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Continuance into the New Earth and Heavens

Are all our works, which we undertake in this life, brought to nought, or do some continue into the next life of the New Earth and Heavens? Will it all be 'burned up'?

In I Corinthians 3, Paul writes about that which is built of gold, silver and precious stones continuing through the fire. That which is built of wood, hay and stubble is burned up. He is talking about how we build on the foundation of Christ.

I believe that some of what we do that is of good spiritual quality will continue into the New Earth and Heavens. So, what we do here and now is of eternal value, not just in terms of saving souls, but in terms of, for example:

that human beings generate. But they will be completed and given life and glorified.

Wood, Hay, Stubble?

What might the "wood, hay, stubble" be? Let us suppose our building on the foundation that is Christ is (a) forming a theological doctrine, (b) developing a technology to help the poor, (c) building a society for some good purpose, such as a charity, a church, a learned institution or a business, (d) writing a play or a website or video about the life of a missionary, (e) other things we do in ordinary life. Whatever the project or calling is that we seek to fulfil, various aspects cut across it.

For example, do we these with an attitude of hoping for self-promotion, for recognition? Is there, even ever so slightly, a glee about the money we make, or the number of Likes we get, or the number of people who Follow or Subscribe to our video?

Do we just slightly 'cut corners' in order to achieve what we are doing? Do we ignore the rightful needs others in far-flung lands as we pursue our goal? Do we deny our children some of what is rightfully theirs of our time, attention, love, affection, and care? Do we delay paying any debts we owe in order to do that little bit more of our project?

Do we allow our project to become a surrogate for Christ, and begin to devote ourselves to it more than to Him? Do we become annoyed when people interrupt it - a sure sign that we are doing so? Do we even begin to take sides, seeing our project as (part of) a war against an opposite camp?

If so, or anything like these, then what we are building on the foundation of Christ will be burned up. It will not last.

Gold, Silver, Precious Stones

What then is the "gold, silver, precious stones"? The examples I gave above are all sins of attitude. They dysfunctions in various Creational aspects (or, put it in Christian jargon, sins against their laws, which God has put into Creation). There are others too.

They happen to be, respectively, what Dooyeweerd called the ethical, juridical and faith or "pistic" aspects; I just used my knowledge of them to provide three different sets of examples, and we don't need to worry whether they are precisely correct or not.

More generally, the way I see it is: the "wood, hay stubble" is when we go against any the laws of any aspect of God's Creation. God's Creational laws still pertain, but they just work against us if we flout them, so our projects fail or at least do not flourish.

Conversely, insofar as we operate in line with the laws of every aspect that God has ordained, then our work will flourish. We might note that the Mosaic Laws (Torah) cover many aspects of life, and are intended to point to what generates shalom. I see the Creational aspects as continuing into the Next Life, the Real Life to Come, even though (as suggested below) they might be enriched and augmented with other aspects.

So, by "gold, silver, precious stones" I understand what is achieved by us in this life by good functioning in the various aspects, especially in the depths of our hearts. In my faith aspect, for example, do I always have Christ on the throne? In my ethical aspect, am I devoid of selfish ambition, self-centredness, self-protection? In my juridical aspect, am I always aware of what is due to all in Creation, especially the poor of the world, and the non-human Creation, of which "God made us shepherds" at Creation?

Or, to put these in words of the Beattitudes, Am I "meek" like Moses was and as Jesus said of those who would "inherit the Earth"? Am I "poor" in spirit and also in my lifestyle aspirations? Do I "hunger and thirst for rigtheousness?" Remember that righteousness is combined with justice in both Hebrew and Greek: tsedeq, dikiasune: "right relationships among all things of the Created order."

Entities or Aspects?

J.R.R.Tolkien explored this theme in his little book Leaf By Niggle. A small-time amateur artist attempts to paint a leaf on a tree as perfectly as he could. When he arrives in the New Earth, he finds his leaf and indeed entire tree fully formed and living. (See Leaf by Niggle, J.R.R. Tolkien.) That is, an entity of this life continues into the Next but is enriched.

So did C.S. Lewis. In The Great Divorce there are grass and water and sunlight. But they are much more substantial than those we find here. Even the water and sunlight are *solid*.

There is a difference between Tolkien and Lewis: In Tolkien, it is entities of this life that continues and is enriched; in Lewis it is physicality as such that continues and is enriched - that is an aspect, a sphere of meaningfulness. Maybe each of the aspects of life we experience here and now will be enriched - such as quantity, space, movement, physicality, biological life, mentality, logic, technology, language, relationships, economics, aesthetics, law, love and vision. And there may be yet other aspects of which we are totally unable to conceive.

Dooyeweerd has a useful take that combines both. Entities, he maintained, gain their very existence because of profiles of aspects in which they are meaningful. For example a plant is a plant by virtue of the biotic aspect and is founded in the physical aspect. A pen is a pen by virtue of the lingual aspect, but it is also manufactured (formative aspect), and it works by the physical and kinematic processes of ink flow.

The important thing for Continuance is that the entity or institution or theory or whatever is formed by good functioning in all aspects, rather than going against their laws, and especially those of the three aspects of attitude: juridical, ethical and faith.

See Also

See also the page on What Will 'Heaven' be Like? for deeper discussion of Continuance.

This page, URL= "", is part of the on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology and practice that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome by emailing

Compiled by Andrew Basden as part of his reflections from a Christian perspective. Copyright (c) Andrew Basden to latest date below, but you may use this material for almost any purpose, but subject to certain conditions.

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Created: 8 July 2012. Last updated: 20 May 2022 what are wood, hay, stubble, gold, silver, precious stones; aspects; new .end, .nav (was unet!)