You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
Last week, we saw evidence from Revelation 21 and Isaiah 60 that some of our work has a shot at physically lasting into eternity. But since that idea seems too good to be true, today I want to look at three other pieces of evidence for this idea.
First, it’s simply not in God’s nature to ask his children to create things only to destroy them. In Genesis 1:28, God issued the First Commission to humankind: to fill the earth. Pastor Timothy Keller points out that this is a call to “not just procreation, but also cultural creation.” And it’s simply not in God’s character to watch his children obey that command by making bicycles, software, and Nutella only to throw those creations away. Good earthly fathers don’t do that. Do we really think our perfect heavenly father will?
Second, by redeeming the work of our hands, God will get greater glory. Randy Alcorn nails this saying, “Some may think it silly or sentimental to suppose that nature, animals, paintings, books, or a baseball bat might be resurrected. It may appear to trivialize the coming resurrection. I would suggest that it does exactly the opposite: It elevates resurrection, emphasizing the power of Christ to radically renew mankind—and far more.”
Read today’s passage again. The saints are singing, “You are worthy, our Lord…for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Commenting on this passage, Andy Crouch asks, “Wouldnʼt it be strangely empty to sing that song in a new world where all those things…were now only a memory?” Of course it would! By redeeming our sin-ladened work and carrying some of it onto the New Earth, God will get greater glory, which is precisely the point of eternity.
Finally, the scars on Jesus’s hands give us further evidence that some work will last forever. Think about it. Jesus’s resurrected body included “nail marks” from when the Romans hung him on the cross (see John 20:24-27). And what are those marks? The work of human hands. The brilliant theologian, Dr. Darrell Cosden, explains that “the crucifixion was a ‘work’ carried out by many people…And since [Jesus’s] body, still containing those scars, is now ascended back into the Godhead, the results of at least this particular ‘human work’ are guaranteed to carry over into God’s as well as our own future and eternal reality.”
Of course, the fact that the wicked work of the Roman soldiers and what John and Isaiah called “the glory of the nations” are physically present for eternity raises an important question: Which work will last and which won’t? We’ll attempt to answer that question together next week.