This week we begin with Question 26 of the New City Catechism, found in Part 2 (questions 21-35), which focuses on Christ, redemption, and grace.
Question 26: What else does Christ’s death redeem?
Answer: Christ’s death is the beginning of the redemption and renewal of every part of fallen creation, as he powerfully directs all things for his own glory and creation’s good.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, it was not only humanity that was affected by their actions. In response to their sin, God pronounced a curse on the ground, which would not only make man’s labor frustrating and difficult from that point on, but would also culminate in the ground eventually swallowing up the dead bodies of men (Gen. 3:17-20). Adam was made from the dust of the ground, and to dust he would return.
But the ground is not eager to swallow up God’s image bearers. The earth was not created to be a graveyard. This is why Isaiah pictures the earth itself in mourning over the sad realities of sin and death (Isa. 24:4-13). God never intended human beings to die. He created us to rule over this world for its flourishing. He gave us the original task of filling and subduing the earth, consecrating it unto the holy purpose of orientation toward God in the development of a worldwide culture of holiness (Gen. 1:28). Sin and death have thwarted that potential, but Christ’s atoning work will restore it all.
Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Isaiah 24. What does this chapter teach us about God’s coming judgment? What does it teach us about the effects of sin and death on the earth itself?