What does the lawyer mean by "exchange heaven for earth" in "The Bet"?

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At the end of the fifteen years of his solitary confinement during which he has read extensively on many subjects, the lawyer concludes that he does not understand those who have placed undue importance upon earthly things and given up heaven and spirituality for these mundane and illusory values.

At the end of the fifteen years of his confinement, the lawyer writes a letter in which he expresses his disappointment in what life offers. He writes that he has learned much from his vicarious experiences of reading many books:

I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mount Blanc, and from there I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns.... I have touched wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God....In your books I have performed miracles..., conquered whole kingdoms....

But, after his extensive reading, the lawyer rejects what he feels is mere illusion and deception. For, the wisdom and knowledge and history of the world become mere dust, after all. Nothing endures, so life is empty. Because life is so empty, the lawyer has lost his idealism and he writes that he will renounce the two million rubles "which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise."

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