Saturday, November 3, 2007

Re-Creation

A new idea pops up in my devotional reading today. Ross (in Recalling the Hope of Glory) says that “Creation . . . provides the basis and even the pattern for God’s great work of redemption.” He goes on to explain how the judgment of the Flood and the redemption of the human race through Noah (real events in history, by the way), form a “re-creation” theme. In these events, everything was put back under water and then brought out again, much like it happened in the beginning during Creation when all was under water then the dry land appeared.

This way of looking at Scripture puzzled me at first. I’m aware of the method of Bible interpretation that sees historical events as themes and motifs. This is a ‘big picture’ look at how God repeats patterns throughout history, and these patterns illustrate His plans and purposes.

Ross uses this thematic method to say that when the world was purged and then dry land appeared after the Flood, God is following the same pattern He used in Creation. The pattern is repeated when God redeemed or saved His people from slavery in Egypt because He took them through water before they began a new life.

Part of what Ross is saying comes clearer as I think about this past month. Our bedroom got a make-over. It was a normal room with elderly bedroom furniture and a carpet that held dust, etc. that cause allergy problems for me. The mattress wasn’t that old but it didn’t give us a good night of rest. The walls were dark, maybe even gloomy. It was time for a change.

So first we painted it, with the furniture still in place. That took a month of weekends. Then we took everything out and our ‘creation’ became even more chaotic. Clothes, bedding, furniture were stacked and piled in the garage, my studio, a spare room, and even on our granddaughter’s bed.

Then the flooring installer came in and re-created the floor with hardwood. After he was finished, delivery people brought in and assembled bedroom furniture and a new mattress set.

Then I put clothes back in the closet, things from the drawers of the old suite into the drawers of the new. We hung pictures, made the bed (new size so new bedding) and ‘dressed’ the room (a term from those TV shows about redecorating). It took most of a week for all this, ending with a whole day of restoring the clothes and bedding, but when we were done, that room became a new creation.

This is a picture of what God did and is doing. He created the world and all that is in it. We messed it up with sin, and He then sent Jesus to restore and re-create. By giving us salvation and a new life here, we are giving a taste of what our full Redemption will be like when Jesus makes a new heavens and a new earth—where perfection and righteousness will prevail.

Is Ross correct with his parallel between Creation and Redemption? Probably. 1 Peter 3:20-22 hints at how Creation is an example of salvation. It says, “God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Some get sidetracked by the ‘baptism that now saves you’ part, but need to remember that baptism is just another picture or symbol. It is Jesus who saves us and 1 Corinthians 12:13 says those who are saved or redeemed are “all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” Water baptism is an outward symbol of an inner reality, a public declaration of the Redemption God has already accomplished.

This section from 1 Peter says that the water of the Flood, even though it was real water and a real flood, symbolizes the immersion of God’s people in baptism. We are immersed into Christ and, by His forgiveness, washed clean of sin and its guilt. That Redemption is symbolized in baptism. We go under the water as sinners and emerge as His new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

My bedroom make over isn’t a perfect illustration (partly because very little water was involved), but after reading these verses and thinking about what Ross says, it will be a constant visible reminder to me of the association between the marvel of Creation and the even greater marvel of Redemption.

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