Eternal and Holy Father,

You have transformed Your children through the Sacrament of Baptism to be a new creation in Christ.  This transformation prefigures the definitive new creation at the end of time when all the redeemed receive their glorified bodies and enter into to New Heaven and the New Earth You will prepare for us.  It is an event that is incomprehensible to our finite mortal minds but we have the hope and the confidence of the promises You have made to us concerning the state of eternal bliss into which our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ will carry His bride, the Church.  Send Your Holy Spirit, Lord, to guide us in this final lesson on the Eight Last Things of concern for the human family.  We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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Then a voice came from the throne; it said, "Praise our God, you servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike."  And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder, answering, "Alleluia!  The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give glory to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb.  His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because the linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.  The angel said, "Write this, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb'... Revelation 19:5-9


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride dressed for her husband.  Revelation 21:1-2


Writing to the universal Church in the 1st century AD St. Peter warned: The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up.  Since everything is coming to an end like this, what holy and saintly lives you should be living while you wait for the Day of God to come, and try to hasten its coming: on that Day the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for, relying on his promises, is the new heavens and new earth, where uprightness will be at home [2 Peter 3:10-13].  St. Peter's warning is as relevant today as it was a little less than 2,000 years ago.  He was writing of the final transformation of Creation as we know it when the Kingdom of God comes to its completion and the Church into her perfection in the passing away of the old creation in purifying fire and the birth of the new heaven and new earth in the restoration of the entire cosmos.  This is the new creation which St. Peter preached in Acts 3:20 when he prophesized the events of the Second Coming of Christ in the Temple in Jerusalem, Then he (God) will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets.


The Bishops of the Universal Magisterium refer to Peter's message in Acts when they speak of this promised restoration of creation in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium 48The Church, to which we are all called in Christ Jesus, and in which we acquire sanctity through the grace of God will attain its full perfection only in the glory of heaven, when there will come the time of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).  At that time the human race, as well as the entire world, which is intimately related to man and attains to its end through him, will be perfectly reestablished in Christ.


Question: St. Paul spoke of the new creation in Ephesians 1:10 and Colossians 1:19-20.  How does St. Paul describe this event in these passages?

Answer: In Ephesians 1:10 he says that when time has run it course that everything will be brought together under Christ as the "head"'in the heavens and everything on earth.  In Colossians 1:19-20 Paul writes: ...because God wanted all fullness to be found in him and through him to reconcile all things to him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, my making peace through his death on the cross.  The fall of man and the introduction of sin and death into creation upset the whole order and peace of the cosmos.

The whole of creation has been cut off from the Creator by the fall of Adam causing the death and decomposition of the created order.  The end of this chaos began on the cross but order won't be fully established until the Second Coming when Christ brings everything together as a whole united by Him as the head to re-attach creation to God.  At that time there will be a renewal of heaven and earth and a reconciliation of creation with humanity and angelic beings in perfect submission to the will of God as it was in Eden before the time of the fall from grace of our original parents.


Question: Is this promised restoration of creation only a New Testament promise or were there prophecies of this return to the state of Eden in the Old Testament?  See Isaiah 65:17-25 and 66:18-24 and compare this new creation to Eden before the Fall.

Answer: The Old Testament people of God had an understanding of a Final Judgment and a new creation.  The concept of creation, de-creation, and regeneration is a major theme of Sacred Scripture.  Isaiah 65 begins with prophecies of a terrible coming judgment, but verse 15b turns to consolation and promises of restoration for the faithful servants of God in a return to the lost Edenic paradise: For look, I am going to create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered and will come no more to mind.  Rather be joyful, be glad for ever at what I am creating, for look, I am creating Jerusalem to be "Joy" and my people to be "Gladness" [Isaiah 65:17-18].  The passage continues to promise a paradise where each of the curses of the Fall will be removed:

  1. No weeping, no loss of infants after birth, and prolonged life in verses 19-20 suggests there will be no death; death was a result of the sin introduced in the Fall of Adam.  This passage suggests the removal of the curse of Genesis 3:16.
  2. That they will plant crops that produce and will not toil in vain in verse 21-23 suggests the removal of the curse of Genesis 3:18-19.
  3. All animals will experience perfect peace [verse 25] and will eat together rather than eat each other in a reversal of the conditions after the Great Flood when the eating of animals was permitted and animals experienced fear for the first time in Genesis 9:2-3.
  4. That "dust is the serpent's food" in verse 25 suggests a continuation of the curse of Genesis 3:14 where the serpent is cursed On your belly you will go and on dust you will feed as long as you live'but perhaps a reprieve from the curse on man that he would return to the dust in Genesis 3:19.


