The Birth of the new Heavens and the new Earth, from the second Chaos, or the remains of the old World. The form, order, and qualities of the new Earth, according to Reason and Scripture.
HAVING prov’d from Scripture, that we are to expect New Heavens, and a New Earth, after the Conflagration; it would be some pleasure and satisfaction to see how this new Frame will arise: and what foundation there is in Nature for the accomplishment of these promises. For, tho’ the Divine Power be not bound to all the Laws of Nature, but may dispence with them when there is a necessity; yet it is an ease to us in our belief, when we see them both conspire in the same effect. And in order to this, we must consider in what posture we
left the demolish’d World: what hopes there is of a Restauration. And we are not to be discourag’d, because we see things at present wrapt up in a confus’d Mass: for, according to the methods of Nature and Providence, in that dark Womb usually are the seeds and rudiments of an Embryo-World.
Neither is there, possibly, so great a confusion in this Mass, as we imagine. The Heart and interiour Body of the Earth is still entire: and that part of it that is consum’d by the fire, will be divided, of its own accord, into two Regions.
Click to enlarge
[paragraph continues] What is dissolv’d and melted, being the heaviest, will descend as low as it can: and cover and enclose the kernel of the Earth round about, as a molten Sea or Abyss: according as is explain’d and set down in the precedent Book. But what is more light and volatile, will float in the Air: as fumes, Smoak, exhalations, vapours of Water, and whatsoever terrestrial parts can be elevated and supported
by the strength of fire. These all mingled together, of different sizes, figures, and motions, will constitute an opake Cloud, or thick region of darkness round the Earth: So as the Globe of the Earth, with its Atmosphere, after the Conflagration is finish’d, will stand in the form represented in this Scheme.
Now as to the lower of these two regions, the region of melted matter, A. A. we shall have little occasion to take notice of it: seeing it will contribute nothing to the formation of the new World. But the upper region, or all above that Orb of fire, is the true draught of a Chaos: or a mixture and confusion of all the Elements, without order or distinction. Here are particles of Earth, and of Air, and of Water, all promiscuously jumbled together, by the force and agitation of the fire. But when that force ceases, and every one is left to its own inclination, they will, according to their different degrees of gravity, separate and sort themselves after this manner. First, the heaviest and grossest parts of the Earth will subside; then the watery parts will follow; then a lighter sort of Earth; which will stop and rest upon the Surface of the Water, and compose there a thin film or membrane; this membrane or tender Orb is the first rudiment or foundation of a new habitable Earth. For according as terrestrial parts fall upon it, from all the regions and heighths of the Atmosphere, or of the Chaos, this Orb will grow more firm, strong, and immoveable: able to support it self and Inhabitants too. And having in it all the Principles of a fruitful Soil, whether for the production of Plants or of Animals, it will want no property or character of an habitable Earth. And particularly, will become such an Earth, and of such a form, as the first Paradisiacal Earth was. Which hath been fully describ’d in the first and second Books of this Theory.
There is no occasion of examining more accurately the formation of this Second Earth, seeing it is so much the same with that of the First; which is set down fully and distinctly in the 5th Chapter of the first Book of this Theory. Nature here repeats the same work, and in the same method; onely the materials are now a little more refin’d and purg’d by the fire. They both rise out of a Chaos, and That, in effect, the same in both cases; For though in forming the first Earth, I suppos’d the Chaos or confus’d Mass to reach down to the Center, I did that onely for the ease of our imagination; that so the whole Mass might appear more simple and uniform. But in reality, that Chaos had a solid kernel of Earth within, as this hath; and that matter which fluctuated above in the regions of the Air, was the true Chaos, whose parts, when they came to a separation, made the several Elements, and the form of an habitable Earth betwixt the Air and Water. This Chaos upon separation, will fall into the same form and Elements: and so in like manner create or constitute a second Paradisiacal World.
I say a Paradisiacal World: For it appears plainly, that this new-form’d Earth must agree with that Primigenial Earth, in the two principal and fundamental properties. First, It is of an even, entire, uniform and regular Surface, without Mountains or Sea. Secondly, That it hath a straight and regular situation to the Sun, and the Axis of the Ecliptick. From the manner of its formation, it appears manifestly, that it must be of an even and regular Surface. For the Orb of liquid fire, upon which the first descent was made, being smooth and uniform every
where, the matter that fell upon it would take the same form and mould. And so the second or third Region, that were superinduc’d, would still imitate the fashion of the first: there being no cause or occasion of any inequality. Then as to the situation of its Axis, this uniformity of figure would determine the center of its gravity to be exactly in the middle, and consequently there would be no inclination of one Pole more than another to the general center of its motion; But, upon a free libration in the liquid Air, its Axis would lie parallel with the Axis of the Ecliptick where it moves. But these things having been deduc’d more fully in the second Book about Paradise and the Primigenial Earth, they need no further explication in this place.
If Scripture had left us several distinct Characters of the New Heavens, and the New Earth, we might, by compare with those, have made a full proof of our Hypothesis. One indeed St. John hath left us in very express terms, There was no Sea there, He says. His words are these: 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. This character is very particular, and you see it exactly answers to our Hypothesis: for in the new-form’d Earth, the Sea is cover’d and inconspicuous: being an Abyss, not a Sea, and wholly lodg’d in the Womb of the Earth. And this one Character, being inexplicable upon any other supposition, and very different from the present Earth, makes it a strong presumption that we have hit upon the true model of the New Heavens and New Earth which St. John saw.
