This sermon is part five of the ‘Creation Matters’ series, and looks particularly at God’s promised new creation, drawing out some of the implications of this for our attitude towards the planet now. It is based on chapter 5 of ‘Planetwise’ by Dave Bookless.
God’s promised future is not of a spiritual ‘heaven’ that transcends the physical, but rather heaven come to earth. The whole planet will be renewed and restored, and God’s promised future is one the we will enjoy physically.
Creation Made Right
When the Old Testament prophets spoke of the future, they looked to a time beyond God’s judgment when the world would experience social and ecological harmony. Hosea 2:16-23 speaks of harmony in nations, in families and in nature. Isaiah 11 and 65 offer a similar vision. The relationships between people, God and the rest of creation, which were broken at the fall will now be restored once again.
Jesus spoke of something similar when he taught about the kingdom of God. At the moment the kingdom is both now and not yet, but they day will come when the kingdom is here in all its fulness. In his teaching, his compassion and his miracles Jesus showed something of what this kingdom is like. Sins are forgiven, the sick are healed, demons are cast out, self-worth is restored to the poor and creation’s storms are calmed.
Renewed Not Destroyed
When the Bible talks about making all things new, the idea is not that the old will be thrown out and replaced, but rather that there will be continuity and that the old will be healed, restored and transformed. This is not a minor makeover that papers over the cracks but a complete remaking of the earth, and this is the reason for our ultimate hope for creation.
The story that started in a garden ends in a garden city – and the parallels are striking. We are meant to see Eden restored and expanded. The harmonious blending of God’s creation with the best of human creativity, the curse defeated and relationships perfectly restored.