by Dean Ohlman
It’s unfortunate that a line from an old church song has created a view that somehow we need to escape the earth: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” The reality the song was referring to was that we should indeed not feel at home in the godless world system that surrounds us. The material earth, however, is not the problem. One of the thrilling promises given to us by Paul is that “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Php. 3:20-21, NIV). This passage speaks of the future when Jesus Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom, which, according to evangelical theologians, will be on this present earth. We will return to earth in our resurrected bodies, but the godless and their godless systems will be gone.
It’s important to remember too that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ provided not only for the salvation of mankind, but also for the refreshment, restoration (Acts 3:18-21), liberation (Rom. 8:21), reunification (Eph. 1:9-10), and reconciliation of the whole creation (Col. 1:20). Our non-human co-worshipers—the stars, the land, the animals, the plants—will share our return to pre-Fall conditions which, as suggested by John Wesley, will likely exceed the glories of the original creation. What remarkable things might be accomplished if we lived on the fallen earth today like we will be expected to live on the restored earth tomorrow?
A semi-regular Q&A series from Dean Ohlman.