ďO God, Creator of Light,
At the rising of Your sun this morning,
Let the greatest of all light, Your love,
Rise like the sun within our hearts. AmenĒ1
The astronomy professor stunned me when he told us the sun would explode one day and destroy the earth! According to astronomists, ďthe sun will burn for another five billion years. Then the sun will fuse helium into heavier elements and begin to swell up. It will grow so large that it will swallow the earth. The sun with the earth inside of it will then become a red giant. After a billion years as a red giant, it will suddenly collapse into a white dwarf. It will then take a trillion years for the white dwarf to cool off completely.Ē2 How depressing I thought after I saw the final photo of the sun as a tiny white dwarf with the earth inside of it. It reminded me of a disturbing Pac man game. So this is what all life on earth is going to come to someday- the contents of the stomach of a tiny white dwarf.
I felt insignificant and unsettled to learn this scientific fact about the sun. As a child, I had taken a friendly course on the solar system. I learned the sun was the center of our solar system. Often the sun was painted with a smile on its face. Today, I continue to see it painted that way. Recently, my nephew had a book with a picture of the sun with a smile on it. I didnít have the heart to upset him and tell him, ďDid you know the sun is going to explode someday and swallow the earth?Ē Even my 15 month old daughter has a t-shirt with a happy sun on it.
The nice warm sunny days I experienced so often growing up in Southern California brought me a lot of cheer. A sunny day just seemed to put a little more promise for a good day. I feel deceived I hadnít known this all along about the sun but I suppose the sunburns should have been a clue of the sunís underlying cruelty. I was left feeling nature could be even more deceptively unkind. The sun which provided such a nice warmth and light for us would one day turn on us and gobble us up. It was not a happy ending for mankind.
I was relieved it would happen long after my lifetime on earth. At least I will not have to experience it. Yet, the thought, ďIíll be dead anyway so it wonít affect me.Ē was not much of a comfort. As a young college student, I felt invincible and felt like I would live forever. I was forced to think about my own mortality.
After the lecture I was left with the feeling why should I bother studying and trying to become something if Iím just going to be dead someday? Yet it was a very fleeting feeling. I continued attending my class, studied for my exams and was ecstatic to finish with an ďAĒ in the class. I quickly forgot about the destruction of the sun and my own mortality and moved onto my next set of classes and resumed life as normal.
But about 10 years later I was forced to think about my own mortality again. But this time I was in a much more urgent state of panic! I had had a repeated exposure to an unknown or undisclosed chemical. I had to quit work when I became surprisingly very ill quickly. I truly feared I might die very shortly. The thought raced through my head ďWhat will happen to me after I die?Ē I believed in Jesus and an afterlife from what I had learned about Jesus from my experience at Catholic Church and the childrenís Bible stories my mom had read me. But I had hardly gone to Church since high school and I hadnít been reading the Bible at all. I opened my sisterís Bible in a panic. I cried to my sister as I felt really ill in the wee hours of the night and asked her to pray for me. She did. I checked myself too into the hospital because of how very ill I felt. I felt a little comfort by the presence of a priest who walked unexpectedly into my hospital room and handed me a Bible. I felt desperation for him to help me but he was present for what seemed just a brief few moments. I was really just left with more panic the hospital thought I might be dying too and that someone thought it necessary to send me a priest!
When I returned home, I put a rosary around my neck and held the cross over my heart which beat so violently thru the night and kept me awake as I writhed in pain and struggled to breathe. I hoped the cross over my heart would keep my heart afloat because I wasnít ready to die.
Thankfully God did spare me but allowed me to go through a very difficult recovery. Yet I could tell He was looking after me because He inspired my neighbor to invite me to her Womenís Bible study. I accepted her invitation and my life was forever changed. The women taught me how to have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. I began to feel a closeness with Him I had not experienced before. I still recall one moment at a Christian concert when I chose to walk on stage and invite Jesus into my life. I felt Jesusí presence and could not control my tears. While I felt Jesusí presence at that moment, I had yet to learn faith like I would then at my neighborís Bible study. Prior to this time I had seen God, Our Creator, as a vast, all powerful being yet couldnít have comprehended how to know Him personally as a Father and a friend as I began to learn at Jill's. I soon chose to be baptized and became a born-again Christian.
This time I didnít forget about my own mortality. Instead I chose to become immortal! I embraced Godís promise to us written through the Apostle John. ďFor God so loved the world He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.Ē 4 I chose to believe in Jesus and receive His gift of eternal life.
