(This is Day 23 or our 30-day examination of Revelation.)
God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’”
— Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter
A lot of wrongheaded interpretations of Revelation have it that God is going to nuke the earth in the end–totally destroy it.
The Bible raises up the vision of a new creation a lot, going back to Isaiah in the Old Testament.
But prophecies of a new creation don’t mean God plans to replace this world with something brand new. John’s vision in Revelation foresees the time when God will renew what he created in the beginning. God is going to radically transform this creation into a new form of existence. There’s going to be a massive renovation.
Let it be noted that the Greek word kaine used for the “new” earth in Revelation 21:1 can mean either “renewed” or “new.”
Those who believe that God is going to nuke the earth–and those believers, by the way, tend to look in their crystal balls and see the end coming in our lifetime–are plenty happy to pollute and chip away at God’s creation in destructive ways.
And then there are right-wing extremists like Ann Coulter–who unfortunately has a huge following in America–who think it’s a perfectly good and Christian thing to “rape” the earth because, in her always twisted, amateur theology, God gave us dominion over everything on earth.
* * *
In yesterday’s post I featured the British Revelation scholar Richard Bauckham. He once noted in a sermon during Advent that “God has not made a disposable creation, a throwaway world, but a world that he values and cherishes to the extent that he will not let it perish, but will give it new life eternally.”
“That says something about the value of every human being, precious to God, destined for eternity. But not only humans. How arrogant of us to think, as Christians often have, that we are the only creatures God values and cherishes to such an extent. No, God’s future is for his whole creation. And so we should value it too.”
23. God created the heavens and earth and saw that it was good, and expects us to take care of creation until he restores it to something even greater than the original garden in Genesis. That, in a nutshell, is what Revelation tells us.