The Secretary of the Anglican Communion Environment Network ACEN), Dr Rachel Mash, reflects on the global climate crisis.
Does the Climate Crisis cause you to despair? As Environmental Coordinator for the Church of Southern Africa, this is a question that I am often asked. And the answer is no, because I believe in a “New Earth”.
How we understand the concept of “New Earth” is fundamental for Christians in the present environmental crisis. Does God promise us a Planet B?
We sing choruses like “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, if heaven’s not my home then Lord, what will I do?”
This theology teaches that the new Earth is not here, it is somewhere else still to come. In the words of Billy Graham – “When God says, ‘Behold, I make all things new’, the emphasis is on all things. One day we shall live in a brand-new world.”
Is there a Spiritual Planet B – a brand new world waiting for us somewhere?
When we consider the original Greek for the word “new” – there are two words in Greek – “Neos” (brand-new) and “Kainos” (renewed).
Dave Bookless of A Rocha gives the example of a car in a serious accident. It is written off and the insurance company gives you a brand new “neos” car. Or, perhaps it is sent to the panel beater, restored, renewed, given a new engine, this is “kainos” – renewed vehicle.
In this passage “new heaven and earth” the word is kainos – meaning a restored, renewed heaven and earth.
Romans 8:21 tells us that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. This is a picture of renewal, not of a brand new earth – there is no Planet B.
So, we cannot lapse into despair and apathy – God is calling us to take part in the renewal of this beautiful blue Planet. We cannot lose hope when we hear the cry of Creation “standing on tip toe, waiting for the children of God to be revealed” (Rom 8:19)
We are the ones we have been waiting for. . .