Brief thoughts about creation, new creation and the Kingdom of God

The basic framework I am currently building works along the axis of biblical theology. Essentially, I’m investigating the connections of creation, new creation and the Kingdom of God in biblical theology so that I can then ask the question, ‘How well does the millennium fit in this?’

My current thinking state is this:
1) The pre-Fall state was one of harmonious relationships between God and humanity, and subsequently, between humanity and the world. This is because the dominion function of humanity cannot be exercised independent of God.
2) The Fall screwed this up royally
3) Over the OT, we see that this relationship continues to operate. So, those whom God has chosen are generally blessed – this is especially so for the patriarchs in Genesis. When the family of Jacob becomes a nation, they are told that they will receive blessing in the land – fruitful livestock, farming, etc. – if they obey, but receive curses if they do not. However, Deuteronomy 30 also foresees a time when they will receive that blessing because of a heart operation by God that will fix the moral problem of relationship between humanity and God. The Davidic dynasty sees a great amount of blessing, so much that the in the time of Solomon it was thought that the promises of God to Abraham were fulfilled. However, the subsequent moral failure of Solomon and the nation put paid to that. Hopes turn to a time when the moral failure of the people will no longer plague us, when the Messianic king will rule from Zion, and the created order will become abundantly fruitful. These are not disconnected hopes. The moral failure must be overturned to restore shalom between humanity and God. The instalment of the Messianic king in Zion shows that a human will indeed have dominion over the world as intended in the beginning. Because human dominion over the earth will in this way reach its fulfilment, accordingly, we expect that the blessing of the land, the restoration of creation, to occur.
4) The NT presents Jesus as the solution to all this. He is the man, the son of man even, who will reign over the world. He himself does not fall for the moral failure of sin as we did, but also corrects that through his death and resurrection. Not only that, but his resurrection brings reconciliation to all things (refer Colossians). The return of the cosmos to a state of fruitfulness is now in that there is reconciliation, but also not yet in that we still await that abundance in the land.

So, where does this actually get me in my project?
The millennium is NOT the complete fulfilment of anything. The new creation is the complete fulfilment. The new creation sees God and God’s king, Jesus, and his people, the church, in holy, unspoilt relationship. The new creation sees a human in complete dominion over the whole cosmos, without the trouble of sin. The new creation sees the relationship between humanity and creation as unfettered with the burden and curse of frustration and sin.
On the other hand, the millennium only sees a visible kingdom over a good but incomplete creation with a willing people and an unwilling bunch of rebels waiting for Satan to come back. The millennium is like now, only Jesus happens to be on earth, ecology may be less of a problem (apparently it’ll be near-idyllic), and the resurrected bunch of humans will be sinless, but there will be still be a sinful bunch of humans still on earth (those armies Satan raises have to come from somewhere) and it won’t be completely idyllic. The millennium presents an advance from this present state, yes, but it is hardly a necessary step. Contra Chung and Blomberg, the millennium is a not required step for the fulfilment of God’s purposes in Adam, because the new creation is that fulfilment. If it were to occur, it would at best be a partial fulfilment, and we already experience partial fulfilment as it is.

So I think that’s the basic nutshell of my argument. I’ll need to get myself some backup, but I think I’m on to a winner here.

2 Responses to “Brief thoughts about creation, new creation and the Kingdom of God”

  1. psychodougie says:

    sounds good jay-z

    a couple of questions:

    1/ how would the denial of an historical fall affect this (where Gen 1-3 is essentially teaching that God is good, humanity is inclined to sin, and this is the way it is, rather than an aetiology of the entrance of sin at a particular time in history)? i ask this to gage how important your first two steps are and the logic it entails. that is, how much eschatology is there in a perfect garden? (not wanting to discuss that here, just thinking that might help strengthen your argument)

    2/ how crucial a step are any of the OT moves? where do you get the idea of necessity from? why is nigh 2000 years and counting ‘necessary’? why is this a knock-down argument? is it because they say so? if so, proving it’s not necessary doesn’t necessarily (!) prove it’s not going to happen, just that it’s not necessary. but how much really is in the big picture?!

    you’ve probably thought through all this, they were just the 2 questions that jumped to mine.
    go well.

  2. Jason says:

    1) Gen 1-3 establishes a pattern of the ideal and that pattern in disarray. The important part to my argument is the pattern vis a vis God < – > Man and Man < – > Created Order

    2) How many questions are packed into one point?! I think you’re asking at least two different questions.
    - the importance of the OT is that it appears to exhibit (and others along with me agree – eg. Gowan, NT Wright) a continued interest in this state of affairs. The eschatology of the prophets is couched in moral terms, in national terms, and in cosmic terms, and there are points at which some or all of these converge, such as Isa 11 in which the coming of the Branch of Jesse results in wholescale non-violence in the animal world. The whole point is the consistency of thought points to a biblical theology.
    - the whole necessary thing is what the historic premils make of the millennium. Basically, they argue that the millennium is necessary because the new creation doesn’t count as the fulfilment of the restoration of the order as it was intended from the beginning. The whole necessity thing is probably their only non-exegetical reason for a millennium. I’m not arguing that it may not happen. I want to show that this reason has holes, and that they need to find something more compelling if they want to argue for a millennium outside of the ‘Revelation 20 fits better this way’ reason. I want them convince me that Biblical theology makes better sense with a millennium than without, because as it stands, it’s perfectly fine without one.