Incomplete Picture: Not so very good

What happens when we have an incomplete, incorrect, or inadequate understanding of the doctrine of Creation?

When God created the world he joined together material and spiritual reality. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1:31) God was very pleased with the physical world he had created. These material and spiritual realities were always meant to exist as an integrated reality.

There have always been those who have sought to drive a wedge between those realities. Pure materialists simply attempt to deny that the spiritual reality exists.

Others recognize that we are spiritual/physical beings. They also recognize that our physical bodies are subject to sickness, decay, temptation, and weakness. This is quite a good observation and in line with Scripture. We are from dust and to dust we will return.

A problem begins to arise when we start assigning moral qualities to our spirits and our bodies. Inevitably, the spirit wins out. The body is bad (look what that lust made me do!) but the spirit is good (after all, it continues on in existence after the body is destroyed).

Long ago, Gnostics actually believed that the “creator god” of the Old Testament was actually just an inept or evil deity who created an inferior physical reality. The spiritual god of the New Testament came to save us from the “creator god” by freeing us from our physical bodies. Our way to heaven (completely spiritual reality) was through special knowledge.

Gnostics, at least in that traditional sense, are long gone. But there are still many who see our salvation primarily in terms of escape from our physical condition, as though there was a problem with God’s original design. This is where we get the idea that heaven involves strumming harps on clouds.

While we do have the hope that, at death, we will be “absent with the body but present with the Lord,” our ultimate hope is not to live as eternal disembodied spirits. Our ultimate hope is that at the resurrection we will receive spiritual bodies, not subject to decay, weakness, or temptation. And we won’t be floating in the clouds but enjoying the very material reality of the New Earth.

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2 thoughts on “Incomplete Picture: Not so very good

  1. remingtonmoll

    Amen! When I think about floating around in a Platonic heaven in the clouds I sort of feel depressed. But when I think about diving into a cold clear pristine river in the New Earth, I feel a nervous excitement…

  2. Pingback: Incomplete Picture: Beginnings | The Slasher Pastor

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