Isaiah 66:18-24 is the last passage in the Book of Isaiah. Verse 18 is the beginning of an eschatological discourse which envisions the end of time when God will come to gather all nations of the human family.  In verse 22 the prophet speaks of a new creation: For as the new heavens and the new earth I am making will endure before me, declares Yahweh, so will your race and your name endure.  The passage ends with a vision of all of the righteous in the family of man, Israelites and Gentiles, worshiping Yahweh in peace and joy but the "rebellious" are consigned to eternal torment.


Question: Does Jesus speak of the New Creation during His ministry?  See Matthew 19:27-29.

Answer: In this passage Jesus promises the Apostles that they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel when everything is made new again and the Son of man is seated on his throne of glory.  Jesus is referring to the renewal of creation at the end of the Age of man.


Question: Why is it necessary that not only mankind be reborn and renewed but that creation should also be transformed?  See Romans 8:18-23.

Answer:  Man is intimately associated with creation. He has had a sacred and profound relationship with the earth from the time of creation when Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth.  It makes sense that God should not only renew mankind who was damaged by sin but also creation which was also corrupted and deformed by sin.  During His ministry Jesus didn't just forgive sins, he cured the afflicted, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead, He renewed the natural world.  St. Paul writes in Romans 8:19 and 21: the whole of creation is waiting with eagerness for the children of God to be revealed.  It is God's plan that the whole creation itself might be freed from its slavery to corruption and brought into the same glorious freedom as the children of God.  This restoration is the common destiny of the cosmos and man.  The universe will participate in the resurrection and the Final Judgment by being transformed into the fullness of the Kingdom where Christ the Bridegroom will live with His Bride in the eternal Jerusalem by returning the cosmos to its original state as a New Eden.  See CCC# 1046.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines this event as the hope of the new heaven and the new earth in CCC# 1042-1050.

Question: What are the main points of citations 1042-45?



Sacred Scripture describes the glorification of both man and the cosmos in the new creation in Revelation 19:1-9; 21:1- 22:5.  Please read those passages. 

A summary of St. John's vision of the new creation:


CCC# 1060: At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness.  Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed.  God will then be "all in all" (1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life.


In St. John's final vision of the new creation Jesus the King of kings gives this blessing to the Church: Blessed are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city.  Others must stay outside....  Let us all strive to be those who enter the gates of the New Jerusalem!   It is a hope which the Church has treasured since the Ascension of the Savior.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote concerning this hope: True and subsistent life consists in this: the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, pouring out his heavenly gifts on all things without exception.  Thanks to his mercy, we too, men that we are, have received the inalienable promise of eternal life. 


Catechism References:

The New Creation

1042: God's plan for the end of time

1043: the unity of God's plan

1044: the heavenly Jerusalem

1045: final realization of the unity of the human race

1046: healing of the cosmos

1047: visible universe shares in the glorification of Christ and man

1048: we do not know the time of this last event

1049: our continued concern for this creation

1050: the final hope of eternal life

Resources used in this lesson:

  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church
  2. New Jerusalem Bible
  3. Crossing the Threshold of Hope, John Paul II, 1999.
  4. Dogmatic Theology: Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life, Johann Auer, Joseph Ratzinger, Catholic University of America Press, 1988.
  5. Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, edited by Russell Shaw, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Huntington, Indiana, 1997.
  6. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, volume 5, Christian Classics, Benziger Bros., New York, 1948
  7. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, volume 2:  Augustine:  City of God, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995.
  8. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, volume 3: Augustine: On the Trinity, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995.
  9. The Baltimore Catechism volume 4, Rev. Thomas Kinkeade, Tan Books Publishers, 1978.

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