While Muslims definitely believe in an afterlife, they also believe the earth will be destroyed in the future leaving just paradise and hell remaining throughout eternity.
The Bible paints a much different future of planet earth. Let’s put it in perspective.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“So God created man in His own image…” Genesis 1:27
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…” Genesis 1:31
“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden…and out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” Genesis 2:8-9
“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden…” Genesis 2:10
“Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
“And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…” Genesis 3:8
We all know the Biblical account of Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience and the consequence.
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.” Genesis 3:17-18
“…therefore the LORD God sent him (Adam) out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” Genesis 3:23
In brief summary, God created the heavens, earth, and man in His own image to tend and keep His creation on earth. God looked upon His creation and found it to be ‘very good’. God and man initially walked together in the garden but because of man’s sin he was separated from God and expelled from the garden so he couldn’t access the tree of life, and the earth was cursed. Does that warrant the ultimate total destruction of the earth?
The prophet Isaiah was given the answer to that question.
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD…‘For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.’” Isaiah 65:13a, 17
Then God confirmed that the new heavens and new earth would remain as long as Israel, i.e. forever.
“For thus says the LORD…‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me’, says the LORD, ‘So shall your descendants and your name remain.’” Isaiah 66:12a, 22
The Apostle John saw the future fulfillment of those prophecies.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people…Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new…’” Revelation 21:1-5
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” Revelation 21:10
“The city had no need of the sun…for the glory of God illuminated it…And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.” Revelation 21:23-24
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse…” Revelation 22:1-3
Comparing the Biblical description of New Jerusalem and the new earth with the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve disobeyed their Creator, there is a striking resemblance.
• Both contain the tree of life
• Both contain a river in their midst to water the trees
• Both contain trees that provide food and sustenance
• There is no curse on man or the ground in either
• God dwells directly with man in both
So then, where is heaven? It is where God dwells and the Bible states very clearly that He will dwell forever and ever in New Jerusalem which will descend down out of heaven. Those who dwell in New Jerusalem and the new earth will have direct access to God as in the Garden of Eden before sin entered.
As the wise King Solomon said:
“One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4