First, we need to be clear that God has promised to create a world like that. It is called the New Earth. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (Revelation 21:1). The first earth is now. It is the earth that is full of sin. The New Earth will be a perfect earth. Think of the life in the Garden of Eden before the fall. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
With that said why must there be a First Earth and Second Earth? Why not just start with the New Earth?
One way you can answer this question is that it is God’s purpose. Isaiah 46:9-10 says, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” The reason there is a world full of sin is because God wills it to be. He wills his image bearers to reject his authority and rebel against him. But does this solve the mystery?
In Ephesians 1:7-9 we see God speak again about His purposes and this is what it says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
The mystery of God’s purpose is displayed in Christ. So what does Christ display?
Verse 7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” In Christ dying for us we see the riches of God’s grace. Let us now say it in the negative. Without Christ dying for us we cannot see the riches of God’s grace.
Therefore, the purpose of God in the allowance of the First Earth (now) is to create a stage by which He can display to us, through Jesus, his abundant grace. Without sin, then there is no need for Christ to die. Without the death of Christ, we do not see God’s grace. Without seeing God’s grace, we do not see God, for God is a God rich in grace. If God is a God of grace, the only way to display that attribute is to create a world where grace is needed.
Perhaps it would help to think of an artist. An artist expresses himself through his work. His creation speaks about himself. This is what the first Earth is in a sense. It is the expression of God. He is putting forth who He is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I believe this is what is being said in Matthew 26:39 when Jesus was speaking with his father the night of his arrest, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” God did not let this cup pass (the crucifixion). Why? It was not possible, for it was his will for Christ to be the radiance of His glorious grace.