Blog readers here know I particularly like to focus my attention on the many consequences of Christ’s glorious resurrection, the promise of the New Creation being one of these consequences. Recently I came across the following quote in a really excellent book by Michael Williams, Far As The Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption (P&R, 2005). This comes under the heading “The Resurrection Previews the Final Chapter: The Restoration of Creation.”
The flesh Jesus takes on in the incarnation is a flesh he never lays down. It is there in his ministry: Immanuel, God with us, come in the flesh to cure his broken world. And that same flesh, repaired, renewed, and glorified in resurrection, is there in the risen and ascended Christ. In Jesus’ bodily resurrection we view with Thomas the very meaning of the resurrection: the restoration of creation.
G. C. Berkouwer once observed that if we conceive of the Christian faith—and what it proclaims about human destiny and the goal of all things—apart from reference to the resurrection of Christ, without appreciating its nature as the restoration of all things, then we have not truly grasped the nature of redemption. Since we have been born again to “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3), the hope of the believer “rests on a promise inseparable from the salvation already granted” in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
In God’s mighty act of raising Jesus bodily from the grave we are right to glimpse the final chapter of the drama of redemption. Indeed, an understanding of redemption that fails to take its moorings from Christ’s victory over sin and death via bodily resurrection, and the promise of ultimate restoration of all things declared by the empty tomb, is not a biblical understanding of redemption at all. …
The resurrection is something of a foretaste, a movie trailer or commercial for God’s ultimate future, for in Christ’s resurrection we have a picture of the future given before its arrival. The end is seen ahead of time. As the beginning and foretaste of the future, the resurrection is the firstfruits or the first stage of the coming redemption. The bodily resurrection of Christ not only signifies God’s victory over sin and death but also declares the nature of that victory. It is total, comprehensive; so comprehensive that it claims that history is moving toward nothing less than a fully restored and glorified universe. Those who are in Christ, along with the entirety of creation, will receive his resurrection life upon his appearing (Rom. 8:21-25).