As I studied more scripture and heard Pastor Stormís Sermons at Chandler Christian Church, I learned Biblical reasons too for the heaven and earthís destruction. God had originally created a perfect earth. He looked at what He created and was very pleased. 5 However when Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the Garden of Eden sin entered the world. They were banished from the Garden of Eden where they would have dwelled eternally with God and were instead condemned to death. 6 Adam and Eveís sin separated them from God which led to their death and not eternal life. The same fate has held true for all of mankind since Adam and Eve. Our sin continues to separate us from God and lead to our death. 7 Once Adam and Eve sinned, the earth was no longer the perfect world God had created and instead became a flawed earth doomed to destruction.8
As i studied more, I found more places in Scripture that warn us of the destructions of the heavens and earth. Here are just a few of them:
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood Ö. 9
All the stars of the heavens will dissolve and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry hosts will fall like withered leaves from the vineÖÖĒ 10
In the beginning O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but You remain, they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed.Ē 11
Thankfully I learned our lives do not have to end with the destruction of the heavens and the earth in death and separation from God. Because God loves us so much and longs to be with us, He has given us another opportunity to dwell with Him. He has sent His Son Jesus to save us from our sins so we can dwell with Him again. Jesus promises us there will be a new heaven and earth to replace the old heaven and earth. 12
The only requirement for us is we have to believe Jesus is Godís Son and accept Him as our Savior for our sins. 4 Once we do this, we are saved from our sins and receive Godís Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who enables us to become pure and holy13 so we can dwell with God again. The Apostle Peter tells us, ďRepent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Ē14
As I was reading the final book of Scripture one night I read a verse that describes the new heaven and earth:
The city [the New Jerusalem] 15 will not need the sun or the moon to shine its light on it for His glory will give it light and the Lamb will be its lamp. 16
Wow! I was immediately reminded of that day in astronomy class. The astronomy lecture was really starting to make sense to me. There is a good Biblical reason for the sun to no longer exist! God is telling us weíre not going to need the Sun in His New Holy City because He will be our light! Just as our sun today, also created by God, 17 allows us to have life here on earth, Jesus, Godís Son, our sacrificial lamb, will be our lamp for eternal life. (I have thought itís not a coincidence Son and sun sound the same and both are associated with light. I think itís a God-incidence. 18)
And how excited and privileged I feel to dwell in Godís new heaven and earth someday! Scripture describes it as a truly remarkable place. Itís described vividly as a city whose walls are made of pure gold. The foundations of the city wall are decorated with every kind of precious stone- jasper, sapphire, emerald, topaz, amethyst to name just some of them. 19 The great street of the city is made of pure gold. 20 It sounds more luxurious than the most exclusive cities of our world today. Donít you too long to dwell in such a heavenly place? Better yet, all are invited! There is no discrimination based on wealth, appearance, race, religionÖ..21
God tells us too He will wipe every tear from the inhabitants of this cityís eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.22 How I long to be free from my struggles some of which make me cry in tears of anguish. I feel so loved and in awe that God cares enough to wipe my tears away forever. How refreshing it will be to turn on the news and not hear of a child who drowned or of a fatal car accident or murder. How wonderful it will be not to have a sick loved one or a death in the family. I suffer with physical pain and look forward to being pain-free again!
How wonderful too to see Godís face! I have read in Scripture about Godís majesty including the magnificent robe He wears whose train fills the temple. 23 I have found His Creation to be so very breathtaking. I recall turning my head as I rode up a ski chair lift and just feeling in awe of the beauty of the quiet snow filled hillside with trees. I can only imagine how utterly amazing it will be to meet the Author of this creation someday face to face! 24
I long for you dear reader to join me. Sometimes it seems to me this New Holy City with God is one of the best-kept secrets of our world that few have heard about. The only requirement to enter this city someday is that you admit you have sinned and have fallen short of Godís perfect standard. As I did all you have to do is admit your need for Jesus, Godís gift to us, to save you from your sins too. Then, be blessed with Godís gift of the Holy Spirit and watch your life be transformed.
Please let me tell you how my life is being transformed. I am witnessing myself being filled with Godís eternal light since I have made the decision to be saved from my sins and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. I am witnessing how Iím being transformed into a Godly woman. The Spirit has become my counselor and guide for life.25 Iím convicted by The Spirit when I sin and am able to confess my sins. Before I received Godís Holy Spirit I was blind to a lot of my sins and was therefore unable to confess them. I am cultivating more and more the Godly characters of ďlove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-controlĒ26 I am seeing myself more of a light to the world with less and less darkness in me. I realize I'm becoming able to dwell more and more with God each day and will one day feel pure enough to be with Him face to face. I realize more and more I will not need the sun to sustain me but rather Godís light to sustain me.
I sure have come a long way since that day in astronomy class! Iím no longer unsettled by my own mortality but instead have comfort in my immortality. Iím not disillusioned about the sunís and earthís destruction as I was and have peace and a new understanding about the reasons for their destruction. I hope I have comforted you about the heaven and earthís destruction as well as about your own mortality. I hope I have inspired you to become a light to the world and join me in this Holy City too!
Love and prayers,
Tara Christine Meier
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