Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Destroying the destroyers of the earth

The internet is a funny thing. Over on Andrew Katay's blog, I've just e-run into an old school friend of my brother, Mark Stephens, and it turns out he has just finished a PhD on the cosmological continuity/discontinuity of the book of Revelation (i.e. how new is the "new heavens and new earth" of Revelation 21.1?), titled Destroying the Destroyers of the Earth: The Meaning and Function of New Creation in the book of Revelation. A book will be coming out next year with Mohr Siebeck, "so nobody will buy it, for fear of going broke", Mark says. Having had a brief look at the main arguments, I think it would be a real shame if nobody does buy it, since it looks great.

Of particular interest to me (amongst many other things, such as close readings of Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3) was the discussion of the verse from which the thesis gained its title: Revelation 11.18. The destruction of the destroyers of the earth becomes one of the major themes in the second half of Revelation. The imperial powers behind the rich symbolism of dragon, beast and Babylon are unmasked as demonic in nature, a system of oppression and accumulation that devours all it touches. And so despite their claims of bringing peace and prosperity (or national security and economic growth, if you like), the book unveils the whole system's true destructiveness, not simply of human society, but the land itself.
I have previously briefly outlined my take on the "new heavens and new earth".


John S said...

Byron, thanks for drawing me to AK's blog. And thanks, Andrew - I've just subscribed. Two more temptations when I'm at the computer ... God bless the two of you. Grace & peace!