How to explain the 'New Earth' or 'World to Come'?

When explaining this doctrine - that the New Earth will be a perfected Earth free from suffering, death and sin, the natural response is ‘‘what’s the point of Heaven after that?’’. Yet Catholic doctrine also refers to a New Heaven. Are the New Heaven and the New Earth the same place? If not, who will abide in Heaven

Also with regard to the General Judgement which takes place before this Earth and Heaven pass away for the new; what is the point of those who have already undergone the particular judgement at death, being judged? As far as I know, among the dead nobody’s status will change, those in Hell go to the Lake of Fire and those in Heaven / Purgatory go to the perfected Earth (or perhaps New Heaven, which leads back to my first question…). This makes the Last Judgement seem important only to the generation living at the time when it happens, and merely a grand spectacle for everybody else…

What is missing in my understanding of these events? Apart from the Trinity (which is just inherently, unavoidably difficult to comprehend), eschatology is my weakest area for defending the faith because I was not really catechised about it.

Heaven is not a physical place resting on a different plane of existence. I understand it to be a reference to the immaterial, of angels and the souls of men able to witness (sense) the full glory of God.

Or perhaps there is a simpler explanation, going back to the very first words of Genesis: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The “heavens” are a creation, too, even if a reference to that which is immaterial. The hope of the new Heaven and the new Earth is an expression that ALL of creation is eligible to be made new and regenerated. Not just the material, but everything that God has made will be brought to a fully realized and united state under the headship of Christ.

Much of what it means for the Earth and the Heavens to be made new is a mystery, but that’s my understanding of why it will be both. See also: Catechism of the Catholic Church 1042 - 1050.

Also with regard to the General Judgement which takes place before this Earth and Heaven pass away for the new; what is the point of those who have already undergone the particular judgement at death, being judged? As far as I know, among the dead nobody’s status will change, those in Hell go to the Lake of Fire and those in Heaven / Purgatory go to the perfected Earth (or perhaps New Heaven, which leads back to my first question…). This makes the Last Judgement seem important only to the generation living at the time when it happens, and merely a grand spectacle for everybody else…

At the final judgment, God’s judgment is made public for all. The immediate judgment after death is private.

I understand that we will be soul only in the Heaven we (hopefully) experience after our death, but body and soul united again and glorified in the New Heaven. So it does seem to logical follow that Heaven is not a physical place, physical places are where physical beings inhabit, not spirits and souls.

What this means on a practical level is harder to articulate though. Do we still recognise each other in Heaven? If so, then our souls must have taken on our bodily ‘form’ for want of a better word. Can we embrace our loved ones in Heaven? If so then our souls can experience touch, another physical attribute (unless we can replicate the action but not feel the physical sensation).

It seems like a block to appreciating the significance of a transition back to the physical realm, is the problem of not really having precise answers to what was missing in interim in Heaven.

I’m trying to find relevant information in the Summa, on catholictheology.info but so far found nothing that really directly applies to these knowledge gaps.

At the final judgment, God’s judgment is made public for all. The immediate judgment after death is private.

True, I guess we’ll already know the fate of those we cared about enough in life, to seek out in Heaven, though?

Here…there will be new heaven and new earth…

Catechism:

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a12.htm#VI

JPII had this to say about Rev 21

CHAPTER SIX
THE GOSPEL OF HOPE
FOR A NEW EUROPE

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven”
(Rev 21:2)
The newness of God in history
106. The Gospel of hope resounding throughout the Book of Revelation opens our hearts to the* contemplation of the newness brought about by God*: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Rev 21:1). God himself says as much, in the words explaining the vision which has just taken place: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).
The newness of God which can only be fully understood against the backdrop of the old things, made up of tears, mourning, lamentation, travail and death (cf. * Rev* 21:4) – consists in leaving behind the state of sin and its consequences in which humanity finds itself; it is the new heavens and the new earth, the new Jerusalem, in contrast to the old heaven and earth, an obsolete order of things and an old Jerusalem, tormented by its rivalries.
The image of the new Jerusalem coming down “out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2) is a direct reference to the mystery of the Church and is not irrelevant for building the city of man. It is an image which speaks of an eschatological reality which transcends human possibilities and is a gift of God which will appear in the last days. Yet it is not a utopia: it is a* reality already in our midst*. This can be seen by the present tense of the verbs which God uses: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5), and, as a further clarification: “It is done!” (Rev 21:6). God is already at work renewing the world; the newness of God is already found in Jesus’ Pasch. It is this which brings the Church to birth, inspires her life, and renews and transforms her history.
107. This newness begins to take shape first of all* in the Christian community*, which is even now “the dwelling of God with men” (Rev 21:3), in whose midst God is already at work, renewing the life of all who yield to the Spirit’s breath. The Church is for the world a sign and instrument of the Kingdom which comes about first in human hearts. A reflection of this newness can also be seen in every form of human coexistence inspired by the Gospel. It is a newness that speaks to society at every moment of history and in every place on earth, and in particular to European society, which for so many centuries has heard the Gospel of the Kingdom inaugurated by Jesus."

From: w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_20030628_ecclesia-in-europa.html

Samuel Mary;14645949

When explaining this doctrine - that the New Earth will be a perfected Earth free from suffering, death and sin, the natural response is ‘‘what’s the point of Heaven after that?’’. Yet Catholic doctrine also refers to a New Heaven. Are the New Heaven and the New Earth the same place? If not, who will abide in Heaven

Yes, a way to think of it is that Heaven and the New Earth will be the same ‘place,’ since heaven will come down to earth, and God’s dwelling will be with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them.

I do agree with this. Thanks.

Heaven and earth will be united. God will make his dwelling with men.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a12.htm#1043

1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth. It will be the definitive realization of God’s plan to bring under a single head “all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth.”

1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

[Col1:20 And, **having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.]

[Rv21:1 And **I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.] See CCC 1042-1050.

New Earth will be this Earth that we live on, it will come after Judgement Day, and God Himself will live with His people. After everyone is resurrected, everyone will live on this Earth. For those who loved God, His presence will be Heaven, and for those who did not it will be Hell.

I have been wondering about the New Earth as well.

Will it have a sun? Will it have our current sun? What about the rest of the universe? What about the moon, asteroids etc? We already know the sun will grow and expand to devour the planet then the sun will die.

I have no idea what to think about this. And what could I possibly tell others inquiring about this aspect of the faith?

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