In the beginning God created a perfect universe. When He had completed His work, God declared the universe and all its features and creatures to be “very good’ (Ge 1 31). Life prevailed. Animals lived in peace. Mankind lived in peace. Mankind and animals walked together without fear of one another. There was no sickness. There was no death. This was the state of original righteousness. See Is 26 19 discussion.
The universe was perfect in every way. God had given mankind everything they needed. In fact, God had given them all that was good and had withheld no good thing.
But mankind wanted more. They wanted what God had not given them, and they took what God had withheld for their good. With this act of defiance came death not only death to mankind but also death to the entire universe. Disease; death, and decay replaced the life, concord, and order God had created.
But God knew this before He began His work of Creation. God knew people would destroy His perfect universe. God knew they would bring death upon themselves. So God prepared a plan, a way to rescue people from the situation they had created for themselves. God, the Creator of all, would become a man and die the death people had brought upon themselves in order that they could once again live. God sent His Son into the World in human flesh to bring about this new Creation.
When Jesus’ work was completed on the sixth day of the week, He cried out ‘It is finished,’ and then He rested in His tomb on the Sabbath. On Easter Sunday, the first day of new Creation, the God-Man who had died arose victorious over death and the grave to usher in the new Creation, in which those who die shall live and those who live shall never die as we read in Jn 11 2-26. God provided Isaiah a glimpse of this new Creation more than 700 years before God became flesh in Christ.
The New Creation
Isaiah recorded God’s plan of creating new heavens and a new earth so unique, so beautiful, so wondrous, that the former things shall not be remembered’ as we read in Is 65 17. In this new Creation, neither the sound of weeping nor cries of distress would be heard (v 19). The glorious new life in Christ would never be cut short by death. Predator and prey would dwell together in harmony. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together (v 25). Carnivores would once again be herbivores. The lion shall eat straw like the ox (Is 65 25). Once again, animals would live together in peace. People would live in peace. People and animals would once again walk together without fear of the other. Just as God had created the original Creation, so there would be no destruction or violence in this new world. There would be no crime or terrorism. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, says the LORD (Is 65 25). In this Creation, God would preserve mankind and angels from falling into sin. Never again would sin, Satan, or death stalk God’s creatures.
The Future Is Now
This new Creation is not merely a future hope. It is also a present reality. Christ completed the work of the new Creation on the cross. Already, now, you are a new Creation. No longer are you bound by sin and death. With new life created by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament, the old has passed away for you. St. Paul wrote, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor 5 17).
You live in the time of ‘now, but not yet’. God’s new Creation is a present reality of which your new life in Christ is the evidence. But the totality of this Creation has not yet been revealed. As a result, the old Adam lives alongside the new man in constant daily struggle. We live in a world ripe with the consequences of sin. We live in a world engulfed with the suffering that will be gone forever in the new world. Though we suffer these consequences of sin such as sickness, suffering, pain and death, all of Creation groans with us as we await the redemption of our bodies (Ro 8 22-23).
We don’t know all the details of the new Creation such as how old our bodies will be or what daily life will be like. Still, this we know: the reality will exceed our expectations and ‘the former things shall not be remembered’ (Is 65 17).
As you await with all of Creation the redemption of your body, read Is 65 17-25 again. Close your eyes and ponder anew the new Creation God has made for you. For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create (Is 65 17-18).