I admit, willingly, to my obsession with the Kingdom and everything undergoing eventual renewal. All this is only possible because of Jesus. He entered into our creation, forever, to restore it all back to him. More and more often I catch these glimpses of scripture's new heavens and new earth — both in the scriptures and right here in this world.
Yes, I'm getting older. That probably explains a lot of it. Yet, amid all the scripture promptings from Saturday's readings (11/12/21)*, you should not be surprised how I once again delighted in reading the following:
For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew,
serving its natural laws,
that your children might be preserved unharmed.
The cloud overshadowed their camp;
and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging:
Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road,
and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.
Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand,
after they beheld stupendous wonders.
For they ranged about like horses,
and bounded about like lambs,
praising you, O Lord! their deliverer.
(Wisdom 18:14-16; 19:6-9)
Wisdom's image conjures a proper cornucopia and an unbridled joy that frequently pops up in the scriptures. From the Psalms to the Book of Revelation, we run across several short litanies of glorious changes ahead. I'm not going to list them all, but I would like to outline the cool stuff neatly presented here. I think we get real-life visions of the coming glory, too, that match scripture’s revelatory witness to us. Quite a few of the Homeless Catholic readers live in Colorado, clearly one of the stunning states in our lovely country. This place is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
God is returning creation, the entire universe, as he designed it at the beginning of time. Even monkeys will be surprised. Image by Gerhard G.
Solomon, of course, writes this renewal soliloquy between tales of folly and foolishness, raucous behavior against courage, and always with the drastic differences between our created selves and the amazing creator. Review, though, the particulars of things we yearn for in these few verses. Solomon captures just enough to not only give us hope but to seal the deal of Jesus orchestrating all of it. Solomon couches our eternal future in earthly pictures. He confirms God's intentions as good, beautiful, permanent, and unchained. God's intentions, by the way, are to return creation, the entire universe, as he designed it at the beginning of time.
First of all, Solomon insists the coming renewal is "being made" right now in our awakening to God. I say that because he sets up the foundation of renewal as a repair of the natural laws. The natural laws aren't missing. They are broken. We know what needs fixing because brokenness stands out. We fix things every day. We're not always aware of what's broken, because we've made ourselves tolerant to both accidents and ugliness. We have even accepted amorality and immorality as a constant, like the rising of the sun. At the least, we accept them out of sheer exhaustion. At the worst, because we've been beaten into submission. That's another brokenness, isn't it?
The logic that calls brokenness normal, or even desired, by the way, is simply another broken part of the creation. We all know this. If "being made" wasn't happening the universe would spiral into total chaos. Even monkeys know something ain't right, but they're going to be surprised as we are at the new heavens and earth.
I believe God will put everything right simply because we can already reckon the repaired stuff from looking at the world in its current demolished state. There's no need to outline what's wrong with the world. We're all numbingly aware. That is, in fact, Solomon's intention. He seems to urge us to what God is reorganizing and carefully correcting right now. We can be assured by the little miracles and adjustments God has accomplished in our lives to see the complete renewal he has planned for everyone and everything.
What is the first righting that Solomon speaks about? Our children. They are already caught in God's arms from abortion and deadly abuse. Dead children go directly to God. They're simply waiting for the renewal that is to come. They will then populate this place. Solomon calls God's actions upon our children preservation of the harmed. Preservation is a finishing act. A renewed world where children are no longer harmed? Won't that assuredly happen? I'm absolutely convinced of it.
A fascinating modern worry of the seas rising from a warming climate, regardless of your science sources, gets repaired also. From beneath the waters, the land will rise, Solomon's vision tells us. I don't believe we won't have seas, but the expanse of land can easily double or triple in a renewed creation and leave us plenty of watery places. Maybe it's just me, but thinking that God's renewal allows for unlimited environments, doesn't it? There are lots of planets, so trillions of created, waiting beings should have plenty of room. Just saying.
Unimpeded roads mean road trips. Imagine a road trip on restored earth where nothing goes wrong? Grassy plains where floods pass away. The imagery fills your mind with entrancing, sensuous, and luxurious scenes.
The final imagery of play, bounding and bouncing in the world as if it's a playground, seals the deal for me. Children remind us of that expressive relief at being able to move every which way, arms flailing and joints freely twisting and twirling. It is hard not to smile at that for our upcoming daytime activity. I don't think that horses and sheep are replaced by us, but right there with us.
The imagery of Solomon isn't about letting go of anything in our creation. Rather, we'll live under God's hand with both function and form at our full disposal. What created things won't be here with us then? Slugs sound awful, but in a renewed universe they're probably a tickly wonder.
At both the beginning and the end of this renewal is our deliverer. Solomon is prophesying Jesus, the Christ as that divine administrator, king, gatherer, and lover of creation. This isn't a fantasy, a manufactured process of positive thinking. This imagery isn't to take our minds off the broken world and our tired, decaying selves. This is one of many scripture scenes of heavenly places soon (very soon) to be raised upon our renewed universe. We, believing followers, give witness to this real place. This is a true story of delight and promise.
We're going there, to a renewed here.
We surely must want everyone else to know they can come, too.