In the previous article, we discussed about the principle of continuity between the Millennium and the Eternal State and some of its implications. Before you understand why this view is more favorable, we will study a historical factor that has divided the opinion of respected dispensational theologians.

Important representatives of dispensationalism have defended, basically, two lines of thought: 1) the view of annihilationism and recreation; and the 2) view of redemption and renewal of the universe.

 

1 – Annihilation and Recreation Ex nihilo View

As we will see from now, respected dispensationalists advocated this view in his works. For them, God will destroy completely the current universe, which was corrupted by sin, in order to create an entirely new universe, free from any curse and effects of sin.

Dr. John Macarthur, in his commentary of 2 Peter, writes:

“The entire present universe will cease to exist. It will be replaced by a completely new heaven and earth where the righteous will live with God forever (Rev. 22:5).”

O Dr. John Walvoord, wrote:

“The most natural interpretation of the fact that earth and sky flee away is that the present earth and sky are destroyed and will be replaced by the new heaven and new earth”[2]

“Immediately after the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium, when all the unsaved will be cast into the lake of fire, the place of eternal torment, God will establish a new world order for the saved. This is introduced by the statement, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea” (Rev. 21:1). Earlier John wrote that the “earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them” (20:11). The physical universe as we now know it will be destroyed.”[3]

Robert L. Thomas, expresses his view with the following words:

“It is a making of all things new, not a remaking of the old which has fallen under the curse of sin. This does not mark a failure of God’s purpose for the first creation, but a process that He intended from the beginning in allowing evil to have its day in the first creation before being purged.”[4]

Tom Constable, in his commentary on Revelation, states:

“The reason God will destroy the present heaven and earth is that He originally made them as the habitat for humanity. However sin so thoroughly corrupted not only the human race but the race’s environment that He will destroy it and create a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”[5]

Charles Ryrie advocated this view very clearly, when he wrote:

“The present creation will be destroyed so that it may be cleansed from all the effects of sin (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12). No more sea because climatic and human conditions will be completely different.”[6]

Dwight Pentecost, in Things to Come, wrote:

“After the dissolution of the present heaven and earth at the end of the millennium, God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). By a definite act of creation God calls into being a new heaven and a new earth. As God created the present heavens and earth to be the scene of His theocratic display, so God will create the new heavens and earth to be the scene of the eternal theocratic kingdom of God”.[7]

Paul Benware said:

“Once the present heavens and earth are destroyed, God will create a new heaven and earth (21:1).”[8]

Mark Hitchock, following the same view, states:

“Before the new heaven and new earth can be created, the present heaven and earth must be destroyed. The old heaven and the old earth will disappear.”[9]

Tym Lahaye, in his commentary on Revelation, states:

“Because it is God’s plan for humankind to inhabit the earth forever in fulfillment of His promises, after He does away with this planet as we know it, He will create a new heaven and a new earth, better than anything this world has ever known, including the Garden of Eden.”[10]

ANNIHILATION VIEW - INTEGRATIVE DISPENSATIONALISM1

 

2 – Renovation and Restoration View

The theologians who hold this view, understand that this universe will not be destroyed but renovated. Therefore, the term ‘new’ is understood in a qualitative and not a quantitative way. A great dispensationalist theologian who advocated this view was Alva McClain:

“This does not necessarily mean the annihilation of our present world of matter; for the Greek kainos may mean new in character rather than in substance. The same term is used of the regenerated believer: he becomes a “new creation (II Cor. 5:17, ASV) in a crisis which does not annihilate the personal entity but transforms it. So in the final change of the physical universe, it does not lose its identity, but will pass away as to its ‘outward and recognizable form’ and be renewed in a ‘fresh and more glorious one’.”[11]

Erich Sauer expressed his renovation view this way:

“God will not annihilate but ‘change’ (Psa. 102:26), not reject but redeem, not destroy but set in order, not abolish but create anew, not ruin but transfigure.”[12]

Paul Enns is a fervent dispensationalist expositor of that view, so he writes:

“Was the earth annihilated when it was flooded in Noah’s day? No. The earth was renovated. The evil of the earth was destroyed and removed; the earth was cleansed. Peter draws that analogy, saying it is “being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (v. 7). As in Noah’s day, the earth was cleansed but not annihilated, so the earth will be cleansed but not annihilated in the conflagration that is to come. It will still exist as earth—but it will be the “new earth.”[13]

Herny C. Thiessen wrote:

“…this does not mean ‘new’ in the absolute sense; for ‘the earth abides forever’ (Eccl. 1:4; cf. Ps. 104:5; 119:90). Neither heaven or earth will be annihilated.”[14]

David Jeremiah, analyzing 2 Peter 3:10, says:

“I believe that Peter’s words do not convey a total annihilation of the old earth and heaven, but rather a remaking of them. I believe that Peter’s words do not convey a total annihilation of the old earth and heaven, but rather a remaking of them. In both the Old and New Testaments, the words for “new” mean freshness or a renovation.”[15]

Merrill Unger stated:

“God’s dwelling with men, 3, is now possible (1 Cor 15:24–28) because Adam’s curse has been removed, Satan judged, the wicked punished, and the universe sinless, except for ‘the lake of fire’ (20:15). In the millennium God spread His tabernacle over His people (7:15); now He tabernacles with them. All traces of sin are removed, 4. The authentication of this grand finale of divine redemption is by God Himself, 5. Meanwhile, an offer of salvation is made to the sinner, 6 (cf. Jn 7:37–39), and of rewards to the saint who overcomes, 7, all in the light of eternity.”[16]

Herman A. Hoyt defends the view of renewal and cites that the passage of Peter must be understood as a purifying fire and not annihilator one:

“By means of flood a previous order and arrangement passed away without annihilation (II Peter 3:6), and the present heavens and earth are to undergo a similar change by means of fire (II Peter 3:7).”[17]

Charles Feinberg, commenting the book of Revelation, stated:

“Verse Rev 21:1 of this chapter is to be connected with Rev 20:11 (cf. II Pet 3:13). Scripture does not teach the annihilation of the material universe. God annihilates nothing, let alone human beings, as some erroneously teach. Earth and heaven will be completely purified.”[18]

Wayne H. House, in an article, expressed his view this way:

“In order for the new creation to operate, is it necessary for the old creation to be set aside or its laws violated? I would contend that the creation completed in Genesis 1 and 2 is good and proper for the nature of humanity as it dwells in the present world. Moreover, in the future world this creation is not abrogated or destroyed but instead refurbished and made appropriate for the existence of the people of God in the new age.”[19]

 RENOVATION VIEW - INTEGRATIVE DISPENSATIONALISM2

 

Conclusion

A frequent question is raised by the bible students: will the current universe be annihilated or restored for the Eternal Estate? This article presented how this question has been answered in the Tradition of Dispensationalism.

The Integrative Dispensationalist view is in line with the dispensationalists of the second group, which holds the renovation and restoration view. In a future article, we will see the biblical and theological arguments in favor of this view. I also wrote a little about it on my article on Holistic Redemption.


 

Author: 

Author


 

Notes:

[1] John MacArthur.  2 Peter and Jude, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 125.

[2] John Walvoord. Revelation, 326

[3] Swindoll, C. R., & Zuck, R. B. (2003). Understanding Christian theology (p. 1363). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Thomas, R. L. (1995). Revelation 8-22: an exegetical commentary (p. 440). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tom Constable. Notes on Revelation. Pg 193-194

[6]Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Ryrie study Bible: New American Standard Bible, 1995 update, Includes indexes., Expanded ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), 2042.

[7] Dwight Pentecost. Things to Come. Pg 561

[8] Benware, Paul (2006-05-01). Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach (Kindle Locations 7734-7735).

[9] Hitchcock, Mark (2012-07-06). The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days (p. 449).

[10] LaHaye, Tim (2010-02-16). Revelation Unveiled (Kindle Locations 6914-6916).

[11] Alva McClain. The Greatness of the Kingdom. Pg 510

[12] Erich Sauer, The Triumph of the Crucified (1961; repr. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1964), 179.

[13] Enns, Paul P. (2011-02-21). Heaven Revealed: What Is It Like? What Will We Do?… And 11 Other Things You’ve Wondered About (p. 97).

[14] Henry C. Thiessen, Lectures In Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), 516.

[15] Jeremiah, D., & Carlson, C. C. (1999). Escape the coming night (pp. 375–376).

[16]Merril Frederick Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Handbook, Rev. Ed. of: Unger’s Bible Handbook. [1st Ed.]. 1966.; Includes Index., Rev. and updated ed. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2005), 687.

[17] Herman A. Hoyt. The End Times. Pg 224

[18] Hindson, Dr. Ed (2005-09-20). King James Version Commentary (Kindle Locations 77547-77550).

[19] (1992). Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 35(1), 5.