Does the earth last forever, or is it destroyed? Psalm 78:69 says, “And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has founded forever.” But 2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” So which one is correct? Does the earth last forever, or is it destroyed? The answer is simple. They are both correct.
Scriptures teach that the earth will last forever.
- Psalm 78:69, “And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has founded forever.”
- Psalm 104:5, “He established the earth upon its foundations so that it will not totter forever and ever.”
- Ecc. 1:4, “A generation goes, and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever.”
When the Bible talks about the earth lasting forever, it is not saying that the earth cannot be changed or remade. This is what is talking about when it says the earth and its works are burned up (2 Pet. 3:10). It is so the new heavens, and new earth can be made. God is going to clean up the universe and all that is in it.
- Isaiah 65:17, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”
- Isaiah 66:22, “For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “So your offspring and your name will endure.”
- 2 Peter 3:13, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
- Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”
A new earth and our new bodies
A comparison of the new earth is found in our new bodies. 1 Cor. 15:42-45 talks about how our physical bodies die but are also resurrected. They are re-created, but they are our same bodies. How this happens, we do not know. But, the Bible says that the body is “sown in dishonor and it is raised in glory,” (1 Cor. 15:43). So, that which is sown is what is raised. Even if someone died thousands of years ago, God will resurrect our bodies. Likewise, the earth, which has the effect of sin upon it due to Adam’s rebellion against God (Romans 5:12), will likewise be reborn. It will be a kind of resurrection. This is why 2 Pet. 3:10 talks about the earth being burned up. It’s not being destroyed so as to cease to exist. Rather, it is being re-created; hence, a new heavens and a new earth.