God’s Plan for Humanity—Paradise Restored or Paradise Replaced?
by Dr. Hugh Ross and Mick Ukleja
Christians argue and divide over many issues, from core issues such as the doctrine of free will to peripheral issues such as the age of the Earth. Ironically, some of the least weighty questions draw the most vigorous public debate while the more important ones receive less attention. One of these ignored controversies has significant implications for worldview, a question that either lumps Christianity with other theistic and deistic religions or sets it distinctly apart.
The many-faceted question is this: What is the Creator’s ultimate plan for humanity? Is it a grand scale restoration of the Garden of Eden, i.e., a terrestrial paradise, or is it an entirely “new” creation beyond the confines of the universe? What is the “heaven” awaiting those who receive His offer of eternal salvation?
A consideration of the big picture, a look at what God’s Word says in answer to this set of questions, can shed invaluable light on the subject of creation and focus attention on the issues that matter most. How one thinks about the future helps shape his or her response to current and past events.
The book of Revelation offers the best starting place for such an inquiry. In fact, its final chapters may be the best place for a person to begin reading Scripture. Rather than killing suspense, this end-first reading of the story quells fear and gives birth to a lively, healthy hope…
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