Creation: Hope for its Redemption

light“But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.”   2 Peter 3:10

You cannot drive a car looking only in the rear view mirror.  We need both a creational as well as an eschatological foundation for our ecological ethics and ecological dimensions of Christian mission.

One of the richest places in the OT to find such a foundation is the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 11:1-9; 65:17-25).  Such passages are the OT foundation for the NT hope, looking forward to a new, redeemed creation (Romans 8:18-21), in which righteousness will dwell (2 Peter 3:10-13), because God Himself will dwell there with His people (Revelation 21:1-4).

Eschatological vision for creation is overwhelmingly positive.  thus must affect how we understand the equally biblical portrayal of final and fiery destruction that awaits the present world order as the verse above indicates.

“Deserve judgement” has been translated by the NIV as “will be laid bare,” and the NRSV “will be disclosed,” while the KJV and the NASB, “will be burned up.”  Is the purpose of the conflagration described in these verses the obliteration of the cosmos itself or the purging of the sinful world we live in, through the consuming destruction of all that is evil within creation, so as to establish the new creation?

Maybe how 2 Peter 3:6-7 describes the judgement of the flood is precedent for the final judgement.  A world of wickedness was wiped out and creation was preserved. This hope adds an important dimension to our ecological ethics.  What we hope for from God affects how we are to live now and what our own objectives should be.


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