I’d love to hear a discussion on the implications of evolution on the Biblical picture of “end times”, ie., the new heavens and the new earth. I’m not looking to start a debate on interpretations of Revelation, but instead an exploration of what “God restoring all things to their original, perfect state” would look like.
The collected works of Hieronymus Bosch.
[In other words at what point was everything in its original, perfect state? What came to mind was every point. All times at the same time. Chaos!]
I think that phrase captures what may be a wrench in the gears of better understandings for so many. Bible scholars have pointed out (compellingly, I think) that scriptures do not make claims of completed perfection even for the “pre-fall” original creation of Genesis 1 and 2. It also flies in the face of the rest of scriptures where prophetic voices relay God’s promise to make “a new creation” - that in some ways is a “putting off” of the old. And yet, it must in all the significant ways share continuity with it too - preserving all that is good.
I think all the evolutionary details about our history helps us to think of history in developmental, but also cyclical terms that must coexist with God inviting us and bringing us toward new life that we begin to taste here already in a kind of down payment (“the kingdom is here among you.”) In some ways our wickedness gets worse as more light shines into our darkest recesses, and yet we also know that sin has been part of our spiritual DNA for so long that, we just go through cycles of getting comfortable with it. But God refuses to leave us there, and the irrevocable call continues to go forth.
While the ultimate consummation of all things necessarily must remain in large part shrouded for us, I think that we begin to taste the possibilities of it now already as we sense the kingdom near at hand. Our worry and fuss over the mechanics of that future, I think, diminish as we focus more and more on following Christ’s example here and now.
I wonder about this as well. It’s one of the things that I can’t make work really well scientifically and theologically. Some of the verses I consider are the ones about how many times heaven and earth has been restored and so on.
( it keeps saying redirect notice but the verses are Isaiah 65:17-25)
In those verses it mentions death still happening on the new earth. It mentions youth dying at 100 and so on. I know the numbers and act… are symbolic but nonetheless it mentions death.
But that is contrasted by revelation mentioning eternal life and the wicked being destroyed in hell. So I partly assume that was a different restoration. But if it was, that sound mean that it was very symbolic because the world has not been like that. Revelation itself is heavily symbolic. Almost nothing is literal which means the new Jerusalem, the white throne judgement, and ect… can all be symbolic and not meant to be taken literally which begs the question you asked of what will it be then.
I have the book, Surprised by Hope, by NT Wright that is supposed to cover this issue. But I’ve never read it yet. Hoping to Derry sometime next month.
There is also a entire series dedicated to the restored heaven and earth by Tim Mackie and Jon’s ( I forget his last name) podcast called The Bible Project which includes like a 70 page free e-workbook.
I’ve not went through it yet either. But after reading the book by Wright, and listening again to the podcast series on that subject I plan on working through this workbook and looking up counter arguments.
I guess God is going to restore the relationship between God and humans (and other creation), rather than rewind all creation to a point in the past. Future can be better than the past, even if the life on earth continues to change.
How we think about the future, new heavens and new earth, depends on our interpretation of Revelation & other parts of the Bible. As this should not be a debate on interpretations, I’m not going to that direction. Anyway, my personal guestimate is that life on the new earth may reflect a combination of natural evolution, human actions (genetical engineering) and the work of God. At least during the time period between the first and second resurrection, assuming that these are events happening in the future.
The longer lifespan of humans may be something done by God. An alternative is that the longer lifespan is a consequence of improved health care, novel medical treatments and perhaps genetical engineering. That should be possible if we think that humans are restored to a closer relationship with God, as co-workers.
These are just wild speculations, I hope we will see what happens after the first/second resurrection.
The Bible doesnt actually use such terminology. Whilst there will undoubtedly be some sort of ‘restoration’ it seems to be much, much more than that. Remember, Jesus’ resurrection body is a template for our own future bodies, and Im sure youd agree that is way beyond a simple restoration. He was no longer subject to decay or death, or presumably pain. The apostles indicate that that reality will be far beyond even our imagination, the glory of it all.
Such an interesting question. I think at times like this many of us long hard for life in the presense of our savior, don’t we, even if we can’t possibly fathom what that really will be like.
As far as evolution based in genetics goes, it seems like that would stop in humans, if Jesus’s discussion with the Parisees regarding the 7-times widowed woman is to be relied on. It seems like he is (in part) saying that marriage and procreation are not part of the eternal state,
As far as the rest goes, I think we have little information. And what we do have seems to be told at the level of our limited human minds, just as God has been telling humans things since the beginning of revelation.
True. No reproduction and no natural evolution among the resurrected.
It is also true that we have little information of the future of the other creation. Yet, speculation is fun and inspiring, as long as we remember that it don’t necessarily have anything to do with reality - just science fiction type imagination.
It is a matter of interpretation but many believe that there is a period of about 1000 years between the first and second resurrection. If true, much of life would still be mortal during that period - only those resurrected during the first resurrection would be something else. That leaves space for interesting speculation. What happens after the second resurrection is more obscure. Revelation associates the new heaven and earth to the post-second resurrection period. What happens to resurrected humans has been shortly described but what happens to the rest of the creation is a mystery.
You say Hieronymus Bosch and my mind immediately goes to a certain veteran LAPD homicide detective. I love that TV show, Bosch.
I have an evolutionary perspective on natural history, but I struggle to answer this question because I am not aware of the Bible talking about “God restoring all things to their original, perfect state.” Where does it say this? Somewhere in the book of Revelation, is it?
Our favourite! My wife and me. Seriously, the best police procedural ever. 60 episodes! And another series next year. Titus is a fine actor, first noted in Lost, another favourite. Merry Christmas John.
There’s this, which is much better!
Acts 3:20-21 (KJV) “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
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