This is the study of cosmology. The Greek word kosmos (cosmos) basically means an orderly arrangement of the created universe, including both its heavenly and earthly realms. Biblical Cosmology focuses on how God and the normally unseen spiritual realm interacts with man and the seen physical realm. Biblical Cosmology attempts to explain how both realms interrelate to each other. Notice the contrast between the invisible things in the heavens and the visible things on the earth mentioned in Col. 1:16:
- “by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
In regard to the visible world of people, it can refer to how we are organized socially, politically, economically, or philosophically into a world order or orderly system, such as the ancient world or the modern world. It can also apply to the unseen realm, such as the angelic world, and can apply to anything which is organized around or associated with some physical, spiritual, or philosophical principle, such as the philosophical world or the religious world.
In the Bible, a predominant meaning of Kosmos is related to the whole creation, including both seen and unseen realms. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). This overarching theme in the Bible of the “heavens and the earth” refers to the whole created world, including everything in both the seen and unseen realms. However, in many contexts, the phrase heavens and earth has the connotation of a world order or orderly arrangement (Gk. kosmos cf. Acts 17:24; Rev 11:15; 13:8; 17:8), or an administration of world affairs (Gk. oikonomia cf. Eph 1:10; 3:9; 1Tim 1:4). In this context, the meaning of the NEW heavens and earth seems to be that the entire world (Gk. kosmos), including both the seen and unseen realms, will operate under a new set of laws or a new covenantal arrangement or administration (Gk. oikonomia).
The word kosmos can also refer to just one part of the heavens and earth. For instance, in John 18:36, Jesus says: “My kingdom is not of this world [Gk. kosmos]. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (NKJV)
Here, the word kosmos is applied only to the visible earthly realm (“the world below”), and not to the heavenly realm (“the world above”) from where Christ’s Kingdom actually comes. His Kingdom is a new arrangement of the universe, both in the unseen realm of heaven and in the seen realm on earth. The invisible realities of His Kingdom emanates in the unseen realm from heaven, and manifests itself on earth through the visible Church. The New Heavens and Earth is a new government (Kingdom) and new world order of things both in the SEEN and UNSEEN realms, based on the redemptive work of Christ. The old arrangement of the world, which was based on the sacrificial system (instituted since the fall in the garden where the Lord Himself slayed the first animal to cloth Adam and Eve), passed away, and Christ’s new world order (kosmos) or administration (oikonomia) was set up.
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 3b Matt. 16:27-28 (sub study on “Heaven and Earth”)”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 9 Rev. Chapter 21”]