A new creation

Rev Dr Kenneth Patterson

17.9.2022 | Mission in Ireland, Farming & Rural Life

There often seems not much good in the world. For farmers this may materialise in a lack of rainfall or a range of plant and animal diseases which farmers constantly battle, for example. Yet Kenneth Patterson writes that God described his creation as ‘very good’, The Bible, however, explains how things changed through sin and humanity’s rebellion against God. The good news is there is a way that each of us can be forgiven and one day enter a new heaven and a new earth.

The Bible is God’s revelation to all people. In it He tells us many things which we could never find out by ourselves, especially things about Himself and His character. For example, we read that God is Almighty, loving, and gracious. We also discover the fact that He is good as well!

In Psalm 25:8 we see that, ‘Good and upright is the LORD’. It follows that if God is good in Himself, then everything that He does must also be good. We see this in the beginning when God created all things in the space of six days, and then He ‘saw all that He had made, and it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31). It had to be good, because that is God’s nature!

Natural disasters, wars, and wickedness

But as we look on the world now, we could not say that it is ‘very good’, especially when we see the natural disasters, wars, and wickedness, which are everywhere. Now the Bible tells us that this is all the result of sin and our rebellion against God, which began with Adam and Eve, and continues to this day in the heart of every human being.

One obvious result of sin is described in Genesis 3, when God explains that the earth itself, the natural world, would suffer because of sin: it would produce thorns and thistles, and would need painful toil to cultivate it (Genesis 3:17-19). Modern farming is continually involved in this struggle, with things which are now in the world as a result of sin.

For example, think of the recent lack of rainfall, and the whole range of plant and animal diseases which farmers constantly try to combat. A friend of mine years ago often used a quaint old saying to describe this struggle, he would say ‘the wind is in your face every way you turn’, and no-doubt farming sometimes feels like that.

In Romans 8:22, the Apostle Paul speaks of all creation ‘groaning’ because of sin. That is quite a strong description of the struggles which we see in so many ways in the world, in our own lives, and in farming also. So this world is a struggling world because mankind is in rebellion against our Creator. And it will remain that way as long as time lasts, because there will never be a perfectly happy, peaceful, and struggle-free world as long as there are sinful people.

Good News of the Gospel

But the message of the Gospel is that about 2,000 years ago, Jesus, the Son of God, came to deal with sin through his life, death, and victorious resurrection. Those who truly repent, turn from their sin, and trust in him as Saviour, can know forgiveness and the hope that one day they will be with him in a ‘New Heaven and New Earth’.

Reminders of the fragility of life are all around, and with the death of the late Queen, they have been brought closer to home. Someone who was never expected to become our Queen – yet it was part of God’s plan for her life - she had a great love of the outdoors and the countryside. Her Majesty also had a profound faith in Jesus, and often spoke of her trust in Him.

For all who know Christ, in this glorious place, this ‘New Heaven and New Earth’, there will be no more struggling and suffering and groaning (or thorns and thistles and diseases). God will make everything new and perfect (Revelation 21:5) and sin will be no more. And all who truly know Jesus, will one day be part of that ‘New Creation’.

The former GP was ordained for the ministry in 1990. He retired in 2013 after 19 years as Minister of Castledawson and Curran Presbyterian churches in South Derry. Before becoming a minister Kenneth worked on farms during his student days. As a hobby he now enjoys restoring vintage farm machinery. 

His blog appeared in a fortnightly column entitled ‘Good News For the Countryside’, in today’s Farming Life, where people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. You can look at other blogs in this series here.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev Kenny Hanna, PCI’s Rural Chaplain at ruralchaplain@presbyterianireland.org or call him on 07938 488 372.

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