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Kurt Willems' Blog at Patheos
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Rob Bell gets this right! I’ve preached about the new creation connections to John 20. It seems we both read NT Wright
I’ve watched the whole thing and it is SSOOOOOO good! I can’t wait to finish the other parts to the seminar.
I like this thinking…but it does seem to me that there is a lot of scripture that tells us of the destruction of the old creation and THEN, the coming of the new one. We are to live as if we lived in the New Creation right now, but it is not yet complete. It is not like evolution, we get better and better. There is a total end to the old creation.
@9ba96084aa1cbba6e2f323127f28a476:disqus … I used to agree with you. However, the biblical text does not speak of the destruction of this world but rather of the renewal. If you are interested, I think this article I wrote will catch you up on where Rob Bell and myself (and many others) are coming from on this issue of [re]new[ed] creation: http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/publications/mb_herald/december_2011/features/passin_through/
You chop Revelation 21:1-4 up to little pieces and look at the parts out of order and somehow manage to completely gloss over this part of Rev. 21.1, “for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” which harkens Isaiah 65:17, “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” So while I’m not sure that it invalidates your larger point, it’s wrong to say that the bible doesn’t speak of the destruction of the world.
2 cor 5.17: “17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
@671e3eae3e90ae08c3a2f1bd39e8dc7d:disqus … did you literally “pass away” when you became “in Christ?” Hhhmmmm….
Also, here’s an excerpt from an old paper I wrote on the subject in college…
Although the implications of destroying the current cosmos seem apparent, many commentators hold that a literal destruction of the universe will take place, and that earth as we know it will be replaced. Anthony Hoekema points out that many Lutheran theologians “favor the concept of the annihilation of the present cosmos and of a complete discontinuity between the old earth and the new.” G.R. Beasley-Murray believes that because there will no longer be a sea in the new earth, that John is clearly indicating that it will be completely separate from the original creation project. Another popular view of this passage has been to spiritualize it and make the case that the new heaven and new earth are non-physical. The Tyndale New Testament Commentary on Revelation makes the claim that John did not see the new earth as physical in a classical sense, but rather he was concerned about the spiritual. Some commentators spiritualize the passage to demonstrate life in heaven; while others view the New Jerusalem as the church in its present form. In light of these perspectives, the only option that makes sense within the redemptive history of God is that of continuity. Anthony Hoekema gives another reason why this must be true:
If God would have to annihilate the present cosmos, Satan would have won a great victory. For then Satan would have succeeded in so devastatingly corrupting the present cosmos and the present earth that God could do nothing with it but to blot it totally out of existence. But Satan did not win such a victory. On the contrary, Satan has been decisively defeated. God will reveal the full dimensions of that defeat when he shall renew this very earth on which Satan deceived mankind and finally banish from it all the results of Satan’s evil machinations.
Another issue that is raised about continuity is the usage of the word “new.” The word neos in Greek means new in origin or time, whereas the word kainos means new in nature or quality. Kainos, being the form of “new” that is used in the passage (as well as it’s parallel in 2 Peter 3:13), reflects that the new heaven and new earth will be a transformation of, and in continuity with the world of original creation. Revelation 3:21 explains that “the dwelling of God is with men;” meaning that the presence of God on the earth will be the transformative agent through which the world is renewed.
Hoekema, Anthony A., The Bible and the Future, 280.
G. R. Beasley-Murray, Revelation, reprinted ed. The New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1983), 307.
Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John, Reprint ed. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980), 242.
Revelation: Four Views, A Parallel Commentary, 485.
Hoekema, Anthony A., The Bible and the Future, 281.
Holy Bible, New International Version, Revelation 21:3.
Finger, Creation and the Environment: An Anabaptist Perspective on a Sustainable World, 169.
Kurt, As I said, I’m not sure if it invalidates your point, but the fact remains that the bible does speak of the world being destroyed. In your rebuttal, you use the qualifier “literal” in some places. This is because while you can say the destuction is not literal, you can’t really say the bible does not speak of the earth’s destruction. I think this would have been a better response to Marla. Anyway, like I said I’m not sure that you are wrong, though I’m still not sure youa re right either. Thanks for the thoughts; they are interesting. You are a very good writer and based on the volume of stuff you post, I assume it comes naturally for you. But I’m not generally moved by the number of people who agree with you on any given subject because throughout history we can find lots of people who will agree with us regardless of what position we take on an issue. Frankly, you strike me as more intelleigent that many of the people you quote. Still, it is interesting to see what people have said in the past so thanks again for the interesting post. Sorry, but there is one thing, I feel compelled to strongly object to, this quote: “If God would have to annihilate the present cosmos, Satan would have won a great victory.” I know you aren’t the one who said this, but this is not a good comment. Surely, it is at least possible that you and these other scholars are wrong on this issue. If so, does anyone really want to be standing before God after the old earth has been destroyed remembering the time they said that if that happened it would be a victory for Satan? Thanks again
Some great points in your paper Kurt. I would also point out that the use of “passed away” is very much connected to the idea of our “childish ways” ways passing away. The bible uses these ways of speaking, not as in a death of things, but more of a movement from one way, or as you pointed out, “nature”, to another. Time moves much in the same way. We do not have a death of time, simply because we call it the “past”. Just something I though of in this conversation.
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