One of the significant things Albert Wolters discusses in his book, Creation Regained, has to do with the nature of sin, and the way in which it is parasitic in nature. After discussing the goodness of creation, he talks about sin's relationship to creation. He writes,
Sin introduces an entirely new dimension to the created order. There is no sense in which sin ‘fits’ in God’s good handiwork. Rather, it establishes an unprecedented axis, as it were, along which it is possible to plot varying degrees of good and evil. Though fundamentally distinct from the good creation, this axis attaches itself to creation like a parasite (57).
Wolters goes on to say that sin does not exist on its own, but only exists as an "alien invasion of creation." It takes what is good and distorts it. I was thinking about this last Sunday as one of my colleagues preached on Revelation 21. He noted the language of "no more" that stands out in the passage, and the promise of the new creation where there is "no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Rev. 21:4). It struck me that this "no more" language fits with the way Wolters talks about sin. Something that now is – the brokenness of the world – will be made no more. And so the great hope of redemption is not for us to be removed from a broken world, but for the broken world to be healed, for the parasite itself to be removed from God’s good creation. Wolters continues,
The original good creation is to be restored… This restoration means that salvation does not bring anything new. Redemption is not a matter of an addition of a spiritual or supernatural dimension to creaturely life that was lacking before; rather, it is a matter of bringing new life and vitality to what was there all along (71).
This is what Jesus achieves through his death and resurrection. By conquering sin, which has distorted every part of creation, he liberates the whole of creation from this parasite. What once had been will be no more. To paraphrase Sam Gamgee’s question to Gandalf, everything sad is going to become untrue. Or as Tom Wright is fond of saying, Jesus will set the world to rights again.
One of my favourite lines to sing at Christmas is from the hymn, Joy to the World, which makes this notion of redemption so clear:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
That is the hope guaranteed to us because of Easter.