Heaven and Earth Part of the Same Universe?


Question from a Reader:

I am preparing to lead a study on Randy’s book Heaven and ran into a couple of issues unnoticed at my first reading. The first has to do with his use of the term “universe.”

As a Christian and one who acknowledges the real existence of non-physical objects (beings), I understand the universe as all created beings. In other words, all of Creation. So, in my mind, even if there were multiple universes, they would still be part of Creation. There is one Creator and everything else is created (limited) being. There can be nothing else. So, please, with this in mind and in these terms, I’d appreciate some insight into what Randy means by this.

The other issue I’m struggling with is where Randy says, “…Hebrews seems to say that we should see Earth as a derivative realm and Heaven as the source realm. If we do, we’ll abandon the assumption that something existing in one realm cannot exist in the other. In fact, we’ll consider it likely that what exists in one realm exists in at least some form in the other…”

My metaphysical training balks at the thought of a single object (being) existing in two different places at the same time (in the same universe). The Hebrews passage seems to be saying things in Heaven are the pattern, God is the source. Limited (created) being is not dependent on Heaven for its existence, but on God. Even so, there is no reason that created beings on Earth could not be patterned after the more perfect (sinless; free of the Curse) beings of Heaven.

Frankly, I think the most convincing argument for physical being in the Present Heaven is that it is intended as a stopping off point for human beings. If so, it should have physical characteristics.

Answer from Doreen Button, EPM staff:

By the definition of universe you cited—the place where all created things exist—there would only be one universe. Randy uses the term universe to mean what we extrapolate from astronomical observation to be the place in space where we exist and that there could be other realms with their own space and time which may be separate or may intersect, at particular times or in specific locations, and which all would be created places under God’s sovereignty. So I think a reasonable mash-up of your two approaches would be one universe with any number of space/time dimensions including one which holds the intermediate Heaven, which will join with Earth one day and be our realm forever.

Regarding your second question including the Hebrews passage quoted on page 53 of Heaven, Randy does not say that what is in Heaven is also simultaneously on Earth, or in two different places at the same time as you put it. What exists on Earth is “the copy and shadow of what is in Heaven” which means that if what is on Earth is physical, it seems quite logical to believe that what is in the intermediate Heaven would also be physical. And that is the point of that particular chapter. We were made for Earth and Earth was made for us. If we’re not here, we must be somewhere in some physical sense, otherwise we’re not “us.” Your argument that intermediate Heaven is a stopping off point for humans, therefore it should have physical characteristics, is a good fit.

Randy likely would be the first to say that despite all his study of Scripture and good books on Heaven, he won’t be an expert ‘til he gets there, and neither will we. But it sure is fun learning together.

Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.