Is Heaven Eternal? (What Does the Bible Say?)

I used to think Christians die and spend eternity in Heaven. This belief was challenged as a college sophomore when my Professor asked me to prove it from the Scriptures. I searched my Bible, scoured the internet, and spent endless hours in the library but couldn’t find evidence to support my belief. Weeks later, my Professor clarified what the Bible says about Heaven and our Eternal home. The information came in handy in my theology class years later. One of my students wanted to know whether we’ll spend eternity in Heaven or the New Jerusalem. This question is common among students who’ve studied the book of Revelation. I pointed out what the Bible says about Heaven and our Eternal home. We had an interesting discussion where I addressed common misconceptions and suggested additional reading materials. Our discussion culminated in the question, is Heaven Eternal?

According to the scriptures, Heaven is not eternal. The Bible teaches that Heaven and Earth will pass away as God restores creation on the last day. We see this in Revelation 21, where John saw a New Jerusalem descend on the new Earth. God will renew creation and live among them after judging the Earth and ridding it of evil.

In this article, I’ll explore what the Bible says about Eternal life and Heaven. Additionally, I’ll skim over some mentions of Eternal life in the Bible.

What is Eternal life according to the Bible?

Eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). It’s often contrasted to death, the Eternal separation from God that awaits unrepentant sinners. The Bible talks about Eternal life from two perspectives- quantity and quality of life.

The quantity of life refers to longevity. Eternal life has no end. Believers will live forever with God in a place of beauty, joy, and rest. Quality of life refers to the type of life we can expect. Eternal life will be full of joy. The Bible teaches that there won’t be weeping, sickness, or suffering. God will give us new bodies free from the grasp of sin and suited for eternity with him.

Additionally, the Bible teaches that Eternal life begins on Earth. Once a person receives salvation, they begin experiencing Eternal life. We base this on the prayer of Jesus in John 17:3. Here, he reveals that Eternal life is knowing God, a journey beginning on Earth and continuing into eternity.

What does the Bible teach about Heaven and Eternal life?

Is Heaven Eternal?
What does the Bible teach about Heaven and Eternal life? Image source: Pixabay

God lives in Heaven

The Bible always speaks about Heaven as a real place. John 6:33, for instance, tells us that Jesus descended from Heaven to bring us Eternal life. Additionally, Heaven is God’s dwelling place, as seen in Deuteronomy 26:15. God’s throne is in Heaven, and from it, he rules over all creation.

God’s people go to Heaven after they die

Heaven is also the dwelling of God’s people after they die. Hebrews 12:22-24 tells us that when we die, we go into Heaven where God, his angels, and other saints dwell. Heaven is our resting place as we wait for the redemption and restoration of the Earth, promised in Revelation 21.

We should long for Heaven

Paul teaches that our spirits long for freedom from our bodies bound in sin (2 Corinthians 5:2). We long for new bodies free from sin’s power. These Heavenly bodies are Christ’s fulfilment of his promise of our final restoration.

We will not spend eternity in Heaven

I know it’s controversial, but hear me out. The Bible doesn’t teach that we will spend eternity in Heaven. Revelation 21 tells us that God will renew everything. The old Heaven and Earth will pass away, and a new Heaven and Earth will replace it. The New Jerusalem, a city built and prepared in Heaven, will descend, and God will live among his people on the new Earth. In a sense, Heaven will be on Earth.

We are assured of Eternal life

Finally, God assures us of Eternal life if we are saved. John 6:33 assures us of Eternal life if we believe in Jesus. John reiterates this promise in his first letter. He tells us that whoever has the son has life (1 John 5:11-12).

Does the Bible say Heaven is our Eternal home?

Is Heaven Eternal?
Does the Bible say Heaven is our Eternal home? Image source: Pixabay

No. The Bible doesn’t teach that Heaven is our Eternal home. We will go to Heaven when we die, but on the last day, we shall return with Christ and live on the new Earth with Him forever.

This doesn’t, in any way, diminish the promise of Heaven. Instead, it prepares us for what eternity with God entails. As Christians, our hope isn’t (or shouldn’t) be entirely in Heaven; it’s in God’s promise of restoration. Heaven is where we await the fulfilment of this promise. Peter taught that Jesus is in Heaven waiting for the restoration of everything (Acts 3:21), and that’s where we will go when we die.

The Bible further teaches us that we will return with Jesus on that day of restoration (Jude 1:14), proving that our Eternal home is on the new Earth, in the glorious city God prepared for his people.

Instances where the Bible mentions Eternal life

Eternal life appears over 30 times in the Bible. The words are first used in Matthew 19:16, where a wealthy young man wanted to know what he had to do to attain Eternal life. We see several other mentions of Eternal life in the Bible. Here are five:

  1. John 3:15 says Eternal life belongs to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
  2. In John 5:39, Jesus revealed that the Scriptures point to him as the source of Eternal life.
  3. Romans 5:21 teaches that sin brought death, but Jesus brought righteousness, which leads to Eternal life.
  4. Romans 6:23 says that Eternal life is God’s gift to us through Christ Jesus.
  5. Titus 3:7 says we are justified and candidates for Eternal life.

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