In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. (Gen.1:1) The verse speaks to the beginning of all things. It also speaks to the intended reality of the Spiritual reality being aligned, connected, intersected with the physical reality. This was God’s intended purpose from the start a seamless intersection of physical and spiritual realities resulting in a larger than life existence.
But something went terribly wrong. Adam and Eve chose idolatry.(Gen. 3) They chose to worship the creation (Satan, themselves, take your pick) rather than the creator. The physical shifted out of alignment with the spiritual. The result was the introduction of death and decay into what was once perfect and uncorrupted.
So what was God’s plan to fix the whole mess?
According to rapture theology, God purposed to allow the corrupted creation to continue in order to save people through the death and resurrection of his son. Then at some future date come back to retrieve those who have been saved and whisk them away to heaven.
While this may be an oversimplification, it is the essentially the good news of many Christians. The escapism mentality, for many Christians, is the hope that the cling to. This mentality implies then that until Christ returns, death becomes desirable. The thought process goes something like this, “I must persevere in this fallen world, until I die and go be with Jesus in heaven.”
There are several problems with this pattern of thought. First, it says that death is an outcome to be desired. This is simply a fallacy. Jesus said that God is the God of the living, not the dead. All three synoptic Gospel accounts confirm this. (Matt. 22:32; Mk. 12:27; Lk. 20:38) Jesus holds the keys (authority) over death (Rev. 1:20). Jesus also said, “I have come to give you abundant life.” (John 10:10) If Jesus came to give us abundant life, why would we want to hold to ideology that implies we desire death?
Another problem with the rapture theology is that it limits redemptive nature of God. The idea of a rapture implies that God’s creation was some cosmic experiment that failed and must be scrapped and started over again. Oh certainly, there are some aspects that are redeemable such as human beings; but the overall project simply cannot be fixed or redeemed.
Pastor Chris Gore once said, “I wasn’t sure how I felt about the death penalty, but now I am against it as it limits the redemptive power of Christ.” This was spoken after his prison ministry to inmates with life sentences without parole saw an increase in conversions. These inmates were not becoming Christians simply because it might get them released. They were accepting Christ knowing that they were never getting out. It is hubris to think that God only wants to redeem human beings and relegate the rest of creation to destruction and death. Paul writes, For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom 8:20-21)
Did you catch that? The creation itself will be set free from the bondage of decay and brought into the freedom of God’s children. If then, it is to be destroyed and we are to leave it, how is that freeing it from decay. Destruction is simply decay in its ultimate form.
Finally, and most importantly, the rapture theology is simply not Biblical. The few scriptures used to in the previous points should be sufficient for that to be seen. Still, there are others especially Revelations 20 and 21.There is nothing at all in the Old Testament about being raptured. Even after 40 days of teaching the disciples were not looking to be whisked away, they were looking for the restoration of Israel. (Acts 1:6) They were not speaking of some spiritualized Israel but of a literal, physical Israel.
God is not trying to destroy this creation. He is simply going to realign Heaven and Earth into one seemless reality as intended in the beginning. Part one is complete. Jesus in an uncorrupted, physical body ascended into the spiritual. Part two is in progress in which God descends in Spirit and power into the physical. The Christian hope is not Heaven. It is not Earth. It is Heaven and Earth as it was in the beginning. It is the restoration of all things. It is Jesus as the all and in all. (Col. 3:11)