens and we are not just talking about... we are not talking primarily about heaven the dwelling place of God. We are talking about the physical celestial heavens, what we think of as outer space.

And I remember as a young Christian, as a teenager having a telescope and looking at the great galaxy of Andromeda three million light years away and all these billions of hundreds of billions of stars and thinking: Wow, wouldn’t it be great some day to go there? And then later I became a Christian and I was looking through and I thought I had read about the new heavens and the new earth and I thought: Maybe one day I will go to the praise an glory of God.

Well then what about bucket lists? So many people say, before I die I want to see Paris and I want to see Rome, I want to see London—I’ve never heard Chicago on anyone’s bucket list. If what you’re saying is true, it makes these “bucket list” aspirations seem a bit lame.

I think the whole concept of a bucket list is entirely understandable for people who believe that this is the only life they will ever live, that after they die they no longer exist or who believe that after they die, ok, maybe they will sill exist, but they will be a ghost forever and won’t have actual bodies, which means for us as Christians, we should be the last people to think in terms of the bucket list. Now there is a distinguishing between the bucket list and having some things I would like to do with my wife and family. Ok, well, that is fine, of course. But if it is the bucket list in the sense of: Hey, I am going to kick the bucket and this is my only opportunity as a physical person to do things in a physical world, that is utterly and completely unbiblical, contradicted start to finish from 1 Corinthians 15 and every passage that speaks of the resurrection and eternal life.

Fascinating, there’s some food for thought. That’s especially hope-giving for those of us who cannot afford exotic travel destinations. Thank you Randy. For more on this and so many other topics, see his bestselling book, simply titled Heaven. Also, check out Randy’s ministry, Eternal Perspective Ministries online at Speaking of heaven, perhaps the biggest question is one we haven’t cov-ered yet: sex. Will there be sex in heaven? We’ll put Randy on the spot with that question tomorrow. I’m your host Tony Reinke, thanks for listening to the Ask Pastor John podcast.