Long have I wondered about the many different places God has created. We almost live in a bubble in our present lives and seldom give much thought to what has come before, what currently exists, and what will come in terms of actual realms far different than anything like Earth.
Below is a bit of an adventure into the many incredible places the God of the Bible has made:
Eternity Past – (circa-Pre-Universe >13.7 billion BC)
We begin this journey in the near indescribable Eternity past. At one point, prior to the creation of everything we know of – the Angelic Host, the universe, and even time itself, there was just God. We essentially know nothing of this era, other than at one point – God (the Holy Trinity) was alone. I like to think I have a great imagination, but I come up against a wall in trying to even remotely understand this chapter of Gods’ incredible life (or…any of the innumerable chapters beforehand). God seemed to live alone and in complete union and satisfaction with Himself.
If God created the space and time we are familiar with now, how can we fathom a place without? Very few, if at all in a persons’ life do we have encounters or messages from the other side – God’s side. I remember long ago in the middle of the night asking God in earnest “Lord, what did you do before you made everything we know of?” I heard a strong voice in my head I will never forget utter 4 words “I dreamt of you” it said. It made me think that God had a plan for us, and was excited upon seeing his sentient creation look up and praise its creator. Ephesians 1:4 “…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
Angelic creation – pre-fall Universe and Heaven continued – (circa – 13.7 billion BC, Creation of the Universe)
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation … and all the angels shouted for joy?”
A new chapter began in God’s life when He left His perfect solitary state and began to create. As we have glimpses into God’s character from the Bible, we know God loves abundance and diversity – think all the species of animals and birds and fish. Therefore, it seems to me He wanted a change in His life. So, create He did! The Universe came to form – whether a big bang or slower formation, whether it took eons or a much shorter timeframe – God made something of inimitable size, vastness, and complexity. My guess is once the Universe came together, God made the angels. Their purpose was to serve Him. There was a hierarchy allotted to them with leadership by an incredibly beautiful and powerful angel – Lucifer. Gabriel and Michael were other near-peer angelic leaders. Outside the boundaries of the physical Universe itself, is a realm where God dwells and allows the angel’s access to – Heaven. A description of Heaven at this point in time is mentioned in Isaiah 14:12-15 describing Lucifer’s rebellion:
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
Regarding the angels – the Universe may have been a playground of sorts for them to explore and praise the wondrous workmanship of God’s brilliant creation. As Job mentions, all the angels were present and in unity when Earth was formed sometime after the Universe was created. This event – the angels singing together for the reformation of a planet among many other bodies in space seems significant and of importance. Perhaps after eons of the angelic host exploring the Galaxies and Universe, God-centered and called attention to the next era and chapter of His life – a new species called Man that would reside in a paradise-like Garden on planet Earth.
Earth – The Garden of Eden – (circa >4,000 BC)
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it”
With the intention of creating a new species to live and grow on Earth, God began reshaping and altering the planet to suite his new creation. Earth had already been formed billions of years earlier (at best guess 4.5 billion years ago) but God began terraforming it for his new human project “Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters” Genesis 1:2. As Earth had now become habitable for human life – and animal life – God placed Adam, and later Eve, in the Garden of Eden. The location of Eden was placed between 4 rivers in the Middle East,
“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. . . . Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon . . . . The name of the second river is Gihon. . . . The name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris]. ;. . . The fourth river is the Euphrates.” Genesis 2 8-14
Adam was tasked with naming and categorizing every single animal and bird. In an incredibly beautiful scene, Genesis describes how God himself brought all of the animals and birds before Adam, for him to name as he saw fit. Adam, far from the fallen humans we now are six thousand years later, had a far superior intellect than any modern humans would have. Life in Eden existed without any death, or pain, or negative emotion of worry or fear. There was a complete harmony with God, and it is said in the cool of the day (evening) God could be heard in the garden walking towards them.
I have often thought what a beautiful sound His footsteps on the perfect grasses of Eden would sound like as He approached. Strangely, the serpent or, whom we would now call Satan – also had full access to the Garden. The serpent in the Garden seemed to be an upright walking creature, described as the shrewdest of all the animals. Possibly possessed by Satan, the serpent would infamously lure Eve, and then Adam into disobedience and sin. Interesting to me is what was the world like outside of the Garden of Eden? Could Adam and Eve – prior to sinning – walk in and out of the Garden? Once God had instructed Adam and Eve to leave Eden, it is written that mighty cherubim angels waving flaming swords guarded the entrance from access inward.
