My research interest is creation and eschatology, or creation in God’s future purposes. One thing I’ve noticed is that when you speak to people about the new earth you quite often encounter the view that we ought not to waste time speculating about such things because ‘one day we’ll know.’ Or some similar response. This view seems to be alarmingly widespread.
- this view seems to be built on the idea that the bible says very little about the new creation. That idea is false. But if people won’t engage on the subject, due to the ‘One day we’ll know’ view, then the idea is self-confirming.
- another idea behind this view is (in my opinion) that if there is something to be said about the new creation, then it has nothing to do with this creation anyway – and therefore it is redundant to the church and our task as Christians. Again, this is a mistaken view. We don’t adopt this approach with other eschatological truths, e.g. future judgement. In the mind of most Christians, future judgement has everything to do with the present day task of the Church.
- the hope of the new creation is fundamental to our lives as Christians, as disciples of Jesus Christ. This is the case in Romans 8, in 1 Cor 15, in 1 Peter 1…I could go on.
- in what other area of biblical interpretation does this approach arise? Christology? I want to learn about Jesus, but there’s no point speculating – one day we’ll know…?!
The Bible’s teaching on the the new creation has been effectively de-coupled from the teaching of the church on salvation, judgement, even resurrection.
If we’re not clear on the future hope of a restored creation, then our individual Christian lives and our churches will not be correctly missional, hopeful or balanced in their outlook. One day we will know, but knowing in the here and now is our present task.