Not everyone likes cities. Given the problems often associated with urban settings, some of this distaste is understandable. Famed architect Christopher Alexander has written about his imagining of the new heavenly city in his book The Timeless Way of Building. In it he describes a city worth living in:
Almost everybody feels at peace with nature: listening to the ocean waves against the shore, by a still lake, in a field of grass, on a windblown heath. One day, when we have learned the timeless way again, we shall feel the same about our towns, and we shall feel as much at peace in them, as we do today walking by the ocean, or stretched out in the long grass of a meadow.
In recent years architects have worked to make cities more inspiring by the creation of “great buildings¼ beautiful places, where you feel yourself, places where you feel alive,” in Alexander’s words. Certainly a noble goal of bringing utility and aesthetics together.
There is a place where this will be done to perfection. Isaiah’s vision was of a perfect city and a perfect society coming together:
Pay close attention now:
I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I’ll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people: No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish; no more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don’t enjoy a full lifetime; one-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal―anything less will seem like a cheat. They’ll build houses and move in. They’ll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, no more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, for my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won’t work and have nothing come of it, they won’t have children snatched out from under them. For they themselves are plantings blessed by God, with their children and grandchildren likewise God-blessed. Before they call out, I’ll answer. Before they’ve finished speaking, I’ll have heard. Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow, lion and ox eat straw from the same trough¼ Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill anywhere on my Holy Mountain,” says God.
― Isaiah 65:17-25, The Message
Can you imagine such a place? Get ready - it’s coming (Rev. 21:1-5).