I was listening to Tim Keller’s sermon called “Culture” in his series, The Vision of Redeemer, and encountered this amazing summary of the Christian hope:
In the future you have all these cultural activities going on. Why? Because our future is a material future. The book of Revelation makes it very clear. At the end of time, the end of history, we do not see us as individuals leaving the material world and going off into some ethereal realm, a disembodied spiritual realm. Instead we see the power of God coming down to cleanse and perfect this material world. So if you want to see the future of the human race, you look at Jesus after the resurrection when he had his absolutely perfect glorified body, but he could eat a fish. You could put your hand through the nail prints and you could feel him. Now contrary to everything you’ve ever heard through Star Trek, the evolutionary future of the human race will not be balls of light or points of consciousness. We are going to hug and be hugged. We are literally going to eat, drink, and dance in the kingdom of God.*
God’s aim is not whisk us away at death or evacuate the planet on the last day. He designed and created our world and equipped us to live on it. As Keller puts it, “Here in the beginning…is God with his hands in the soil making us.” The material world is neither evil nor a copy of some higher immutable realm (read more about this in my paper, “Rejecting the Kingdom: 1 Too Crude“). God made our world; he called it good; one day he will set it aright, not toss it into a cosmic trash heap.
*Tim Keller, “Culture” in The Vision of Redeemer series (sermon, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, NY, October 30, 2005).