Now here is a radical swing at the Christian apocalyptic idea of a new heaven and new earth . . . Perhaps it is not so much that there will be new entities, but that our perception and understanding of heaven and earth will be so radically different from what we have known – that it will be like living in a completely different earth with a brand new heaven!
What would make me say such a crazy thing?
When it comes to our understanding of the Earth, it is only since the 1950s that Evolution has been generally accepted by scientists and taught in schools. It was only after the Apollo 17 mission, in 1972, that we saw a complete picture of the earth from space.
“The Blue Marble” is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.Wikipedia: The Blue Marble
Another radical shift in our self understanding, that we are embedded in the ebb and flow of the earth, came from the work of chemist, James Lovelock. In the 1960s he was tasked by NASA with determining whether or not there was life on Mars. “He concluded Mars was lifeless, but in the process, came to an astounding awareness of Earth as a physiological system, alive in some sense!” Martin Ogle . This realization led to his work on the Gai Hypothesis.
The Gai Hypothesis proposes that living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet.Thank you Wikipedia
This prompted much dialogue if not agreement. As importantly, the Gai Hypothesis has opened space for a change in our understanding of our relationship with Earth. Our perception is shifting from seeing the Earth as a stable stage for our lives (of which we are mainly oblivious), to the inkling that perhaps our relationship with the biosphere of the earth is more like that of the fish in the ocean.
We live within a biosphere. We are completely dependent on paradoxically fragile, but powerful, ever moving and interconnected systems. These systems, through millions of miracles, have evolved to support the human species; in some ways, a small player in the midst of the vast complexity and diversity of other life forms. Do the fish know they are in the ocean?
Climate change is also giving us a crash course in planetary dynamics.
So, one could say that to all extents and purposes we do have a new heaven and new earth. Or at least there is much to support and encourage new understandings!