Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Glory and Honor of the Nations

"... John in Revelation makes it clear that in another sense the human cultural institution that is marriage will be echoed in the new Jerusalem, for the new Jerusalem itself will be one eternal wedding feast between Creator and redeemed creation. Likewise, work, in the sense we know it in human history, will not be the same in the new Jerusalem either. Yet if there is no work, there will surely be activity. Perhaps some of the 'glory and honor of the nations,' like a fine painting or sculpture, will be able to be simply enjoyed without new human effort. But much of the glory and honor of the nations, whether epic poetry or baroque fugues or fine cuisine, can be realized only when people 'perform' it- when singers sing, chefs cook and dancers dance. From jazz we are familiar with the idea of improvisation- the creative reinterpretation of a fixed set of chord changes and a memorable theme. It seems likely to me that part of the activity of eternity will be endlessly creative improvisations upon the 'glory and honor of the nations'- human beings using their creative capacities to their fullest to explore the depth and breadth of all human beings made in their vocations as cocreators with God.

So culture will ultimately fulfill Genesis 1's mandate- humanity will ultimately comprehend and have our proper dominion over all of creation. The glory of the nations will include our best realizations of the potentiality of God's world- the best use of minerals, of sound, of color, of thermodynamics. And it will all be summed up as praise, ..." (Culture Making, pp. 173-74)

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