The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Dead Reckoning TV on the renewal of creation

One cannot have a complete biblical doctrine of creation without incorporating what one believes about the future of creation. Some Christians believe in the utter annihilation of the present world when Christ returns; that God will completely destroy Earth before establishing the eternal order. This doctrine can, unfortunately, lead to what some have called “disposable earth theology.” In the perspective of some Christians, it really doesn’t matter what happens to planet Earth because it is going to be destroyed anyway.

I believe the disposable earth teaching is biblically wrong for a number of reasons. It is more gnostic than Christian in that it teaches that only what is “spiritual” goes on to eternity, while everything physical gets wiped out. It is more biblical to say that there is a good amount of continuity between the present world and the eternal world. For example, our bodies will somehow be changed when we are resurrected, but we will still be ourselves. I will still be recognizable as Kevin Nelstead, though with some much-needed improvements. Likewise, planet Earth will still be planet Earth.

Two talented men in my local church have started producing a web tv program called Dead Reckoning TV, which I highly recommend. In episode 17 for their first year, Dr. Brian Mattson and Jay Friesen focus on the future aspect of the doctrine of creation and how that should effect our day-to-day living in the present age. For the core part of his argument, Dr. Mattson states:

When you have a robust doctrine of creation in your Christianity, when you realize that the God who made all things good is restoring this good world that’s been corrupted and destroyed by sin, it’s actually quite impossible to be so heavenly-minded you’re no earthly good. You know, our eternal hope of the new heavens and the new earth empowers—is the engine that drives—our current living. In Romans chapter 8, which is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, when Paul talks about how our present sufferings aren’t worth being compared to the glory that is going to be revealed in us; it is in that very context, when he is talking about future glory and the liberation of creation that he talks about us presently having the resurrection spirit so that we don’t follow the old way of doing things, we follow the new way of doing things. The kingdom of God, by the Holy Spirit, is breaking into the world as it is right now, and enabling us not to be slaves of sin but to be slaves of righteousness. It’s that future day; it’s that next world that is actually empowering us in the present world.

You know, the idea of a new creation—not going to heaven, not life after death like I said a couple episodes ago, but life after life after death, the restoration of all things, the new heavens and the new earth, as the Bible puts it—it means that the present world matters. I mean, think about that, a renewed creation means that creation matters. It’s not an ejection seat, we’re not just piling into a lifeboat to bail out of this place. God still loves his world, it’s the world he made. A renewed creation means creation matters. How can we be “heavenly minded and no earthly good” if that’s true?

I encourage you to watch the entire episode: Ep. 17: Making All Things New. The Future.

August 14, 2013 - Posted by | Apologetics, Christianity, Creation Care, Creation in the Bible, Environment, Ethics | ,

6 Comments »

  1. A common Christian perception is that we are here on this planet to prove ourselves and if we pass all the tests we earn a place in a vague and mystical place called Heaven. This is not what the Bible teaches. The message of the Bible is that in the long distant past, God created planet Earth by His power and wisdom and there are many clues in the Bible as to how He did this.
    But the Bible also tells us that after the Great White Throne judgement this planet will be set on fire and the reasons for this fire are given in the Bible and God allowed for this when He created the Earth.
    People who through the ages have proved themselves worthy of eternal life will not go through the White Throne Judgement or the Great Fire that will follow immediately. They will be taken to a place of refuge but will return to the Earth after it has been completely renovated and recreated with new forms of flora and fauna. (God has renewed the Earth in this way many times before)
    The Earth will then have its rightful owner as Lord and King and those who are considered worthy enough to live for ever in this Kingdom of God on Earth will return to Earth with their King. The manner of this return is difficult to comprehend but according to the Bible a small moon like body with the already built vast city (about 2 million square miles) called New Jerusalem will soft land on the cooled down and renewed Earth and the blessed millions of people of New Jerusalem will be free to leave New Jerusalem if they wish to explore the renewed Earth and take up residence almost anywhere on its beautifully transformed surface. Our planet will then have a new dome (called the New Heaven or Firmament) spanning over one hemisphere as it did when the Earth was first created. This is all totally biblical but probably too much for most people to believe.
    Blessings

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    Comment by Leander R Pimenta | August 15, 2013

  2. The good news is that you do not have to be an escatelogical restorationist to also believe that good stewardship is a mandate for all believers. I am NOT a restorationist, but I am very concerned about the Church’s history of poor stewardship. It is not the simple either-or that you have presented.

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    Comment by imhavoc | August 15, 2013

  3. I concur with @imhavoc. The fundamental physics of this universe would seem to categorically preclude it’s eternal existence, or at least it’s ability to eternally support life (e.g. the stars will all eventually burn out and expansion will eventually result in absolute zero prevailing). I rather think God will create a new heaven and a new earth, like this one, yet unlike, with different physical laws. This is much like our bodies will be recreated (changed “in an instant” for those still living at the time) as glorified, incorruptible and eternal – again like, yet unlike. 1 Corinthians 2:9: “… no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”.

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    Comment by Lawrence Dol | August 15, 2013

  4. A HERMENEUTICS LESSON

    HERMENEUTICS IS THE SCIENCE OF INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. ISOLATING VERSES OF SCRIPTURE TO PROVE A POINT OF DOCTRINE IS A COMMON PRACTICE, BUT IT IS NOT A VALID SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WORD.

