The Great Reset Is Coming!
There is much talk about a “great Reset” these days. If you don’t know what that is, look it up on the internet but be sure to read (or watch on Youtube) a reliable expositor of this proposal by members of the World Economic Forum. I am still researching the proposal. But this blog post is NOT about THAT. It’s about a basic Christian belief about the future.
“The Great Reset” could be a term for what the Bible teaches about the future of the world, but according to the Bible and Christian tradition it is GOD who is going to achieve it, not humanity. We can anticipate it—both subjectively and objectively (with social change)—but only God can really reset creation and he has promised to do it.
One basic biblical promise about this is found in Romans, chapter 8, where the Apostle Paul talks about a future time when creation will be liberated from bondage to decay. Another one is Revelation 20 where the author, presumably the Apostle John, talks about a future time when Satan will be bound and unable to tempt anymore. Another one is Isaiah 65 where the prophet talks about a future “new heaven and new earth” which, by its description, really refers there to a messianic kingdom on earth when a person who dies younger than one hundred years old will be thought to have died young.
Throughout the Bible and throughout Christian history the promise of a future Great Reset is loudly proclaimed even if not described in as much detail as we might wish. If it’s an earthly millennial reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years, as many of the church fathers believed, then it will be a time of peace and justice, the “peaceable kingdom” when swords will be beaten into plowshares and the lion will lie down with the lamb—images of peace and prosperity.
If it is a union of heaven and earth beyond history as we know it, following immediately after Christ’s return, then, still, it will be a Great Reset of everything but here—on this earth—healed of its brokenness. A heaven on earth as N. T. Wright describes it in Surprised by Hope.
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Here and elsewhere I have complained much about our American Christian forgetfulness of these promises about the future. When I was a kid and youth growing up in American evangelicalism we sang passionately about that future time of Christ’s presence among us after his return to earth. “O our Lord is coming back to earth again…” and “We shall see the King…” and “Joy to the world! The Lord is come!” Yes, that hymn is actually about Christ’s return, not his first advent (“Christmas”).
Some expositors have gone way overboard with what has been called “rapture fever” and “millennial madness”—over emphasis on the biblical promises about the future. But that is no excuse to discard or even neglect them—as has happened in much of American Christianity.
The question with which I wrestle is this: IF that great future new world brough about by God, that God-wrought Great Reset, will be a time of perfect peace and justice, how can we Christians NOT want this world NOW to be as much like that as possible? Why would we wait comfortably with violence and injustice now if God wants to overcome these and will overcome them? We know they are not God’s will, so why wait for HIM to overcome them when Christ returns? Why not use whatever measure of power and influence we have NOW to anticipate in concrete ways NOW, in our social orders, what that future social order and new creation will be like?
Jürgen Moltmann argues that belief in the future messianic era, the promised divine Great Reset, ought to energize us to transform our world to be as much like it will be then as possible—now. “Life boat ethics” is a total misunderstanding of the true meaning of the promised future of God with us. Rather, the biblical promises of the divine Great Reset ought to draw us deeply into work to preserve the creation, to improve our social orders toward peace and justice, to make our world now as much like it will be as we can with God’s help—without thinking, of course, that we can achieve it by ourselves.
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