23 February 2015

The Kingdom of God and New Creation

laddHere’s a good quote from George Eldon Ladd on the Kingdom of God and new creation, from the last pages of his Theology of the New Testament

The final state of the Kingdom of God is a new heaven and a new earth. This expresses a theology of creation that runs throughout the Bible. The Old Testament prophets picture the Kingdom of God in terms of a redeemed earth. This is described in terms of a new heaven and a new earth even in the Old Testament... [A] fundamental theology underlies these expectations, even though they must be clarified by progressive revelation: that man’s ultimate destiny is an earthly one. Man is a creature, and God created the earth to be the scene of his creaturely existence. Therefore, even as the redemption of man in the bodily aspect of his being demands the resurrection of the body, so the redemption of the very physical creation requires a renewed earth as the scene of his perfected existence. Man never ceases to be God’s creature. The New Testament does not outstrip this theology… Jesus spoke of the regeneration of the world, and Paul spoke of the redemption of the created order. The new earth of Revelation 21 is the final term in revelation of how this redemption is to take place…

And so the Bible ends, with a redeemed society dwelling on a new earth that has been purged of all evil, with God dwelling in the midst of his people. This is the goal of the long course of redemptive history. Soli Deo gloria!

G E Ladd, Theology of the New Testament, 631-2 (emphasis mine).