“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God Himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee He has given us His Holy Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Physicists, rocket scientists, engine builders, and aeronautical engineers—the people who measure and create the things we use in our physical world—all of them deal with entropy. Simply put, entropy is the disorganization in our universe that results in the slow burn of energy, in all its forms, until eventually there will be none left.
Stars burn for millions of years and then go dark. Fuel is used up. Airplanes slow and stall. Ships rust. The insides of apples turn brown when exposed to the air. People grow old and die. The signs of entropy are everywhere. Sooner or later—tomorrow, after a 70-year life, after lighting a solar system for seeming eons—energy will eventually give out.
Entropy is the nature of the world we live in. When God created the heavens and the earth, all was perfect and eternal. Adam and Eve were created as eternal beings. There was no such thing as death. But when sin entered the world, so did entropy. Adam and Eve had no inkling, probably, of their previous eternal state. They didn’t realize the enormity of their wrong. Now everything at some point was going to die. Plants, animals, stars, ships, apples, you, me. But there is good news!
A new body. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5 that as Christ-followers, we can look forward to a new body in heaven. We won’t be floating around heaven as fluffy clouds of spirit. No, we will have new, perfect, eternal bodies. When you deal with illness, or if you suffer from a disease, or if you deal with injury, or if you have trouble with weight or acne or any other bodily challenge, isn’t is good to know that this body you inhabit is only temporary? As you grow older your body becomes weaker. That’s entropy, the slow march of your cells breaking down over time.
Recently there have been stories in the news that science will one day enable us to live forever. The genetic code is being broken. The children being born today—why, they may never die! Don’t believe it. Science continues to advance, but the best minds with the best ideas and the best research run up against a cold, hard truth. Entropy is there. Cells decay. The body ages. We can delay and replace and even cure, but we cannot stop completely the march of time against our bodies.
Our hope, then, is not to prolong this world, but to ensure our place in heaven, where God will give us a body that will never decay or degrade or age. A body that is strong, that we can use to worship God for all eternity. If you’ve ever prayed for someone who is suffering because their body is dying, the greatest gift God can give them, if they are a Christ-follower, is to bring them into heaven, where a brand new body awaits them. This is why death for a Christ-follower is a celebration of sorts—we mourn the loss of a friend, but we rejoice that they no longer suffer here. They are a new creation!
A new perspective. Along with a new body, heaven promises us a new perspective. In heaven with a new body, how many things that you deal with daily here on earth will no longer have meaning? Think about the amount of time you spin the various plates of living. Diet, exercise, safety, medicine, sleep and stress relief—all of the things you do for yourself and your family and your household to prolong and preserve life. None of this will be necessary in heaven. Instead we will spend our time knowing God, worshipping Him, and enjoying His restored creation fully.
In addition to heaven there will be a new earth. And everything we love about the earth will be there as well. The mountains, the seas, the skies, the wind and rain—all will glorify God in all ways forever. There will be a few things missing, though. The sun will not be there anymore. Instead God Himself will illuminate all things. And entropy will be gone. Nothing will die again, ever. A perfect place, in a perfect body God prepared for us, in an everlasting state of joy, fellowship, and worship.
God, help me to understand the temporary nature of this world. Sometimes, because it is familiar to me, I have to admit that I love it and I want to do all I can to live in it as long as possible. Remind me that there is a new body, a new heaven, and a new earth that you are preparing for me that is better than anything I can imagine here. Change my perspective, and help me to anticipate what is to come, so that I can prepare my heart and mind, and encourage others to follow Jesus, so that they can experience heaven, too. In Jesus’ name, amen.