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June 10th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Earth Matters

As a Christian I believe that one day I will receive a new body. This will happen either, 1) at some point after I die in the general resurrection of the dead, or 2) in a flash, if I am alive when Jesus returns. In either case the new body will be a big improvement. It will be incorruptible, no longer subject to decay and deterioration, no longer able to get sick, and best of all, no longer subject to sin. I long to be clothed in my new body and to trade in this old bad of bones. I can’t wait to run and skip around in the new heaven and new earth!

Therefore, since I am going to get a new body, this one, and what I do with it, does not matter, right? Wrong. It does matter. It matters a lot. This body, coupled with the soul or spirit that goes with it, is made in the image of God. This body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. This body is the means by which I bless or curse others. This body is the visible presence of me, in all the beauty or weird quirkiness with which God has made and molded me. This body has a sanctity attached to it.

Just because it will be made new or renewed does not mean it does not matter. Somehow, in a way that I do not understand, when I get my new body, it will still be me, recognizably me. There will be continuity.

The same goes for the heavens and the earth. I believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I also believe that in the end God will create a new heavens and a new earth. I don’t know how that will work.

In this new heavens and new earth, there will be no “curse” and no tears. I don’t think that people or animals will die from storms or predation or asteroids or heat waves. The earth part will be very real – no cloud floating here; it will be the earth, but renewed, made new.

Just as I groan inwardly waiting for my new body, so also the creation groans awaiting its renewal and freedom from bondage.

So, since this earth is going to be renewed and all, it doesn’t matter how we treat it, right? Wrong. This earth is God’s special creation. How we treat his handiwork matters, a lot. This earth is the home for his image bearers. Rendering this home unlivable for those made in His image is a serious crime. This earth is home to the wildest and most wonderful array of creatures, and which we are supposed to be looking after. The Creator declared His creation to be good and he blessed it before we ever even showed up.

Again, just because it will be made new or renewed does not mean that this earth does not matter. The new earth will still be recognizable as the earth, our home. There will be continuity.

This blog is devoted to the proposition that this earth matters, yes, even to Christians, and yes, even to those conservative types, the ones who still believe that stuff like “maker of heaven and earth,” “and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord,” and “on the third day he arose again from the dead,” and “the Holy Spirit” and so forth.

Historic Orthodox Christians, especially of the Protestant variety, have too long given over the issue of earth care to political and theological liberals. Why, I have no idea. I am thankful that the Catholics and Greek Orthodox have not been so small minded.

It is my hope that this small little bit of the blogosphere will make some difference along the way.

Joel

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