So far, in exploring an all-encompassing Christian worldview using Al Wolters' book, Creation Regained, we've seen how all areas of reality, including all areas of human social reality, derive their existence from God, how God intended his creation to be developed, and how the whole created order has been distorted as a result of the fall.
Chapter 4 brings us onto the third major theme of this worldview, after Creation and Fall, namely, Redemption.
The words used in the Scriptures to describe Christ's work speak tellingly of restoration, not of rejection or replacement. We read of redemption, renewal, salvation (the Greek word is linked to health) and regeneration. And this restorative work is cosmic in scope: "If the whole creation is affected by the fall, then the whole creation is also reclaimed in Christ" (p.72).
What are the implications of this?
The recurrent temptation is to look for Christ's redemptive work within only a part of creation. Many people would think of spiritual renewal as taking place only within "the sphere of personal piety, the inner life of the soul" (p.78). Or the work of the kingdom of God might be seen only in the life of the institutional church. But "The Scriptures present matters in a much different light. Both God and Satan lay claim to the whole of creation, leaving nothing neutral or undisputed" (p.81). This means that when we are working through the implications of Christ's redemptive work, all areas of life will be affected—church, family, politics, business, art, education, journalism, thought, emotion—because "there is need of liberation from sin everywhere" (p.83).
Helpfully, Wolters distinguishes between restoration and repristination.
Repristination would entail the cultural return to the garden of Eden, a return that would turn back the historical clock. Such a move would be historically reactionary or regressive.
That is not the meaning of restoration in Jesus Christ. In the terms of the analogy of the teenager who had been sick since babyhood, a return to health at a later stage of development would not entail a return to the stage of physical development that characterized the youth's earlier period of good health. Genuine healing for the youth would be a matter of healthy progression through adolescence to adulthood. By analogy, salvation in Jesus Christ, conceived in the broad creational sense, means a restoration of culture and society in their present stage of development (p.77).
When Christ returns to the earth to accomplish the complete victory, we should not expect him to destroy all of civilisation, and to discard all the healthy growth that he has brought about by his Spirit.
Before looking at the implications of this worldview in the next chapter, a summary:
The sum of our discussion of a reformational worldview is simply this: (1) creation is much broader and more comprehensive than we tend to think, (2) the fall affects that creation in its full extent, and (3) redemption in Jesus Christ reaches just as far as the fall. The horizon of creation is at the same time the horizon of sin and of salvation. To conceive of either the fall or Christ's deliverance as encompassing less than the whole of creation is to compromise the biblical teaching of the radical nature of the fall and the cosmic scope of redemption (p.86).