The Earth Abideth Forever

The Earth Abideth Forever

In order for this world to have any pertinence to God’s plan, there has to be continuity between this world and the next.  If Jesus comes, creates a clone of you from what He remembers about you, stands the clone before the judgment seat, and says, “Now clone, Armenthia was bad, so I am going to send you to hell”, would that be just?  That is what you are advocating.  God has a new creation with no relation to the old except His memory of it, and He is going to punish it?  It is like burning someone in effigy.  It is meaningless except to vent your frustration.  If you go home and kick the dog, are you punishing the one that made you mad?  No, you are punishing something else.  That is why continuity is necessary.  Justice cannot be served without it.  In the same way that justice cannot be served without continuity of the perp, neither can salvation be justly conferred without the continuity of the one saved.

The continuity of the earth is necessary because God was atoning for sin.  Jesus is the creator of the world.  He is greater than the creation, because it proceeded out of Him.  He is worth more than all the creation is or ever will be because it came from Him.  He came into the world and died for it.  His blood purified it, and his death atoned for it.  If there is a new creation without any continuity, then all of this is lost.  It is like you have a priest’s garment at the altar and sprinkle blood on it and purify it.  Then it is holy.  If you bring another one, it may look just like the old one, but it has no relation with the purified garment, and the purification and sanctification is lost, for the new garment has no connection with the old.  The purification and sanctification would have to be done all over again.

If God flushes this world and starts over, He loses everything He has done for this world.  The new world has no continuity with the old one, and the logic of sanctification and atonement is lost, just like it was for the garment.  The sacrifice of Christ in the old world has no relationship with sin in the new world.  There has to be continuity between this world and the next in order for salvation, sanctification, Christ’s sacrifice, the blood basis for forgiveness of sins, etc. to be meaningful.  Christ died once for His creation, but it has to be the same people and same material or else all His work was for nothing, but God did not create the earth in vain (Isa 45:18).  The earth remains forever (Ecc 1:4) and has to.

You go out of your way on the mangled body to make the resurrection seem difficult.  When Jesus rose from the dead, his body had been beaten, lacerated and stabbed, but He was immediately whole and even more capable than before His resurrection.  He met with 10 of the Twelve on His resurrection day and convinced them that He was real because they got to see Him with their eyes, stare at Him till they could have bored holes through Him, touched Him with their hands till they grew weary of it (I Jn 1:1), and speak with Him for 40 days (Acts 1:3) until there could not even be a shadow of a doubt that Jesus in a flesh and bones body had risen from the dead.  He challenged Thomas, “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Lk 24:39)

Was His risen body different?  Yes, in some respects it was.  He could pass through walls and disappear from sight.  He could fly through the air and keep people from recognizing Him, but He was the same Jesus.  His flesh did not see corruption, and His reanimated flesh is what came forth from the tomb.  His apostles all went to their deaths affirming this fact.

Jesus is the firstfruits.  Those that rose with Him were the firstfruits.  They were the first resurrection.  We are the later fruits, but we shall be like Him.  What He is like now is a flesh and bones Jesus that has eyes like flames of fire, feet like bronze glowing in a furnace, and a face like the sun shining in all its brilliance (Rev 1:16).  We are going to be like that (Mt 13:43, cp Ex 34:29-30, Lk 9:30-31).  Our own resurrection is so sure that God says, “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either” (I Cor 15:16).  God equates our resurrection with Christ’s in quality.  Whatever Jesus resurrection was, so is ours.  However sure Christ’s resurrection was, so is ours.  If Jesus’ body came forth from the tomb, that is what our resurrection is to be.  However, if our bodies are recreated, the created thing is not us.  It is a clone.

You can imagine all sorts of ghastly things that happened to cause people to die.  Some people have been burnt to ashes and their ashes scattered over the ocean.  Some have been ground to powder, or eaten by wild beasts and fish, but come on!  Who created man from dirt in the first place?  There was NOTHING to start with.  If God can make a man from dirt where no man ever existed, why can’t he take a body that has been mangled and returned to dust and make it whole and make it live again?  Is that really too hard?  So what if it has been blown to bits or hacked to pieces or burned to a crisp?  Is that too hard for God who formed the earth and the first man from nothing?  Do I have to know HOW God is going to raise the dead in order to believe that He can and will, because He said so?  There is even a picture of what He plans to do in Ezk 37:1-14.  There He paints a picture of the whole house of Israel.  He shows that their bodies are very dry and decomposed, but He is able to raise them up.  The bones come together, He lays sinews upon them, and He lays flesh upon them and covers them with skin.  Then He puts breath into them, and they will live.  He even gives the process of the resurrection.�

Jesus’ body did not decompose (Acts 2:27), and skeptics might argue, as you seem to be doing here, that, yeah, God can raise a body that has not decomposed, but what about one that has been dead a 1000 years?  Well, God answered that question too.  On Christ’s resurrection day, God raised 144,000 exemplars of people that had presumably been dead a loooong time, since He raised some from all 12 tribes, and 10 of them had been gone at least 750 years.  So, no burials for ten of the 12 tribes had gone on in Israel for a very long time, but God was able to raise them just fine.  They got up out of the graves, some after being dead for over a 1000 years, and went into the holy city and appeared unto many (Mt 27:52)

And, yeah, this topic of the resurrection is so important, that if you deny it, you deny the resurrection of Christ, and you thereby deny Christ and Christianity.  You cannot deny the resurrection and be a faithful Christian.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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