By J. Richard Middleton
In recent times, increasingly more Christians have come to understand the Bible's educating that the last word blessed desire for the believer isn't an otherworldly heaven; as a substitute, it's full-bodied participation in a brand new heaven and a brand new earth introduced into fullness in the course of the coming of God's state. Drawing at the complete sweep of the biblical narrative, J. Richard Middleton unpacks key outdated testomony and New testomony texts to make a case for the recent earth because the applicable Christian wish. He indicates its moral and ecclesial implications, exploring the adaptation a holistic eschatology could make for dwelling in a damaged international.
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Additional info for A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology
22 It surfaces in PsalmÂ€148, which (as we saw) calls on a variety of heavenly and earthly creatures (vv. 1–4, 7–12) to praise their creator (vv. 5–7, 13–14), as if all creatures together constitute a host of worshipers in the cosmic sanctuary. Â€1a). No wonder the text questions why any human being would bother to build an earthly “house” for God (referring to the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple after the exile), since God has already created the cosmos as his dwelling place (vv. 1b–2). Why would anyone need to construct sacred space—a place to worship God—when all space is already sacred?
In all these creation texts, the movement is what we might call “missional”—from God via humans outward to the earth. The fundamental human task is conceived in rather mundane terms as the responsible exercise of power on God’s behalf over our earthly environment. In popular Christian lore, however, it is almost axiomatic that humans were created to worship God. How many times have churchgoers heard this common idea from the pulpit (or sung it from the pew)? It is sometimes shocking, therefore, for readers of the Bible to realize that the initial purpose and raison d’être of humanity is never explicitly portrayed in Scripture as the worship of God (or anything that would conform to our notion of the “spiritual,” with state does not transcend creation.
If we read canonically, this Spirit filling is delayed until the garden narrative of Genesis 2. There, having molded the human being from the dust, God breathes his breath into this inanimate creature, which results in the creature becoming a living being. Â€2, esp. 77–88. indd 48 9/9/14 10:14 AM â†œWhy Are We Here? 23 The purpose of the ritual was to vivify the newly carved cult statue so that it would become a living entity, imbued with the spirit and presence of the deity for which it was an image.
A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology by J. Richard Middleton