Isaiah 65:17

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

My literal interpretation

This verse seems pretty straightforward: A promise that everything will be made new and the old stuff forgotten.

Initial thoughts

I just have a few questions about the wording. Is there more than one heaven? It says “heavens”, but when I have heard religious people discussing the ides, they usually just talk about one heaven or paradise. Or are there different levels of heaven like levels of hell in Dante’s Inferno? Will there also be new versions of the other planets or just Earth? Or does the “earth” refer to the ground and the “heavens” refers to the sky (or skies, like night sky and morning sky)? I suppose if the heavens refers to everything in the sky, then the other planets would be new as well.

What is the difference between remembering something and it coming to mind? I feel like that is redundant phrasing.

Other translations

Most of the English translations pretty much keep the same wording, except some use “behold” at the beginning instead of “see”. The Message Bible, though, it adding quite a bit of detail to the “former things”. It defines those to be “earlier troubles, chaos, and pain.” That makes me wonder, are the things that will not be remembered just the bad situations or will it be full-on amnesia of everything? If literally everything will be forgotten, then we will not have the ability to have learned from our mistakes that we made before this renewal process.

In the German translations, both use “einen neuen Himmel”, meaning a new heaven. Several of the English translations state the plural “new heavens”, but some do give the singular. So, will there be multiple heavens or just one? 

The Luther Bible ends the verse with “zu Herzen nehmen” (take to heart). A couple of the English translations also swap out the mind for the heart. I understand that there are many expressions relating the heart to thinking and feeling. It just seems to me that an omniscient being would have known which body part we use to store and retrieve memories and would have inspired the biblical scribes to jot down the correct organ.

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