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Shall we eat desert first? Revelation before Genesis?

The last book of the Bible, Revelation, promises a new heaven and a new earth. This new reality will transform, yet preserve, the entire history of cosmic creation. What God did at the beginning to draw the physical world from nonbeing into being, along with God’s continuous sustaining of the natural order during its period of self-organization, will be taken up into the consummate new creation. God’s creative activity within nature and within human history is derivative from his eschatological act of redeeming the whole of the cosmos. Where we find ourselves today is looking back to alpha, to creatio ex nihilo, and looking forward to omega, the new creation ex vetere, out of what has come before. The new creation will emerge from what God’s Spirit does to the present creation.

We believe the new creation will be a physical creation, even if it is pervaded by the divine Spirit. Think about what passages such as this could mean. “Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Is the Bible for real? If it is, then what does this mean? That’s what we’re trying to picture here.

The violence, suffering, and death so inescapable in Darwin ’s world will become only a past memory. This is the component of redemption in the new creation. What we have accepted as the laws of nature to date will have to undergo modification. Exactly how the laws of nature could be modified to eliminate the suffering of sentient beings is difficult for our scientifically informed imaginations to conceive, because now we only see through a mirror dimly. Yet, nothing short of this is the divine promise. Figuring out how to accomplish it will be up to God’s imagination.

Email link | Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters

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