Q: Where can I
find a Bible reference for where God is going to "restore"
the way things used to be before the fall?
A: I think the answer is a little
different than one might first expect. God is not exactly
going to restore the way things used to be before the
fall. Heaven is a place of which God said, "Behold,
I make all things new." (Revelation
21:5) Heaven will not simply be a restoration to the
way things were before the fall, but rather heaven will be
a "new" place. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah,
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and
the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
There will be many profound differences between the way things
will be in heaven and the way things were before the fall.
First of all, Satan will be completely out of the picture.
Before the fall, Satan was free to roam the earth and tempt
Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). When
all things are made new and we are in heaven, Satan will be
in the "lake of fire." (Revelation
20:10,14,15) Heaven will also be far more developed
than the Garden of Eden. There won't simply be a garden but
rather a heavenly city called the "New Jerusalem"
(Hebrews 12:22-24) and "the
city of the living God" (Revelation
3:12). This is a city that God Himself will build in
heaven, and then it will actually descend out of heaven down
to the new earth (Revelation 21:2).
Another profound difference will be the nature of man's relationship
with God. The relationship that we will have with God in eternity
will be much more intimate than the one Adam and Eve had.
Adam and Eve had each other, and they procreated. In heaven
there will be no procreation and there will be no marriage
(Luke 20:34-38). In heaven we
will be "like the angels" (Luke
20:36) and as the church we will meet Christ Himself
as His bride at the "marriage supper of the Lamb!"
The apostle Paul is a great example of one who was able to
focus on heaven while he served God on earth. When he was
persecuted and imprisoned and in jeopardy of losing his life,
he didn't think of death in terms of fear; but rather, to
him death was merely a juncture in life where he would "depart
and be with Christ" (Philippians
1:23). Adam and Eve did not know God the way we can
know Him right here and now on earth through Christ and His
Spirit. It wasn't until after He died for our sins, rose from
the grave, and returned to heaven that we could know Him intimately
through His Spirit. The apostle Paul spoke of the Christian's
relationship with God as "the mystery which has been
hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed
to His saints." (Colossians 1:26)
Paul goes on to say, "To them God willed to make known
what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the
Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Adam and Eve knew God from a distance. A select few knew Jesus
face to face when He walked on the earth. Now that He has
returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to take His place
on earth, we can know Him personally in our hearts by His
Spirit. And ultimately, in heaven, we will know Him by His
Spirit and face to face. "For now we see in a mirror,
dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then
I shall know just as I also am known." (1