On the Renovation, New Heavens & Earth & Believers’ Eternal Home

“But the day of the Lord will come…  in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved…  the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?…  we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

2 Pet. 3:10-13

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Ps. 16:11

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Thess. 4:17



Order of Contents

Confessions  6
Articles  10+
Quote  1
History  1
Annihilationism  1




The dominant reformed view of the puritan age, argued heavily from Scripture, was that believers through eternity will have their primary abode, not in the renovated New Earth, but in the celestial heaven of God’s throneroom, where departed saints and angels are before the revealed presence of God, or the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2).

The renovation of the heavens and earth described in 2 Pet. 3:2-13, per its context (vv. 5-7), is only of the earth and the first and second heavens, namely (1) the skies and (2) outerspace.  Part of the reason for this is that everything impure is kept out of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2-4, 26-27; 22:14-15, 19) and hence there is no need for it to be renovated.  It is also an incorruptible abode for the immortal, where the promises are and God Himself is revealed; hence it is against reason that it should be destroyed and renovated by fire in a judgment.

Believers will not be working six days a week eternally in the New Earth, as Heaven will be an eternal Sabbath of rest (Heb. 4:1-11) and spiritual delight to us, enjoying our Covenanted reward, the highest end of man, God Himself (see the Beatific Vision, the highest blessing of Heaven).  Some puritans speculated that believers may travel to the New Earth, just as angels in Heaven now come back and forth to the earth for various reasons (Gen. 28:12; Dan. 9:23; Mt. 18:10; Jn. 1:51).  Compare also 2 Pet. 3:13 and Rev. 14:4.

Consider also on this topic the reformed arguments and treatments arguing against Adam, in completing the Covenant of Works, remaining, forever, upon earth to enjoy a carnal paradise, such as Socinians and some Independents held in the puritan age; rather, the persuasive arguments of the dominant reformed view (such as in Turretin, Institutes 1:583-86) make much for believers’ primary eternal abode being the Heaven of God’s throneroom.



Reformed Confessions, Catechisms, etc.

Westminster Larger Catechism #90

“Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?

A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds,[e] shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted,[f] shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,[g] and shall be received into heaven,[h] where they shall be fully and for ever freed from all sin and misery;[i] filled with inconceivable joys,[k] made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels,[l] but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity.[m]

And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

[e] 1 Thess. 4:17.
[f] Matt. 25:33Matt. 10:32.
[g] 1 Cor. 6:2,3.
[h] Matt. 25:34,46.
[i] Eph. 5:27Rev. 14:13.
[k] Ps. 16:11.
[l] Heb. 12:22,23.
[m] 1 John 3:21 Cor. 13:121 Thess. 4:17,18


Further References

ed. Dennison, Jr., James – Reformed Confessions (RHB), 1.598, 2.29, 2.561, 2.625, 3.18





William Bucanus – ‘What is the Place of Eternal Life?’  in ch. 39, ‘Of Eternal Life’  in Institutions of Christian Religion...  (London, 1610), p. 492

Willet, Andrew – Hexapla on Romans  (1611), on Rom. 8:20-22

Walaeus, Anthony – 52. ‘On Life & Death Everlasting & on the End of the World’  in Synopsis of a Purer Theology: Latin Text & English Translation  Buy  (1625; Brill, 2016), vol. 3, pp. 582-625

Wolleb, Johannes – ch. 36, ‘Of the End of the World & Life Eternal, the Consequents of the Judgment’  in Abridgment of Christian Divinity  Buy  (1626), pp. 301-309

Wollebius (1589–1629) was a Swiss Protestant theologian. He was a student of Amandus Polanus.

He argues, cautiously, for the annhilation of the current physical world and heavens, the empyrean heavens remaining untouched.  Thus all that would remain through eternity would be Hell (or the Lake of Fire) and the empyerean heaven.  He is the only reformed figure we have found arguing for annhilationism, which was a typical Lutheran view.

His editor, Alexander Ross (1591-1654), argues that outer-space will not be included in the conflagaration, in a footnote on p. 304.  This was inline with the Romanist view, though not distinctive of it.

Adams, Thomas – A Commentary or, Exposition upon the Divine Second Epistle General, written by the Blessed Apostle St. Peter  (London, 1633)

On the Renovation

on 2 Pet. 3:10
on 2 Pet. 3:12

On the New Heavens & Earth

on 2 Pet. 3:13

Adams’s treatment is very similar to Willet’s.

Maccovius, John – ch. 20, ‘On the Renewal of the World’  in Scholastic Discourse: Johannes Maccovius (1588-1644) on Theological & Philosophical Distinctions & Rules  (1644; Apeldoorn: Instituut voor Reformatieonderzoek, 2009), pp. 275-81

Maccovius (1588–1644) was a Polish reformed theologian.

