Saturday, October 22, 2011

The total redemption of the fallen creation

I am enjoying reading Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview by Albert Wolters, and the associated fortnightly discussion group.
So what is the relationship between the following?
  • creation [God's perfect created order]
  • sin and the Fall [which made the creation imperfect]
  • redemption of the created order by Christ's death and resurrection
  • the Kingdom of God [past, present, and future]
  • our acts of obedience to help "redeem" some aspects of the created order
  • the final re-creation of a new heaven and a new earth?
Wolters offers an analogy (described below) which I thought was helpful, particularly for understanding his "integrated" point of view which has a more positive view of both the progress of history and the content of civilisation than many Christians [particularly some evangelicals] would have. He also strongly advocates Christian engagement [redemption] with all spheres of life; not just church and family, but politics, business, art, technology...

Consider a baby which is born with some degenerative disease which gets worse as the baby grows to become a teenager. The baby is beautiful and "good" [like the original creation] and there is much about her growth that is positive, desirable, and as planned. However, built into the growth there is this terrible debilitating disease [sin] which prevents the teenager from functioning as she might and reaching her full potential. Nevertheless, ongoing medical treatment [redemption] can go some of the way to reversing the damaging effects of the disease.


  1. I'm not so comfortable with the return to creation perspective. Tim Keller rightly points out that the beginning was set in a garden, but the end is set in a city. I think a linear trajectory, rather than circular must be more acceptable.

    While God redeems us through Christ, and this is a circular thing for which the baby analogy seems to hold up, it feels like the linear aspect is lost.

    I think this is important because the creation was made for, by, and through Christ, for his preeminence, and for God's glory. It's not that we sinned and God's retrieval ethic is redemption. Rather, the world was made as God planned, unfolded as God planned, and will end as God planned, in a different state to how it begun. He doesn't intend for us to end up where we begun, but in an entirely different place to where we started, with some people unredeemed, some redeemed, but all different, God taking a different place in 'society', and all in all something having been accomplished, rather than merely retrieved.

    Perhaps Wolters wouldn't disagree, I don't know. But I'm uneasy with the title Creation Regained.

  2. Hi Tony,
    Overall I think Wolters would agree with your perspective, particularly with the emphasis on the linearity of history. In some ways the title "Creation regained" may not be the optimum representation of his perspective. "Redemption of the fallen creation" might be closer.