Monday, 20 June 2016

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb

There is no-one who doesn’t want to be made well in body, mind, or spirit or to be rescued from death and annihilation.
We want it for ourselves and we want it for all that we love.
God is the author of all life, all creation and when he created he declared it “Good” and declared us especially “Very good”. And it is the whole creation that will be redeemed. We are so anthropocentric that we scarcely raise our sights to consider the cosmic scope of redemption and re-creation.
I used to believe that when we died we went to a place called heaven but that is not the content of Biblical hope. When the first Christians talked about their hope is consisted of a bodily resurrection when the old heaven and earth passed away to be replaced with a new creation where heaven and earth became one entity, an embodied existence where the Lion would lie down with the kid. Heaven is the “sphere of God” and whilst that is where our immediate destination will be, our final destination is far more exciting than that.
Here Paul talks about this in Romans 8, the highpoint of his theology.
Romans 8:18-23
Future Glory
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Our future hope is to be set free in a completely new creation and Jesus’ resurrection body is a glimpse of our future hope in historical time. In fact, if we follow Paul’s beliefs all things will be set free.
Every healing or sign or miracle that Jesus performs in the Bible is a little sign of that future hope which was even  more fully revealed when God raised Jesus from the dead.
In a very real sense everything from the stilling of the storm, from curing a blind man to turning water into wine, to the healing of the woman with a haemorrhage to raising Jairus’ daughter is a sign that points to the greater fulfilment awaiting all of the created order when the old separate heaven and earth are abolished and they become one, an embodied existence where there will be no more tears and no more pain, where Isaiah’s vision will be fulfilled;.
Isaiah 11:6-9

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

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