Turretin, Francis – Institutes  ed. James Dennison, Jr.  (P&R)

vol. 1, 8th Topic, question 6, ‘Whether Adam had the promise of eternal and heavenly life so that (his course of obedience being finished) he would have been carried to heaven?  We affirm.’, pp. 583-86

vol. 3, 20th Topic, question 5, ‘What will the Destruction of the Earth be Like?  Will it be Annihilated by the Final Conflagration [Not Likely] or will it be Restored & Renewed [Likely]?’, pp. 590-97

This treatment is of note as it deals with the renovation at the End and the creation of New Heavens and New Earth; yet it only speaks of the renovation of the earth and the first and second heavens (the skies and outer-space), not the third heaven (the empyrean, highest and spiritual Heaven).

The most likely reason for this is that the standard position of the reformed orthodox was that the spiritual heaven of God’s throneroom is eternal, and will not be renovated.   The ‘creation’ of the New Heavens refers only to the renovation of the skies and outerspace, not to God’s spiritual, empyrean Heaven of his throneroom.  See Duff’s dissertation below.

Baxter, Richard – ch. 9, ‘Of the New Earth’  in The Glorious Kingdom of Christ, Described & Clearly Vindicated Against the Bold Asserters of a Future Calling & Reign of the Jews, & 1,000 Years Before the Conflagration & the Asserters of the 1,000 Years Kingdom after the Conflagration: Opening the Promise of the New Heaven & Earth…  Answering Mr. Thomas Beverley…  (London, 1691), pp. 71-73

van Mastricht, Peter – Theoretical-Practical Theology  (RHB)

vol. 3, bk. 3, ch. 6, sections 30-32, 34-6, 38-43
vol. 6, bk. 8, ch. 4, sections 8, 19, 21

See a summary of Mastricht’s doctrine of heaven in vol. 3, Preface, 4th section, pp. xliii-xlv.  See also the video lecture surveying Mastricht’s doctrine, ‘The Third Heaven – The Believer’s Home’, by Michael Spangler, an editor of Mastricht’s Theoretical-Practical Theology in English.



à Brakel, Wilhelmus – The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 4  ed. Joel Beeke, tr. Bartel Elshout  Buy  (1700; RHB, 1992/1999), ch. 102, ‘Concerning the Last Judgment & the End of the World’

‘The End of the World’, pp. 352-53
‘Heaven & Earth to Be Purged & Restored Rather than Annihilated’, pp. 353-57

a Brakel (1635-1711) was a contemporary of Voet and Witsius and a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation.

Mather, Increase

‘Meditations on Death, & on the Heavenly-Country, which Believers go into at the Hour of Death’  on 1 Chron. 29:15  in Meditations on Death. Delivered in Several Sermons, wherein is showed: I. That some true believers on Christ are afraid of death, but that they have no just cause to be so. II. That good men as well as others may be taken out of the world by a sudden death. III. That Not Earth but Heaven is the Christian’s Home  (Boston, 1707)

Meditations on the Glory of the Heavenly World. I. On the Happiness of the Soul of Believers at the Instant of their Separation from their Bodies. II. On the Glory of the Bodies of God’s Children in the Resurrection World, when they shall be as the Angels of Heaven. III. On the Glory of Both Soul & Body in the Heaven of Heavens, after the Day of Judgment, to all Eternity  (Boston: T. Green, 1711)

Sermons 1 & 2  in Practical Truths, Plainly Delivered: wherein is showed, I. That True Believers on Jesus Christ Shall as Certainly Enjoy Everlasting Life in Heaven, as if they were there Already  (Boston, 1718)





Edward Leigh

bk. 10, ‘Of Glorification…’, ch. 4, ‘Of Everlasting Life’  of A System or Body of Divinity  (London, 1654), p. 873

“Whether the blessed saints after the end of this world shall inhabit this earth, or at least often visit it, Curiose quaeritur & docte ignoratur ‘It is carefully examined, shrewdly passed over’. Voet, Bibliotheca Studiosi Theologiae, bk. 1, ch. 9 [p. 87].

Dr. [Andrew] Willet upon the Romans holds the affirmative (as I remember) and grounds it on that place of Mt. 5:5.  Some urge that place in Peter, ‘A new heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousnesse’, that is, righteous persons.”




On the Post-Reformation


Duff, John H. – ‘A Knot Worth Unloosing’: the Interpretation of the New Heavens & Earth in Seventeenth Century England  PhD Dissertation  (Calvin Theological Seminary, 2014)  335 pp.



Contra this Heavens & Earth Being Annihilated



à Brakel, Wilhelmus – ‘Heaven & Earth to Be Purged & Restored Rather than Annihilated’  in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 4  ed. Joel Beeke, tr. Bartel Elshout  Buy  (1700; RHB, 1992/1999), ch. 102, ‘Concerning the Last Judgment & the End of the World’, pp. 353-57

a Brakel (1635-1711) was a contemporary of Voet and Witsius and a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation.




“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

Rom. 8:19-22




Related Pages





The Judgment

Bible Verses: Degrees of Reward in Heaven

Beatific Vision


Bible Verses on Degrees of Punishment in Hell

On the General Resurrection

On Eternal Life