Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Creation and Christian Mission

We say a lady is “a new woman” when
she has had her hair made over and
put on a new dress.
If God is planning to create a new heavens and a new earth, then what’s the point of laboring for new creation now? After all, I wouldn’t give my Ford an oil change today if I’m planning to take it to the junk yard tomorrow and buy a Dodge? So what’s the point of planting trees or working to clean up pollution, not to mention our cultural endeavors, if God is just going to start over?

The problem with this question is that it assumes the work we do in the present age is not going to last for eternity. But Saint Paul describes our work as enduring (1 Corinthians 3:14) and he says it is “not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15.58) Moreover, we know from elsewhere in Scripture that there is an organic continuity between what happens in this age, on the one hand, and the age to come, on the other. Thus, the relationship between the present age and the age to come is not like the relationship between a Ford and a Dodge; it’s more like an old beaten up Ford compared to the same car after it’s been renovated and renewed.

Because of this, we shouldn’t think of the new heavens and the new earth as being completely new. C.S. Lewis gets it right in The Last Battle when he describes the heavenly Narnia being built on the template of the original Narnia. The “new earth” described in Revelation 21 will be new only in the sense that we say a lady is “a new woman” when she has had her hair made over and put on a new dress.

To read more about this, visit my Colson Center article, 'Building For God's Kingdom' and 'Dispensationalism and the problem of Multi-generational parenting.'


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