If you take note of Christian publishing, you’ll observe that sure themes come and go, rise and fall. One writer will write a guide on a topic and which will ignite curiosity in order that a number of others observe as much as problem that particular person’s view, to affirm it, or to pursue it from a unique angle. A current theme, no less than in a single little nook of the Christian world, has been the notion of “home.” And now Ian Okay. Smith has added a wonderful little quantity that examines earth as our house and the renewal of the earth as God’s plan for it.
To be clear, this isn’t a guide on the setting or on environmentalism. Quite, it’s a guide that primarily asks whether or not the last word house for God’s individuals will probably be heaven or earth, one thing fully new to our expertise or one thing acquainted. Christians like to speak about those that die as “being in heaven” or “being called home,” and our everlasting future as being “going to heaven to live forever with Jesus.” And whereas none of those statements is strictly flawed, neither are they exactly proper. Whereas we may be assured that Christians who die are instantly ushered into the presence of Jesus, they achieve this in an “intermediate state” the place physique and soul haven’t but been reunited. They go to a short lived house, not but a last one. As for that last house, the Bible appears to point that it’s not “out there” however proper right here on earth. In different phrases, God’s plan is to not destroy the earth and create us a brand new place to stay, however to revive the earth and put us proper again right here.
This distinction could seem pedantic, however sound theology all the time has real-world implications and real-life functions.
An understanding of the way forward for the earth has vital implications for a way we see it now. Once we perceive that the top of all issues is the renewal of all issues, then all issues develop into necessary. Now not will we see the religious as extra necessary than the bodily; such a dualism is extra indebted to Greek philosophy than to the Bible. God is dedicated to his creation. It’s all necessary, whether or not Bible research, employment, church, hobbies, household, the humanities, or group involvement. Once we perceive that the affect of the resurrection is far greater than we ever imagined, our worldview will probably be modified. Now not will our sermons be nearly what occurs after dying (necessary although that’s), the gospel may also resound with relevance to this life, to the earth, to the locations we inhabit and name house. The data that our house will probably be renewed will give relevance to life.
The aim of this guide, then, is “to reawaken (resurrect even), a biblical understanding of the earth and God’s mission to it.”
To do that, Smith first lays a stable basis of biblical theology—a survey of the notion of house because it stretches from creation within the distant previous to new creation within the distant or not-too-distant future. He exhibits how earth was meant to be our good house, how its perfection was disrupted by the autumn into sin, how God selected to make a spot and a land his house, and the way we’re given the promise of an excellent higher house to come back. He exhibits—convincingly, to my thoughts—that God’s intention for the long run is to revive this earth to its former glory and to dwell with us right here without end. Our mandate to train dominion over God’s creation on God’s behalf will stay, however this time we can carry it out completely and eternally. “When we understand that the earth was made by God and declared to be very good, and that it will be renewed, and that many of our current achievements will be purged and have eternal significance, the merit of our activities is measured very differently. Such a worldview is holistic and gives so much meaning to so many of our current pursuits.”
I totally loved the guide and was challenged by it. So, too, was Sinclair Ferguson who signifies as a lot in his endorsement, which I’ll borrow as a becoming conclusion to this temporary evaluate. “House should absolutely be some of the emotion-filled phrases within the English language. It’s the place we belong. However the place is house for the Christian? Are we residing in a far nation right here on earth, simply ready for a greater day once we can depart the earth and easily get pleasure from heaven? Consider Ian Smith as your pleasant theological realtor. He is aware of concerning the house God has created for us. With theological ability and deft simplicity, he can clarify its lengthy historical past. He understands the place we match into its story. He’s additionally delicate to the accountability Christians need to our ‘home,’ although we now have not but seen its last reconstruction. Transient as Not House But could also be, you will see it instructive and difficult past its dimension.”
(Not House But is accessible at Amazon, Westminster Books, and wherever else you purchase good books!)