By J. Richard Middleton

In recent times, an increasing number of Christians have come to understand the Bible's instructing that the last word blessed desire for the believer isn't an otherworldly heaven; as a substitute, it's full-bodied participation in a brand new heaven and a brand new earth introduced into fullness during the coming of God's nation. Drawing at the complete sweep of the biblical narrative, J. Richard Middleton unpacks key outdated testomony and New testomony texts to make a case for the recent earth because the acceptable Christian wish. He indicates its moral and ecclesial implications, exploring the adaptation a holistic eschatology could make for residing in a damaged international.

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Extra info for A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology

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147:7–9). God’s own generous exercise of power for the benefit of creatures thus provides a model for the human exercise of power in the world. Perhaps most significant of all is that the biblical God does not hoard power as sovereign ruler of the cosmos; instead, he gladly assigns humanity a share in ruling the earth as his representatives (Gen. 1:26–28). God does not micromanage the world, but instead fully expects human beings, made in the divine image, to contribute to the developing beauty and complexity of earthly life.

22). The human calling, as pictured in the Old Testament, is thus developmental, requiring innovation, vision, and a marshaling of communal resources to transform the earthly environment. 2). 18 That is precisely the human task. This developmental understanding of the creative process is quite distinct from the ancient Near Eastern view of history, in which the ideal was to maintain, without change, the social order that the gods had instituted in the beginning. 19 Mediating God’s Presence in the Cosmic Temple Although explicit statements that humans are made in God’s image are quite rare in the Old Testament (Gen.

13–16. 32 The Platonic worldview, and especially Plato’s more abstract notion of the afterlife, were given extra impetus in the third century€AD by the Greek philosopher Plotinus (204–270), who renovated Plato’s conceptual framework (combined with Aristotelian and Stoic ideas) to promulgate a vision of reality that deeply influenced Christian theologians from Augustine to PseudoDionysius and beyond. 33 Whereas at least some Christian theologians may have balked at Plato’s notion that the rational soul or mind was immortal and the highest part of the person (which verged on the deification of reason), Plotinus made room for something beyond, and higher than, reason.

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