    Let us answer the question: What must I do to be saved under the terms of the New Covenant? All Christians from the Day of Pentecost, until the present, were and are saved under the terms of the New Covenant, also called the New Testament.

    WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

    1. Believe in Jesus. (John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.)

    Is this verse true? Yes, but does it include all the requirements for salvation? No, it does not. It does not say that all you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus. Even demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God.(Luke 8:26-31)

    2. Believe and be baptized. (Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.)

    Is this verse true? Yes, but it does not detail all that men have believe and do to be saved.

    3. Confess and believe. (Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;)

    This verse is true, but is does not include all of the requirements for salvation.

    4. Call on the name of the Lord. (Acts 2: 21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’)

    Is this verse true? Yes. Does this verse explain the meaning of calling on the name of the Lord? No, it does not. All of the relevant verses concerning salvation and forgiveness of sin are needed to understand what is meant by calling on the name of the Lord. Being obedient to the gospel is calling on the name of the Lord. Saying the man-made sinner’s prayer is not calling on the name of the Lord. There is no verse of Scripture that includes a sinner’s prayer under the New Covenant.

    5. Be born of water and Spirit.(John 3:5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.)

    Is this verse true? Yes, but it does not explain the process to be born of water and the Spirit.

    6. By grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;)

    Is this verse true? Of course it is. We have the opportunity for salvation because of God’s grace, however, this verse does not say that we are saved by grace alone nor does it say we are saved by faith only. Salvation is the gift mentioned in this verse.

    7. Be buried with Christ in baptism. (Romans 6:4-5 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,)

    Are these verses true? Yes, but baptism alone is not the only requirement in order to walk in newness of life. Unsaved men do not walk in newness of life. We are told to walk in a new life after we are baptized. We are not told to walk in a new life the minute we believe. Water baptism is the final step to becoming saved.

    8. Water baptism. (1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.)

    Is it true that water baptism saves us? Yes, but this verse does not say, baptism alone, saves us.

    9. Be baptized calling on His name. (Acts 22:16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name!)

    Is this verse true? Yes, but it does not list all of the requirements for salvation?

    10. Repent. (Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.)

    Is this verse true? Of course it is, however, it is not all one has to do to have sins forgiven. Repentance is making the intellectual commitment to turn from sin and unbelief and to turn toward God.

    11. Baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.)

    Is this verse true? Yes, however, you cannot be baptized into Christ unless you believe, confess, and repent prior to being baptized. You are not clothed with Christ the minute you believe. You are not clothed with Christ the minute you confess. You are not clothed with Christ the minute you repent. You are clothed with Christ the minute you are baptized into Him.

    12. Repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit.)

    Is this verse true? Yes, but is does mean that you can have your sins forgiven without having faith and confessing Jesus as the Son of God? No.

    13. Believe in the Lord Jesus. (Acts 16:30-31…”Sirs what must I do to be saved? 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”)

    Is this verse true? Yes, however, it doe not state that men are saved by “faith only.”

    WHAT DOES GOD DO SO YOU MAY BE SAVED?

    1. God provides a Savior in Jesus Christ. (1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.)

    2. God makes His grace available to all men. (Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.)

    WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED?

    1. You must believe. (John 3:16)

    2. You must confess. (Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37)

    3. You must repent. (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19)

    4. You must be baptized. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38)

    WHAT MUST YOU DO TO SAY SAVED?

    1. You must remain faithful until death. (Revelation 2:11, Matthew 10:22)

    ——————————————————————————

    The Bible says we are saved by grace. It does not say we are saved by grace alone.

    The Bible says we are saved by believing in Jesus. It does not say we are saved by faith alone.

    The Bible says we are saved by confessing Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised him from the dead. It does not say that confessing Him and believing in His resurrection alone, that we will be saved.

    The Bible does say we must repent in order to have our sins forgiven. The Bible does not say that repentance alone saves us.

    The Bible teaches us that water baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and that it saves us. It does not say that water baptism alone saves us.

    In a honest hermeneutical approach to the question “What are we saved by? The answer has to include the following:

    GRACE
    FAITH
    REPENTANCE
    CONFESSION
    WATER BAPTISM

    Which one of God’s requirements for salvation can we eliminate and still be saved?

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>steve finnell a christian view

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    Comment by Steve Finnell | August 15, 2013

  5. Steve,

    I believe the message of salvation is not as complicated as you make it out to be. There is no ‘formula’ that has to be followed. When the texts talk about faith, grace, belief, confession, and repentance they are all talking about the same thing, describing the moment we move from death to life in Christ. There is no additional work to be done on our part, adding water baptism as a requirement for salvation is not found in any of the didactic parts of the Bible.

    While no single verse captures the every single idea found in salvation, Ephesians 2.8-9 come close..Adding water baptism as a requirement to salvation is like adding any other Biblical demand as a requirement which means we would have to be perfect before we come to Christ which we all know is impossible.

    Eph. 2.8,9. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10

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    Comment by Dan | August 16, 2013

  6. Steve,

    Was there a specific reason why you wrote about your topic here on a post about the future of creation?

    Is your faith in Christ good enough? All the time?

    Is your repentance good enough? All the time?

    Is your confession of Christ good enough? All the time?

    Is Jesus good enough for you, or do you need to add to his work?

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | August 17, 2013


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