Will There Be No More Sunrises or Sunsets on the New Earth?
Some people wonder, “If the New Earth will be full of the light of God, does that mean we won’t see any more sunrises and sunsets?” Do you love sunrises and sunsets? Are you disappointed to think you might not see any again? Our sun is one of countless billions of suns. I think we’ll see many more sunrises and sunsets, on many worlds. And when we’re watching one of those spectacular sunrises, I don’t think we’ll wonder, What am I missing?
Revelation 22:5 says, “There will be no more night.” Some people believe this is figurative, speaking of the moral perfection of the New Earth. Darkness is associated with crime, evil done under cover of night. Darkness is synonymous with distressed travelers unable to find their way. Prostitution, drunkenness, and idol worship often happened at night. In the modern era of electric lights, it’s difficult to understand the utter dread of traveling in the dark and the threat of being locked out of the city gates that would close at night to prevent robbers, bands of marauders, or enemy soldiers from invading a city. To be outside the city at night was to be exceedingly vulnerable. This will no longer be.
Yet darkness isn’t evil—God created it before the Fall (Genesis 1:5). Night is also associated with positive things: time with family after a hard day’s work, opportunity to talk, rest, have dinner with loved ones, read Scripture, and pray.
Because God created the first celestial heavens to display His glory (Psalm 19:1), when He makes the new celestial heavens, they will perform this mission even better. That means we’ll have to be able to see them. If that requires darkness, as it does now, then darkness we will have, if not on Earth, then somewhere from which we can behold God’s glory in the new heavens.
I’m speculating, but I don’t believe these passages demand constant and unvarying brightness, certainly not outside the New Jerusalem. There may be diffused light or twilight, without total darkness. Light may be constant in the Holy City but not necessarily in the cities and countries outside the city gates.
To view the new heavens, we might travel to the far side of the moon and other places where stargazing is unhindered by light and atmospheric distortion. Imagine the quality of telescopes that redeemed minds will design and build. We may be able to visit innumerable planets from which the wonders of the night sky can be viewed to the praise and glory of God.
How will our eyes be able to tolerate the bright light of the New Jerusalem? Our new bodies will be stronger than our present ones. We’ll be designed for our highest purpose, to see God’s face—brighter than the sun—without being blinded. Rather than turn away from that Light, we’ll be drawn to it.