Redemption Of Creation
We ended (Part Two) with the thought that God is a Creator – not a destroyer and within Him is infinite love and Blessing shared by all creatures, a love awaiting fulfillment in Christ, “And God made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1 v 9-10).
The Christian faith has within it an urgent message concerning our need of salvation, a need which can be filled by our acceptance of Jesus as Saviour. We each have within us the sin of Adam who “fell” into separation from God, but we each have also the opportunity of identifying with the “Second Adam”, namely Jesus, who paid the full price of that sin. For this salvation, we humans must make a choice; an acceptance of, or a rejection of, the gift of forgiveness offered by the Cross.
But animals can make no such choice; they do not have the ability to reject the gift of forgiveness, if indeed they can be regarded as culpable at all, when their fallenness is thrust upon them. Though they share with humankind the disorder of a fallen world and bear cruel sufferings at the hands of humankind, we have Christian grounds for the hope that the soul of each and every individual creature, human and non-human, has the capacity to return in love to God the Creator. It is human self-centredness which seeks to limit the Blessings of Christ’s redemption to humanity alone.
Jesus Is Lord
Christianity is the simplest, yet the most difficult of all faiths. It requires nothing more, yet nothing less than complete trust in Jesus. It is a simple, childlike acceptance of His infinite Lordship, but an acceptance which every part of our intellect and independence, together with every worldly influence, encourages us to reject. Faith has to overcome intellectual barriers. Jesus said: “I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (Mark 10 v 15).
Each one of us then must make our own choice. Do we accept that Jesus is the Christ, who for all time has the power to offer mankind forgiveness of sins and life in eternity with God; the Christ in whom all creation will be redeemed? Jesus Himself claimed to be this Saviour and His saving grace is for the whole creation: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go then to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples. And I will be with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28 v 18-20).
If, however, Jesus was mistaken and had no such relationship with God, then He was no more than a misguided and arrogant preacher who was executed, according to the law of His day, for blasphemy and we should have no grounds or justification for offering Him the worship we owe to God. We should then be fully entitled to worship God, the Creator, in any one of our chosen ways.
Christianity is rooted in the unique relationship between Christ Jesus and God; a relationship which has effected a reconciliation between God and His creation. This essential belief is denied by ALL other world faiths, which do acknowledge Jesus as a prophet and a teacher, but which deny both His claims of Divinity and the saving grace of the Cross. Adherence to other faiths must therefore, by the very nature of these faiths, preclude our acceptance of Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Tolerance, friendship and dialogue with other religions at a secular level, there should always be; anything less would deny the all embracing nature of the love and Lordship of Christ Jesus. But joint worship, or to say that all faiths are of equal value, would be to deny that Lordship.
Most Christians are aware that the New Age movement presents an opposition to Christianity but, at the same time, they recognise that numerous ‘caring’ concerns are leaning heavily towards New Age philosophies. For this reason many Christians shun these concerns, including that of animal welfare. Tragically, thousands of Christians are paralysed with fear, suspecting these genuine concerns as being of the devil. But what we should be doing is claiming back the ground which Satan has taken. Authors John and Christine Noble illustrate this point in their book, ‘Everyman’s Guide to the Holy Spirit, the End of the World and You’:
“Some years ago, John started the Rainbow Company, as part of the Servant Group (a Christian Renewal Group). We were at Greenbelt (Christian Festival), selling T-shirts and novelties, many of which had rainbows in the design. John was approached by a well-known international author, who was wandering round the tent with a frown on his face. ‘Do you realise what the rainbow symbolises?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ was the instant reply, ‘it is a sign of God’s promise to creation.’ ‘Ah, but didn’t you know the New Agers have adopted it as their logo?’ ‘Yes,’ said John again, ‘but I have claimed it back for the Lord!’
The Enemy steels our ground little by little, till in the end we retreat into a totally defensive mode. Because New Age cares for the earth and the animals, is pioneering for women’s rights, is into holistic medicine and healing and is concerned for unity, we dare not vacate these areas and passively surrender them. We must find the Holy Spirit’s answer and take this territory for Jesus. It will not be gained without a battle, but we have the promise that every place where the soles of our feet tread shall be ours. The phrase ‘New Age’ itself, actually belongs to our God and has been hijacked.”
Countless social movements and ideologies, including that of animal welfare, are now mainly secular whereas, in essence, they lie within the love and compassion of Jesus. New Age is, actually, not new. It is part of the ‘old disobedience’ dating back to the Fall (Genesis 3), when humankind chose separation from God and decided upon a ‘do-it-yourself salvation’, a ‘man-made new age’. But the real ‘new age’ is something humankind will never achieve alone, and which we shall only know when we know Jesus face-to-face.
In the real ‘new age’ which will come at a time appointed by God, when the fallen values of this world will be overturned by the love of Jesus, perfect love will be manifested in all its forms – “You can be sure that when the Son Of Man sits on His glorious throne in the new age . . . “ (Matthew 19 v 28). Until that time comes, the more we grow to love Christ Jesus, the Creator, Saviour and Redeemer of all creation, the more we shall learn to love and respect His creatures. The New Age movement is very complex, but a rough definition of it would include any system or ideology, be it secular or spiritual, which seeks to replace the authority of God in Christ.
That is not to say, however, that Christians should not work with secular organisations who are forging ahead with ‘caring’ concerns. It is to the shame of many Christians that they have handed over the responsibility of stewardship of so many godly issues to a secular world; and we should indeed work at all these concerns, which represent the compassionate values of God’s Kingdom. For how can it be possible to proclaim God as Love; and Christ Jesus as Lord of Creation; whilst at the same time ignoring the misery and groaning of that suffering creation, be it human or non-human?
The ways and values of the secular world were the opposition of “the world” for Jesus and the apostles (John 17). Corruption and strife, both religious and secular, were “the world” for St Francis of Assisi. Materialism, indulgence and exploitation are “the world“ for Christians of today. “The world” has always been opposed to the Gospel – but what we MUST do is shine as a light, however tiny, in its darkness. The Book of Revelation reminds us that, though judgment is within the love of Christ Jesus, the responsibility to share the Gospel is always ours. “Then I was told, ‘Once again you must proclaim God’s message about many nations, races, languages and kings'” (Revelation 10 v 10).
‘Part Four’ – ‘Green And Red…emption – Both Are Needed’, ‘Values And Forgiveness’, ‘Truth’, will follow shortly! Thank you for reading and following our blog! We hope you will ‘like’ and ‘share’ it! Your comments are always welcome! ~Ros