Heavenly Splendor: Seen and Unseen
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
When God “created the heavens and the earth,” what heavens did he make? Genesis 1 clarifies that the days of creation included the formation of the sky (vv. 7–8) and outer space (vv. 14–18). Scripture often refers to these realms as the heavens or the skies. For example, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
Scripture also affirms the existence of a third heaven, the place where God dwells, which most likely existed before the creation recorded in Genesis. Consider what God said to Job: “Where were you when I laid earth’s foundation … while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7). Where were the angels when they “shouted for joy”? Probably in the third heaven, where God is “seated on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:8).
All three heavens are mentioned in this prayer from the book of Nehemiah: “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host. … You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you” (Nehemiah 9:6). The speaker refers to the earth’s atmosphere (heavens), the realm of stars and planets (highest heavens), and the third heaven, where multitudes of celestial beings worship God.
A few people in the Bible glimpsed the magnificence of God’s dwelling place. Isaiah saw the “Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne” (Isaiah 6:1). In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul spoke of being “caught up to the third heaven,” where he saw and heard “inexpressible things” (v. 4). The apostle John also visited God’s celestial home: “Before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice … said, ‘Come up here’” (Revelation 4:1).
We enjoy the beauty of the two heavens described in Genesis 1 now. One day, we will also enjoy the third heaven. Jesus said that, after his resurrection, he would be “seated at the right hand of the mighty God” in heaven (Luke 22:69). He also promised to return so we could be with him in his “Father’s house”. (John 14:3).
If you, like me, marvel over the beauty of the heavens we can see now, can you imagine the splendor of the heaven we have not yet seen?
Read Job 38:31–38. What information about the heavens does God give Job in these rhetorical questions?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of our series on Heaven.