This Good Creation
Now and then I hear people call this world wicked, and I wonder, what do they mean by “wicked”? Do they mean there are a lot of bad people doing bad things? (Which is true.) Or do they mean creation itself is wicked, and their only hope is to keep this world at an arm's length until they get to Heaven? This view has a problem, and here's why.
Creation isn't wicked. Not at all. When God crafted the universe, He called it good. It pleased Him, He was happy with it.
However, its perfection was short lived. Right after He made the world, God appointed Adam to look after it. But Adam chose to sin, and thereby succumb to the authority of Satan, giving him the rule of this world. Yep, things were downright evil.
However, they didn't stay evil, the world was seized from Satan's clutches. Creation's redemption was bought by the blood of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ. He now rules this world, it has been ransomed, and it is once again good. (Col.1:19-20).
But it doesn't look exactly good, pure and pretty – does it?
No, it doesn't.
That's because it's still being transformed. It is redeemed, but it isn't perfected. Yet.
Creation is like you and me.
A Christian has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and they should become more and more like their Savior. But do they always do good works? Have they conquered every sin? Do they always show the love and patience God wants then to have?
Then what is wrong with them, are they even saved at all?
I'm going to steal – I mean borrow – an illustration from my dad. Imagine a tenet of a house – a terrible tenet whose home is a screaming dump. He piled full trash bags by the back door, left columns of food-encrusted plates in the kitchen, and watched a warren of dust bunnies collect under the furniture. But then the tenet is evicted, and the house is made available to new renter.
However, the new tenet has been landed with the task of cleaning up the first tenet's atrocious housekeeping. He must clear out the rubbish and scour the house before it is perfect. The house is not instantly flawless, but it has changed owners. It will have a different function from now on.
But this job isn't easy. Rather than haul out the mess, it is easier to ignore it, or hang on to something that catches their attention. However, as time goes by the house will become clean.
Like the new tenet, we are battling our old sinful desires. Paul says the Spirit and the flesh are conflicting, “so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Gal. 5:17). But at the same time, we are to view ourselves “to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11). And we may overcome any temptation in His strength. (1 Cor. 10:13). The total transformation will take a lifetime. We are redeemed, but we aren't perfected. Yet.
But why does God bother with letting us learn holiness? Why is He satisfied with just saving our souls and helping us to be good instead of making us be so? Wouldn't it be more effective to just zap Christians with a bunch holiness and be done with it?
Perhaps. But God wants relationships with people, and the above is more like pulling the strings of a puppet. He created us with the ability to learn holiness, and He is delighted when we make the effort to do so. Puppets would obey Him because they were compelled to, people obey God because they choose to. And that is the essence of a good relationship – serving the other person because you choose to, not because you have to.
So, back to creation. Do you see the parallel? Like us, creation is redeemed, but it has a way to go before it is perfected. But it looks pretty messy right now – it is going to take some time to clear out the trash left by the former steward.
Once again, God is letting us take part in a transformation. Not because He needs us to help change the world, He could do that by Himself. But He wants us to be involved in what He does. He invites us to take part in a grand adventure, a wonderful transformation.
This change begins first in our hearts, and then, as each Christian grows in godliness, they will change creation, bringing it ever closer to a visible renewal.* And creation will be stunningly good and beautiful again.
And no one will dream of calling it wicked.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts!
*This is accomplished by loving your neighbor as yourself – not a theocracy.