ON EARTH AS IT IS ON HEAVEN
What is it about The Bible that lets us know it’s more than just a nice story with a happy ending? Isn’t it supposed to
demonstrate that God is in control, and that because He’s in control, He can be trusted to keep His promises to
But what if there really is tangible evidence of God’s control over history? And what if that evidence shows that
God never ceased controlling human history, just because we’re told the curtain dropped after those final acts in the
days of The New Testament?
And if there really is evidence like that, then what would we call the book that told the story of that evidence? No
doubt, it would be called On Earth as It is On Heaven: The Promise of America, Technology, and the New Earth.
This is that book, and this is that story.
The story contained in this book, On Earth as It is On Heaven, begins by our asking: What connects
America, technology, and the New Earth, en route to explaining how all three fall under the heading of
things said to be “on” Heaven rather than “in” Heaven?
It is a story that involves a God Who is more concerned with those who cooperate with His still, small
voice than those who expect Him to split the sea at every turn with a blast of His nostrils. So, while the
Israelites of old saw the parting of the Red Sea yet failed to trust God ever after, in the case of America,
the New World would be established by a people who were content with God’s word leading them, with
neither fanfare nor notoriety, by way of a hidden path in the sea.
For Christopher Columbus that leading came to him in 1492 when, on his first voyage of discovery, his
crew warned him that if they continued one more day on their present course, he’d have a mutiny on his
hands. But nothing could change Columbus’ sense of destiny, nothing could erase the knowledge of God’s
inspired words that kept him on course. As he recorded in his journal on more than one occasion, the
words of Scripture beckoned him onward:
Listen to me, oh coastlands, and pay attention, you distant peoples. The Lord called me from the womb; from
the body of my mother He named me...
He said to me, “You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will display My glory. I will also make you a light
for the nations, to bring My salvation to the ends of the Earth.”
Isaiah 49:1, 3, 6
And for the Puritans, who were being increasingly targeted by the Anglican Church in England, which
relentlessly sought to destroy their growing movement, God’s word shined a light of hope on their
predicament that they couldn’t help but apply to themselves.
“Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; I’ll bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. I’ll
say to the north: Give them up! and to the south: Don’t hold them back! Bring My sons from afar, and My
daughters from the ends of the Earth...
“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may
consider and believe Me and understand that I am He...
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, and your King.” So says the Lord Who makes a way
in the sea and a path through the surging waters...
“Forget the former things; pay no attention to the things of old. Watch as I do something new; even now
it’s coming. Don’t you see it? Indeed, I’ll make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:5-6, 15-16, 18-19
What’s more, the technological advances that occurred in Europe leading up to the discovery of
America—particularly with Gutenberg’s printing press in 1440—were such that all the forces occurring at
the time would set the stage for all that followed.
With the Reformation and Renaissance came a greater sense of individualism just as a number of other
societal forces came on line to empower those individuals who previously could never hope to break free
from centuries of collectivist, institutional control. At the same time, nation-states like England, France,
Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands were suddenly able to take full advantage of the technological
advances in shipbuilding. And that meant not only could a handful of European monarchs finance a series
of ambitious oversea excursions, but a group of bold voyagers could also rise to new levels of exploration
with the aid of devices like the astrolabe and the sextant, which in turn opened up new horizons of the sea.
It also meant that at just the right moment in history, this newfound sense of individuality, which had
been percolating for many centuries, would intersect with that other personality trait so germane to
biblical history, that of the outsider, as it pertains to the life of every chosen one of God. And that meant,
the world no longer consisted of a scattered, disarrayed band of outsiders but, rather, consisted of a whole
generation of outsiders who were, all at once, ready to make their mark in the world—a world that was
never the same again in the wake of their response to the call of God.