Sunday, February 11, 2007

No More Sea: Sunday Theology

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Revelation 21:1

Approximately 70% of our planet is covered by water. Oceans, seas, lakes, rivers. We are called The Blue Planet of the solar system due to our abundance of water. Without it, our planet would likely be desolate and barren. Water and the need for it affects everyone on earth. In countries in Africa there is a huge shortage of clean water. Seems so helpless when so much of the earth is covered in salt water.

What would the earth be like without our oceans? Would it become a great desert, with miles and miles of sand? Would the lakes and rivers have anywhere to go? What would sustain the greeness on our planet?

I have been curiously pondering this verse in Revelation 21:1 today. When the earth is renewed after the 1000 year reign, what does it mean by "there was no more sea"? I don't understand so I thought I would dig a bit to see what theologians had to say about this. What I found mostly, was that theologians focus on the first half of the verse, interpreting what the 'new heaven and new earth' would be and many of them seem to ignore that 'no more sea' part in their interpretations

However, I did find some information, mostly taken from the site Blue Letter Bible which offers several commentaries on most verses in the Bible

Some theologians interpret this literally, as it is. The oceans will be gone so that there is more landmass to house the redeemed from all the ages and they are free to spread out over the entire earth.

Another interpretation deems the sea as a representation of "perpetual unrest" so the absence of the sea would mean the presence of peace.

Another theologian, David Guzik, says that "To the Jewish mind, the sea was a place of separation and evil... the source of the satanic beast... and the place of the dead." so perhaps he means the absence of the sea then would be the absence of evil and death.

I found an interesting interpretation on a website of commentaries called Divine Plan that said this "the sea is a symbol for the masses of people in a restless and unstable anarchistic condition, just as the land represents the social order, and as the mountains represent the kingdoms of the present time. As there is no reference to the physical earth and physical heavens being destroyed, so there is no reference to the physical sea being obliterated. The symbol signifies that under the new arrangement, under the control of the new heavens or spiritual powers, the reconstructed social order will be so satisfactory, so complete, so thorough, that there will be no more sea-class, no more restless people, no more dissatisfaction, no more anarchists; everything will be reduced to law and order; and law and order will under the new regime secure justice to every creature, obliterating the differences of wealth and power as they now exist." Interesting, no? Click here if you want to read more from this same line of interpretation.

Well, I've found interpretations for both physical absence of the sea and metaphorical for this particular verse. I'm sure there are countless more commentaries to be read as Revelation is a book that has fascinated theologians for centuries. I'm not sure which interpretation I would prefer. I love the beauty and vastness of the oceans on our planet. But I also believe God could continue to sustain our world without the enormous quantity of water. Another thought that will, for now, remain a mystery to me until that time comes to pass.

Have you got an opinion of this verse? Please share it with me!


  1. I don't have an opinion of the verse right now but I think I might later give it some thought. Throughout the Bible there are verses that we do not understand. Some people believe that in cases like that, we were not meant to understand it... Now, to me, that's a bit of a copout. If God gave it to us then we should be able to make sense of it. I will give it some thought.

  2. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Becky, very interesting thoughts. My wife found this article on the subject which I think you will find interesting as well. Leon.

  3. Dave - I like topics that cause me to think & dig a bit, even if the answer isn't obvious.

    Leon - great article. Surmises my thoughts & hope. That would be so awesome to be able to swim underwater sans scuba gear one day! I'm surprised I didn't come across it cuz I'm a big fan of Randy Alcorn. Thanks for the link!