Guests: Glen Greenwalt and Gordon Johnson
At the conclusion of our discussions on creation we come full circle — back to creation again, this time of a new heaven and a new earth. Especially are the promises of Rev 21-22 a way of bringing to a successful conclusion of this circle from creation through disaster to creation again.
Relevant Biblical Passages
- Isa 11; 65:17-25; 66: 22-24; Hos 2:16-20; Amos 9:13-15 — the ideal future for Israel
- 1 Cor 15:12-26 — victory of life over death in the renewal of all things
- Phil 3:17-21 — heavenly citizenship and restoration
- 2 Pet 3:11-13 — restoration of new heavens and new earth
- Rev 21-22 — a new heaven and a new earth
Issues for Discussion
The Old Testament is filled with speeches promising better times ahead for an Israel under pressure from surrounding nations and from evil within. In the ideal future things will be better — better, but always earthly. Reading the references provided above in context will demonstrate that Old Testament believers rested their hope in what they could expect from God in an earthly setting — the best their crops could produce, the best health they could imagine, the longest life they could hope for. The idea of life after death only comes late in the Old Testament and God met them where they were and pledged the very best of everything.
Through a kind of “progressive revelation,” the New Testament writers went way beyond the earth as the final place of hope’s dreams. This will not be simply a better farm and family, this will be something totally new, something beyond this world — a newly created heaven and earth. Hope has captured believers with God’s pledge of a whole new creation. Everything will have changed; all will be new.
The Bible begins with the creation of “the heavens and the earth.” It ends with the re-creation of “a new heaven and a new earth.” The story has come full circle; God’s will for this world and its occupants will have been realized.
What Difference Does it Make?
How does all this affect our understanding of and appreciation for creation and the God of creation?