I have often pondered what if Adam and Eve had not sinned. My theory (big conjecture territory here) is that eventually, Eden would overpopulate, and quickly. If Adam and Eve were immortal and produced offspring eternally – who themselves would produce offspring eternally as well and so on – Eden’s population would spill over into the rest of the earth in fairly short notice. Perhaps the reason the Universe is made up of likely trillions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars and star systems, was for the accommodation of off-world colonization by mankind.
With their radical intelligence, immortal bodies, and eternity ahead of them- perfected mankind likely would begin expanding into the cosmos. In a similar manner to how God may have allowed the angels perhaps eons of time to explore the universe, maybe this was a potential avenue mankind could follow had Eve rebuked Satan in the garden. It was not to be, however, this may be the ultimate plan later on in Eternity Future. As for what became of Eden – it seems lost to misty memories of the ancient past, but it is very likely that the Flood of Noah saw its destruction. Recently in the movie ‘Blade Runner 2049’, the villain character Niander Wallace– Trillionaire CEO of a fictional future megacorporation played by Jared Leto – wishes to have his replicant android-like creations reproduce on their own. He bombastically laments, “I cannot breed them. So help me, I have tried. We need more replicants than can ever be assembled. Millions, so we can be trillions more. We could storm Eden and retake her.” It made me wonder if the pre-Flood Nephilim ever approached the guardian cherubim at Eden’s gates forcibly seeking entrance.
Fall of man – Souls begin going to the Underworld
In this adventure, we now find ourselves observing the fallen human population exploding on earth. No longer living in harmony with God, the human race becomes subject to sickness, death, and bent towards a sinful nature. Add to that, at some point after the expulsion from Eden, the early events of Genesis 6 happen, where Fallen Angels begin a breeding campaign with human women in an attempt to corrupt the DNA of mankind. The results indicate that at the time Noah enters the Ark, all but eight humans were deemed savable. Where did the rest go upon death? It seems the Realm of Hades in the Underworld was already in existence prior to Adam and Eve being created.
Tartarus – (circa – between 4,000 BC and 2,500 BC to current and will cease upon the end of the 6th Day, likely early to mid 21st Century AD)
“For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell, delivering them in chains to be held in gloomy darkness until their judgment;” 2 Peter 2:4
At some point prior to the Flood of Noah, a group of Angels (the Book of Enoch describes them as a company of 200 ‘Watcher’ angels) began a campaign of interbreeding with human women (Genesis 6 account). The wicked goal of which was to pollute humanity enough that the coming Messiah could not be born to redeem mankind. Dispatched by Satan, the angelic interbreeding (of likely not just humans) resulted in a world completely out of control and a circus of hybrids, giants, and monstrosities. In all, eight people…..yes 8, out of potentially a billion, were saved, all the result of 200 fallen angels. God ordered punishment, and that punishment was imprisonment to a place in the Earth called Tartarus. Tartarus seems to be a special realm apart from Hades, or perhaps a sub-chamber within or below Hades reserved for these 200 fallen angels. Amazing to think, that as you read this these fallen ones right now are still in chains in ‘gloomy darkness’ awaiting judgment.
Hades/Hell – (circa – Likely before the appearance of Mankind 4,000 BC to current, and will cease upon the end of the 6th Day, likely early to mid 21st Century AD)
To the dear Reader, of all the realms our journey has explored, this is the one place I would wish to skip over. At the time of Noah’s Flood there well could have been upwards of a billion people on earth. From the Eden expulsion to Noah’s Flood, perhaps hundreds of millions had died natural deaths. Then, from this time to the time of Jesus (25 Centuries later) many more billions of millions of people lived and died. Where then did all the souls of these people go? We know that the Nephilim upon dying became the unclean spirits that roamed the earth-seeking hosts.
Those of the unspoiled lineage of Adam (untainted from Genesis 6 demonic interbreeding) had two places upon death to enter – Abraham’s bosom (Paradise), and Hades (Hell). Many scriptures indicate the realm of the dead at this point was located within the earth. Jesus explains in Luke 16:19-31 the story of the Rich man and Lazarus. Jesus describes the Rich man while in Hell, from afar is able to see Abraham. The land of the dead was separated into two regions by a great abyss or gulf, making the movement between each impossible. Abraham indicates that some members in Paradise wanted to pass over to Hades (based on the context very likely to help those in Hades who were begging e.g. The Rich Man begging for a drop of water)…
“And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us” Luke 16:26
Hades is described as being in a state of unceasing fire. The Rich Man had full awareness of his surroundings, remorse, and memory of his former life, and an urge to send help to his unsaved brothers alive on earth. Can you imagine how populated Hell must be? One estimate has concluded that about 108 Billion have walked the earth including today’s population. If most of the 108 Billion are currently in or destined to Hell, one must ponder just how big Hell must be? It likely dwarfed Paradise in size, and currently could take up a massive part of the earth’s interior. Perhaps it is a layered labyrinth of terrors or an open dome-like chamber – we don’t really know.
