It has taken me longer than expected to look up all the Scripture passages that refer to heaven and to organize the information. I apologize for the delay, but I finally feel like I’m able to synthesize the info in my brain and figure out a way to express it. So here’s the first of several posts . . .
As I am sure you are well aware, the first occurrence of the word “heaven” is in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The first and second chapters of Genesis describe how God created space, air, the clouds, sun, moon, stars, the earth, and every creature in the air and on the earth. Genesis 2:1-4 says,
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created,in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
Many other Scripture passages describe God as the creator of heaven and earth, but here are only a few that stood out to me for various reasons.
I like this description of God building the heavens and earth like a master carpenter.
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Psalm 102:25)
These verses express God’s grandeur and power as the creator.
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.” (Isaiah 37:16)
“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
16When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. (Jeremiah 51:15-16)
Psalm 115:15-16 shows that God is the ruler over both heaven and earth, but He has given earth to mankind.
15May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth!
16The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to the children of man.
The Psalms present beautiful and powerful pictures of God’s transcendence, His great authority and rule from His throne in heaven, as well as His immanence, His willingness to listen to the cries of His followers and His nearness to them during times of trouble. Psalm 121:2 is a good example of this connection.
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
The following verses continue the same theme.
May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth! (Psalm 134:3)
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry. (Psalm 146:5-7)
8He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry. (Psalm 147:8-9)
In this sermon, Paul shows the Creator’s continued interaction with humanity and His care for His creation. The Lycaonians tried to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods, but Paul deflected the praise and pointed to the one, true God.
“Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men,of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17)
And finally, I include this long section from Acts 17. Paul expertly connects writings from pagan poets to the scriptures and shows the immanence of the Creator God and a proper response to Him. This passage also shows two common reactions to these truths, mockery and belief.
22So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription,’To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth,does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead,some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33So Paul went out from their midst. 34But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:22-34)