Im Hinblick auf die TGC Konferenz 2015 unter dem Thema Coming Home – New Heaven and New Earth schrieb D. A. Carson eine hilfreiche Einordnung. Das Buch zur Konferenz wird nächstens herauskommen.
- First, Christianity makes little sense without the certain prospect of resurrection existence in the new heaven and the new earth. "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Cor. 15:19). Just as the destination of a journey generates much of the meaning for the steps taken to get there, so the consummation of eternal life in the presence of the risen Christ, the anticipation of his gracious "Well done!", the attainment of consistent holiness with no taint of sin, and the sheer joy of resurrection life lived in the unabated glory of God himself, work together to make sense of each day's discipleship here and now. As an old hymn puts it, the Christian sings, ". . . and daily pitch my moving tent / A day's march nearer home." For better and for worse, our hearts attach themselves to what we treasure most―which is why the Lord Jesus wants us to value supremely "treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:20).
- Second, the Bible correspondingly teaches us not to become too attached to what is merely transient. However much this present world points toward material, resurrection existence, nevertheless the present world order will pass away. To become so enthralled by temporary things, even good and beautiful temporary things, that we do not pant after the sheer perfection of consummated glory, is to spiral down into idolatry.
- Third, at a time of increased global awareness, we cannot fail to observe how countless numbers of brothers and sisters in Christ in many parts of the world live out their Christian pilgrimage under the constant threat of opposition, persecution, and poverty. They have little difficulty understanding that if we suffer with him, we will also reign with him. They understand how to align themselves with Christians across the century whose cry has been, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). To focus all our attention on the "already" side of the "already / not yet" tension is not only to distort Scripture but to demean brothers and sisters who in fact see some things more clearly than we do. Moreover, not a few pressures are building up in the West that may well generate the kind of opposition and persecution that believers elsewhere have long experienced―and one of the most stabilizing things we can do to prepare people for this is to increase believers' hope of the new heaven and the new earth.
- Fourth, this is a doctrine we are in danger of downplaying too much. If in other decades many Christians fought ferociously for the particulars of specific eschatological interpretations, we find ourselves in the opposite danger: for the sake of peace, we ignore passages and themes that show us how to live with eternity's values in view. The result is that many Christians live their lives with only the vaguest notions of "the blessed hope."
- Fifth, it is important to glimpse the fact that these themes are buttressed by the structures of biblical theology. They rise out of much more than a handful of proof texts.
- Sixth, quite a number of younger Reformed leaders, under the influence of Tom Wright, are so identifying eschatological hope with a certain kind of “kingdom witness” and the like that social and political reconstruction trump the eschaton as that for which we ultimately hope.