The third key element of the biblical worldview is redemption. That means God buying back what was lost. And if we take the biblical accounts of sin seriously, it’s clear that the whole created order was corrupted by the Fall. So, building on an understanding of Creation and Fall, we see that Redemption is the way that God’s original purposes for the filling and cultivating of the earth may continue despite sin. In other words, it’s not a Plan B, but the rescuing of Plan A:
How does the Bible describe the process of redemption? The focus is surely Jesus Christ – and in the gospel narratives I see Jesus in two lights. He’s both God’s ideal human being, and my ideal image of God. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John show Jesus as both ‘Son of Man’ and ‘Son of God’, priest and prophet, Suffering Servant and King of Kings. Jesus’ life is a miracle from start to finish, yet thoroughly human – and that’s how I can dare to identify with him. I’m nowhere near living such a powerful, game-changing, compassionate and healing life as he did. But at the story of the Crucifixion, mercifully, the spotlight turns on Jesus and shows him as the second Adam who stands between Heaven and earth, bringing the story begun in Genesis to its climax, paying the incredible cost of buying back the whole creation from the grip of evil.
The focus is Jesus – and the focus is also God’s people Israel, and through them, me and all who believe – and ultimately all humanity. We who believe are the firstfruits of God’s redemption project, redeemed sinners called by God to participate in the work of redemption under Jesus the sinless King. That certainly gives meaning and direction to my life! What does it mean for me at work as an academic, a student of God’s created order?
So far I have several answers to this question, and I hope to find more. First, I work in love with Jesus and in great gratitude for God’s grace in bringing me to a place of peace and hope. Second, I work in the knowledge that Christ’s redemptive work, rescuing God’s Plan A, makes possible good work by all kinds of people, including valid science and its application for good (common grace). Third, I want my work to contribute to confronting the effects of sin. In my case, that may mean preserving species, habitats and ecosystems from extinction, pollution and degradation. Fourth, I hope that the best parts of my work will somehow be part of the new creation – some of those things that may survive the fires of cleansing and be brought into the New Jerusalem (1 Cor 3:14, Rev 21:26, etc). I’ve long wondered whether some of the very species of animals and plants that we now know may enter into the new earth – but that’s lofty speculation, of course!