This planet is more than just a stopover on your way to heaven. It is your final destination. God wants you to enjoy your earthly existence, and to think otherwise is to miss the life he intends for you…To be fully Christian is to be fully human, says Wittmer, alive and responsive to the kingdom of God in all that you are and all that you do.
I generally find that Christians are surprised when someone talks about the afterlife in earthly terms. Stan Grenz writes:
The biblical picture of the renewed cosmos differs from the vision many Christians articulate. They conceive of our eternal home as an entirely spiritual, non-material locale. To distinguish it from earthly, physical existence, they commonly call it “heaven.” Consequently, they picture eternity as a realm inhabited by purely spiritual beings. All the texts we cited indicate, however, the prophets of both Testaments anticipated a new earth blanketed by a new heaven (Is. 65:17; Rev. 21:1). Rather than resurrected believers being snatched away to live forever with God in some heavenly world beyond the cosmos, the seer of Revelation envisioned exactly the opposite. God will take up residence in the new creation (Rev. 21:3). The dwelling of the citizen’s of God’s eternal community, therefore, will be the renewed earth.
The material world is important. This is different than many of us have been taught – but it sure is something to look forward to.