To this sight of the New Heavens and New Earth, St. John immediately subjoyns the sight of the New Jerusalem, ver. 2. as being contemporary, and in some respects the same thing. ’Tis true, the Characters of the New Jerusalem in these two last Chapters of the Apocalypse, are very hard to be understood: some of them being incompetible to a Terrestrial state, and some of them to a Celestial; so as it seems to me very reasonable to suppose, that the New Jerusalem spoken of by St. John, is twofold: That which he saw himself, ver. 2. and that which the Angel shewed him afterwards, ver. 9. For I do not see what need there was of an Angel, and of taking him up into a great and high mountain, only to shew him that which he had seen before, at the foot of the Mountain. However we are to consider in this place the Terrestrial New Jerusalem only, or that which is in the New Heavens and New Earth. And as St. John hath joyned these two together, so the Prophet Isaiahch. 65. 17, 18. had done the same thing before; when he had promised new Heavens and a new Earth, he calls them, under another name, Jerusalem: and they both use the same character in effect, in the description of their Jerusalem. Isaiah says,ver. 19. And I will rejoyce in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. St. JohnApoc. 21. 3, 4. says also in his Jerusalem, God shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people: And he shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. Now in both these Prophets, when they treat upon this subject, we find they make frequent allusions to Paradise and a Paradisiacal state; so as that may be justly taken as a Scripture-Character of the New Heavens and the New Earth. The Prophet Isaiah seems
plainly to point at a Paradisiacal state, throughout that Chapter, by an universal innocency, and harmlessness of animals; and peace, plenty, health, longævity or immortality of the inhabitants. St. Johnch. 21. & ch. 22. also hath several allusions to Paradise, in those two Chapters where he describes the New Jerusalem. And in his discourse to the seven Churches, in one place (ch. 2. 7.) To him that overcometh is promised to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. And in another place (ch. 3. 12.) to him that overcometh is promised, to have the name of the New Jerusalem writ upon him. These I take to be the same thing, and the same reward of Christian Victors, The New Jerusalem or the New Heavens and New Earth, and the Paradise of God. Now this being the general Character of the New Earth, That it is Paradisiacal: and the particular Character, That it hath no Sea: and both these agreeing with our Hypothesis, as apparently deducible from those principles and that manner of its formation which we have set down: We cannot but allow, that the Holy Scriptures and the Natural Theory agree in their Testimony, as to the conditions and properties of the New Heavens and New Earth.
From what hath been said in this and the precedent Chapter, it will not be hard to interpret what St. Paul meant by his Habitable Earth to come: 1 which is to be subjected to our Saviour and not to the Angels. In the second chapter to the Hebrews, ver. 5. he says, For unto the Angels hath he not put in subjection the WORLD TO COME: So we read it, but, according to the strictest and plainest Translation, it should be The habitable Earth to come. Now what Earth is this, where our Saviour is absolute Soveraign: and where the Government is neither Humane, nor Angelical, but peculiarly Theocratical? In the first place, this cannot be the present World or the present Earth, because the Apostle calls it Future, or the Earth to come. Nor can it be understood of the days of the Gospel: seeing the Apostle acknowledges, ver. 8. that this subjection, whereof he speaks, is not yet made. And seeing Antichrist will not finally be destroy’d till the appearance of our Saviour, (2 Thess. 2. 8.) nor Satan bound, while Antichrist is in power: during the reign of these two, Ephes. 6. 12.(who are the Rulers of the darkness of the World) our Saviour cannot properly be said to begin his reign here. ’Tis true, He exercises his Providence over his Church, and secures it from being destroy'd: He can, by a power paramount, stop the rage either of Satan or Antichrist; Hitherto shall you go and no further. As sometimes when he was upon Earth, he exerted a Divine Power, which yet did not destroy his state of Humiliation; so he interposes now when he thinks fit, but he does not finally take the power out of the hands of his Enemies, nor out of the hands of the Kings of the Earth. The Kingdom is not deliver’d up to him, and all dominion, and power; that all Tongues and Nations should serve him. For St. Paulch. 7. 13, 25, 26. Hebr. 2. 8. can mean no less in this place than that Kingdom in Daniel: Seeing he calls it putting all things in subjection under his feet, and says that it is not yet done. Upon this account also, as well as others, our Saviour might truly say to Pilate (Joh. 18. 36.) my kingdom is not of this World. And to his Disciples, The Son of man came not to be ministred unto, but to minister, Matt. 20. 28. When he comes to receive his Kingdom, he comes in the clouds of Heaven (Dan. 7. 13, 14.) not in the womb of a Virgin. He comes
with the equipage of a King and Conqueror; with thousands and ten thousands of Angels: not in the form of a Servant, or of a weak Infant; as he did at his first coming.
Neither can this World to come, or this Earth to come, be understood of the Kingdom of Heaven. For the Greek word will not bear that sence, nor is it ever us’d in Scripture for Heaven, Besides, the Kingdom of Heaven, when spoken of as future, is not properly till the last resurrection and final judgment. Whereas This World to come, which our Saviour is to govern, must be before that time, and will then expire. For all his Government, as to this World, expires at the day of Judgment, and1 Cor. 15. 24, &c. he will then deliver up the kingdom into the hands of his father: that he may be all in all. Having reigned first himself, and put down all rule and all authority and power. So that St. Paul, in these two places of his Epistles, refers plainly to the same time and the same reign of Christ: which must be in a future World, and before the day of Judgment: and therefore according to our deductions, in the New Heavens and the New Earth.
326:1 Τὴν οἰκουμένην τ῎ μέλλουσαν πατὴρ τοῦ μέλλονος ἀιῶνος Isa. 9. 6.