Have we really listened to what he said about the Age to Come?

The Apostle Peter left no doubt about what he was hoping for when  he wrote a final message of encouragement near the end of his life: ” …We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter3).

But the Apostle who wrote the great “resurrection” chapter of the Bible is not quite so clear about the “new earth”. He gives us his vision in pieces in his various letters such as when he says of creation: “The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8).

For Saint Paul, the new earth is the whole accomplishment of the redemptive work of God in Christ. He actually says very little about “heaven” as it is commonly understood by many Christians today.

“The passages where Paul’s thought climbs to its most stupendous heights and reaches a climax are those in which he speaks of Jesus as the origin and the goal of all creation. Believers have always found, in the words of Professor Strachan, that ‘it is impossible for a Christian who thinks at all to have Christ in his heart and to keep Him out of the universe’.

“The one whose own life has suddenly leapt into meaning beneath the touch of Jesus, who has seen his own experience transformed from a chaos into a cosmos by some never-to-be-forgotten Damascus encounter, has a right to claim that he has found the clue to the riddle of life and destiny.”

“The fact of Christ is the key to the meaning of the universe; and Christian experience will never consent to be robbed of the conviction that the Redeemer who has shown Himself of absolute and final worth in the experience of the individual soul must be ablsolute and final all along the line of God’s creation.” ( A Man in Christ:the Vital Elements of St.Paul’s Religion, 1935, by James S.Stewart)

kosmos

These thoughts come in the middle of some of those passages scattered through Paul’s letters and it would be too cumbersome to include them all here. The point is Paul was not silent about the future state of life on earth in God’s plan of redemption and if we make the biblical narrative our guide book rather that tradition, folk religion, or anything else, we get a glimpse of what awaits us. For instance, the First Epistle to the Corinthian Church is full of such things, here is just one sample:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him”

The Spirit of Paul and this post is captured on YouTube, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name“.

 

Advertisements