By J. Richard Middleton
Lately, increasingly more Christians have come to understand the Bible's instructing that the last word blessed wish for the believer isn't an otherworldly heaven; as a substitute, it really is full-bodied participation in a brand new heaven and a brand new earth introduced into fullness throughout the coming of God's state. Drawing at the complete sweep of the biblical narrative, J. Richard Middleton unpacks key outdated testomony and New testomony texts to make a case for the recent earth because the applicable Christian desire. He indicates its moral and ecclesial implications, exploring the variation a holistic eschatology could make for residing in a damaged global.
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Extra resources for A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology
31 Later, in the Christian era, it led to the idea of dwelling with God (in a resurrected body) in the heavens (located above and beyond the earth). â•¯Aristotle’s view of the relationship of soul and body is articulated most clearly in DeÂ€anima. “Form” is a technical term in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle for universal concepts or “ideas,” understood as the unifying factor in material things. Whereas Plato thought that these forms existed independently of the physical world (but were embodied in this world), Aristotle thought that they had no independent existence.
Not only is each stage of this creative process judged by God to be “good” (vv. Â€31). By these statements scattered throughout GenesisÂ€1, the creator affirms not only his evident pleasure in the world he is making, but also the validity and goodness of creaturely existence itself. Thus the human use of power, if it is to truly image the biblical God, will be nonviolent and developmental, enhancing and celebrating the goodness of creation. Power is for the blessing of others. God’s care for creation in GenesisÂ€1 is evident also from the way the text dissents from ancient Near Eastern religious practice, in which sacrifices were understood as providing food for the gods and were thought necessary to guarantee fertility of crops and flocks on earth.
We might therefore wonder why IsaiahÂ€66 does not likewise portray the entire earth as filled with God’s presence, if it was indeed meant to be his cosmic sanctuary. Why does God dwell in heaven, with the earth being no more than his footstool? Here we have to reckon, of course, with the presence of sin, our culpable mismanagement of our human calling. But it is not that human sin has driven God’s presence out from earthly life. That is too simplistic. Rather, we need a more developmental interpretation that fits the creation accounts in the Bible.