The Need for a Truly Cosmic Soteriology
We need a truly cosmic soteriology. By that, I mean that Christians need a soteriology that embraces God's plans for the whole of creation. Most Christians focus on deliverance of individuals from the eternal consequences of sin and forget the eschatological dimesion of redemption. Dispensationalists are strong on eschatology, but at times, they may fail to make a strong enough connection between soteriology and eschatology.
The whole of creation is to be redeemed. At present it is in bondage to sin and has lost its orginal goodness. Most Christians fail to acknwledge God's rescue plan for the creation by talking about the world endind or being destroyed. One of the strong points of Reformed theology is that it maintains that the world will not be destroyed but transformed. The New Earth is not a completely new planet, but it is the old earth regenerated and transformed.
Even those who can see a continuity between the old and new earth can fail to see the redemption of creation; often the New Earth is though of in higly ethereal terms. If the original earth was good, then it seems unlikely that the New Earth will be all that different.
That there is good news for creation means that there is good news for the corporeality or physicality of humanity. While believers of this dispensation will be resurrected to heavenly glory, what of God's original blueprint for humnanity? Is marriage and child-bearing too be discarded as inadequate for the New Creation? I believe there are indications in Scripture that non-glorified humnaity will be redeemed and will continue from the Millennium into eternity. The Bible says nothing about the millennial nations being raptured (changed). The believers of the Millennium will presumably continue into the eternal state in bodies like ours, except freed from death.
A question I would put to readers, is whether there is redemption for the female sex? Will Eve's curse ever be removed? Women are destined to suffer in childbirth for Eve's sin. Is there never too be a time when such a curse is lifted and childbirth is painless? If we allow that non-glorified humanity has a future and that family life was created to be an eternal part of God's creation, then there is hope for womankind.
A truly cosmic soteriology will also recognise that creation will be deified, that the whole universe will enter into a special union with God and the universe will become the dwelling place of God in a way that it has never been before. We see this clearly:
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 15
The fulness of what is meant by this is difficult for our finite minds to grasp.
A truly cosmic soteriology will also recognise redemption in the heavenly sphere as well as the earthly sphere and it is to that the believer is brought.
Christians too often fail to grasp the incredible position into which they are brought in their salvation. The Christian is a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We share in Christ's vital union of manhood and deity and in Him we are deified and brought into the divine life. What is eternal life, but to enjoy the love and life of the eternal Triune godhead?
In our resurrection, we are to share even more deeply in Christ's divine glory. For our bodies shall be changed to resemble His own glorified body. The Transfiguration is a foreshadowing of this glorious future.
For the faithful Christian, who overcomes the world, there is an even greater privilege. To sit down with Christ on His throne (Rev 3:21). The throne of the eternal Son of God. To share in His sovereign rule over the universe. The faithful Christian is to become as divine a being as a creature can become. Naturally, we must be careful about saying that a man or woman can become a god. Such a statement is too easily misunderstood, but it is not far from the incredible truth of what God has in store for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.