A quick study of people experiencing near-death events usually has two common destinations. Instances of people descending into a hell-like abode usually all have startling common descriptions:
⦁ it is incredibly dark, ⦁ it is cavernous, ⦁ the journey is downward, ⦁ incredibly hot with a choking arid dryness, ⦁ an acrid putrid stench permeates the air, ⦁ there are almost always harassing demonic members that verbally blaspheme and physically torment in the vilest and extreme ways.
When Jesus died on the cross and descended to the Underworld, every prisoner of Hell must have leaned mightily against the very edges of the abyss. Awe and wonder to see Jesus Christ himself across the gulf interacting with the inhabitants of Paradise for 3 days and 2 nights. Imagine seeing all of our favorite Biblical characters assemble around Christ? Adam, Noah, Moses, David, Job, – finally laying eyes on their Redeemer. On the 3rd day, picturing the damned in Hell observe them leave for a new home even greater than Paradise is actually hard for me to put into words. The Rich man would witness Lazarus for the last time moving to an even greater realm – Heaven – and lament at his actions to him while on earth.
Even worse, other prisoners of Hell would see their saved relatives and friends for the last time. As the last inhabitant left Paradise, the light of Christ surrounding that person probably dimmed the cavernous dome as they ascended upward…..I cannot imagine that silent moment of utter hopelessness as the last one left. Did the light of Paradise dim as Christ ascended upwards with her inhabitants? Alternatively, does it remain an empty but existing realm to this day – were the inhabitants of Hell look over to see a desolate but beautiful place? I have long thought that if History herself could speak, it would say that one of its most devastating moments was when the inhabitants of Hell were left in the dark as Paradise emptied and followed Christ upwards. Prior to Christ, it seems the prisoners of Hell at least had access to the light of Paradise – e.g. the Rich Man could see Abraham from afar. How haunting if that light dimmed as Paradise faded.
Abraham’s Bosom/Paradise – (circa 4,000 BC to 33 AD)
It is incredible that for 4,000 years from Adam’s son Abel to the thief on the Cross, the believers all had a destiny in a temporary place in the Earth. It is said in Luke 16 that Angels carried Lazarus to Abrahams’s Bosom and literally right to Abraham’s side. It would not be farfetched to think this currently happens to this day, that Angels meet us at our last breath here on earth, and subsequently take us for our first breath in Heaven with the Lord. In contrast to the suffering and torture the Rich Man was suffering, the opposite should be said for the inhabitants of Abrahams’s Bosom. They would be in a spiritual state of harmony with God, joyful, experiencing no pain, worry, fear or sin. With all the ancient Biblical characters – from hero’s and leaders to Patriarchs and prophets, together they must have waited in great anticipation for their Redeemer. Long before Christ in the year circa 1800 BC, Job says in Job 19:25:
“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”
It amazes me to think about what they did and spoke of in Paradise. Absent the spiritual body Jesus would later give them upon bringing them up to Heaven to be with God the Father forever, they lived in a spiritual state. After millennia of waiting, a day finally came when the ceiling above them burst with light. Immediately after dying on the Cross, Jesus Christ descended to meet them. The noise on both sides of the Underworld must have been deafening. How incredible to think of, that for 2 nights and 3 days Jesus would be with his children in Paradise – what did they do? What did they speak about? Did he prepare them for the next stage of their existence, one that would take them from the Underworld to an actual place called Heaven directly with God the Father. On the third day Jesus ascended with his flock, and so began the incredible exodus of Paradise upwards into the realm of Heaven.
Coming soon – A Handbook into the Terrifying and Wondrous REALMS of God (PART 2 – Heaven and the Future Realms of God) ⦁ Heaven ⦁ Lake of Fire ⦁ Millennial Kingdom ⦁ New Earth ⦁ New Jerusalem ⦁ New Heavens – Eternity Future
Footnotes: 1) https://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/how-many-people-have-ever-lived-on-planet-earth