No, I haven't gone all Disney. This issue has come up again in some of my classes this week. Is the new creation a totally 'new' creation (i.e. God throws this one in the bin and gets a new one 'off the shelf' to take its place so to speak) or is it this creation but (perhaps radically) renewed?
I for one am convinced it's 'renewed' rather than totally discontinuous from this one. And the clincher passage is probably Romans 8: 19-21
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
This creation, the same creation that was put in bondage to decay when humanity fell, will be liberated from that bondage and enjoy all the glory of being governed, tended, inhabited by God's resurrected children. I don't know about you, but being annihilated and replaced doesn't sound too much like a liberation to me!
I'll maybe try and post some more on this over the next few days. It might not seem it at first, but I think this is quite an important thing to get clear on.