We can observe that the world (and ourselves) is a broken, messed-up, rebellious, destructive, and self-destructive place. It is also God’s good creation – beautiful and filled with glory. Such is the state we live, the times between the Fall and the Resurrection. That Resurrection – Kingdom Come, New Creation, New Heavens and New Earth, the New Jerusalem, City of God… insert abundant list of Biblical metaphors here – is the ultimate Christian hope. How do we imagine it to be?
Do we imagine that it will be as though there never was a Fall? Will it be Eden as it always should have been? Will everything broken be fixed? Of course that is true but in what way? Will it be as though there never was anything wrong? Or will anything of the fallenness be left when the world is made new?
Things will not be as they ‘always should have been’ but not exactly. Some things will not be undone but redeemed and renewed. The building of Babel’s Tower was a presumptuous act of fallen pride. God’s response of “confusing the languages” and all the division and strife that comes from it is direct judgment on early sinful humanity. Many tongues and the diversity of peoples are results of our broken world. It the world were not broken, it would be a much more homogenous place.
And yet, in the presence of King Jesus there is a mass of diversity! A multitude of beyond numbering, from every nation (not nation-states but ethnic groups), every tribe and people and language are there praising Him. Did you see that? Every language! A result of the Fall will be present before the Lord and is actually depicted as a glorious thing.
In the City of God, the New Jerusalem of the end resurrection where the world and all human society will be redeemed and remade, the nations will bring their diversity in. Yet there will be nothing unclean about it. It will no longer be the source of strife but a sign of glory. The world will not be as it was before everything went wrong. A symptom of it’s “wrongness” be remain – fixed but not undone. Something that was originally a result of fallen, broken, sinful rebelliousness will be remade and redeemed into something that is a Gospel bragging point.
This is important as we face our own broken lives, and results of our living in a sinful, fallen world. In the perfection of all things, they won’t necessarily be taken away. Renewed, remade, redeemed but not as though all sin’s effects had never happened. They can be transformed into evidence of God’s grace.