This morning during class, I talked about different ways of looking at God’s saving work. Two options were considered.
Option 1: Escape. God’s plan of salvation is to help us to “escape” from creation, which is destined to be destroyed. The end result is that we find bliss as spirits that exist apart from creation – in “heaven,” as most people would put it.
Option 2: Renewal. God’s plan of salvation is to renew his creation. As a critical part of this process, he must also renew humankind by freeing us from sin and death. The end result is that we are resurrected into a renewed world.
Option 1 presents a lot of problems for me:
1. If God’s creation is good, why would he want to destroy it? Did he suddenly decide just to give up on the project?
2. What is the point of all the things Jesus tells us to do which are designed to make this world better? If it is doomed anyway, why not just tell people about how to punch their ticket to a better place?
3. Rather than something that God conquers, death itself becomes the victory. Death represents the point in our existence where God saves us.
4. Resurrection has no meaning, and is not even desirable. Why would I want to be raised back into this world when God’s goal is to get me into heaven?
Option 2, on the other hand, is much more satisfying:
1. Creation is seen as worthwhile.
2. Investment in creation by doing right by our neighbors, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, etc. makes sense. Creation isn’t going anywhere, and it is need of a makeover.
3. Death is conquered, not welcomed.
4. Resurrection is central to the victory over death.
The central Christian affirmation, Jedi Master Wright tells us, is that God intends to do for the entire cosmos what he first did in the resurrection of Jesus. In my mind, this is a vastly superior way of reading scripture.