Friday, October 7, 2011

Work to Do in the New Heavens and New Earth

"Why will we be given new bodies? According to the early Christians, the purpose of this new body will be to rule wisely over God's new world. Forget those images about lounging around playing harps. There will be work to do and we shall relish doing it. All the skills and talents we have put to God's service in this present life- and perhaps to the interests and likings we gave up because they conflicted with our vocation- will be enhanced and ennobled and given back to us to be exercised to his glory. This is perhaps the most mysterious, and least explored, aspect of resurrection life. But there are several promises in the New Testament about God's people 'reigning' (Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 6:2,3; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:4, 22:5), and these cannot just be empty words. If, as we have already seen, the biblical view of God's future is of the renewal of the entire cosmos, there will be plenty to be done, entire new projects to undertake. In terms of the vision of original creation in Genesis 1 and 2, the garden will need to be tended once more and the animals renamed. These are are only images, of course, but like all other future-oriented language they serve as true signposts to a larger reality- a reality to which most Christians give little or no thought" (Surprised by Hope, p. 161).

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