What will the glorified creation be like?

Following is an interesting comment that concludes with a question from a Surprising God reader. I invite you to comment on his comment and answer his question in the light of Trinitarian, incarnational theology.
I work in Bible translation and my assignment is Nepal. Witnessing to Hindus involves an explanation of God's goal for humans and the whole universe in contrast to the never-ending cycle of the Hindu reincarnation. I explain to my Hindu friends that God's goal for humans is seen in the Incarnational hope that he has displayed in Christ. The mystery of the goal of human history has been revealed through Jesus. 
"This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:9b-10).
In another place, God's word testifies, "What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).  
When Jesus returns all who have longed for his coming will be transformed and given a redeemed and glorified body as he has. But what about the rest of the universe?
In Romans, Scripture testifies, "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility , not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now...we ourselves...groan inwardly...for adoption, the redemption of our bodies"(Romans 8:20-23).
What kind of world will this glorified world be?


Ted Johnston said…
For a Surprising God post that is related to this one, see http://thesurprisinggodblog.wcg.org/2009/09/incarnation-embraces-all-creation.html
Anonymous said…
This is a wonderful topic to explore. A good start for many might be N. T. Wright's book, SURPRISED BY HOPE, HarperOne, 2008.

All the best!

J. Richard Parker
Ted Johnston said…
Thanks for this recommendation Richard. I found Surprised by Hope to be a very helpful resource concerning the doctrine of the coming glorification of all creation in Jesus, and what that hope says about our relationship now with all creation.
Hey Ted,

This topic has fascinated me for quite some time now. While not specifically "Trinitarian/Incarnational", the "neo-Calvinist" movement (also referred to as "neo-Kuyperian" or "Reformational Christianity") speaks powerfully concerning this cosmic redemption and restoration that has come in Christ. The Wright book is along these lines, as well as Wittmer's, "Heaven is a Place on Earth" and the writings of Cornelius Plantinga (to name just a couple).

Too many people view this world, this creation, as simply a necessary means to an end that will culminate in a "spiritual" or "heavenly" existence that has little or nothing to do with the original creation. In my opinion, this undercuts the importance of Christ's coming into this creation, taking humanity upon Himself (into the very Godhead) and the implications of His resurrection (not to mention the purpose of God in and for creation--this creation--to begin with). As Christians, we don't typically live in this world as if this is our "home", the place that God has created for us to spend eternity with Him. We look for "heaven" forgetting that Christ is coming back...here! This (orginal) creation, this cosmos, will itself be redeemed and restored into the purpose that God had intended from the beginning, but this time without respect to the curse. All things find their destiny in Christ and will be consummated in Him!

In this way, I believe the "neo-Calvinist" understanding takes seriously the cosmic scope of the purpose of God in Christ for His creation. And, incidentally, if this were the understanding of the church at large, I believe Christians would be the most conscientious and effective "environmentalists" because we would take seriously God's diretive to be good stewards of this creation as those who truly understand the concept of "shalom" with regard to the goodness and harmonious integration of creation and our place in it.

Ted Johnston said…
Thanks so much for this helpful comment. Lots of good Biblical "food for thought."