You are reading a post in the series “Facing the Raven,” which is itself part of our larger “Science Fiction & Biblical Reality” series that can also be read in Finding Faith Inside the Big Blue Box: A Whovian’s 30 Day Devotional.
When The Doctor dies and subsequently regenerates, nothing much around him has changed. He (or she) staggers to his feet, and we are all shocked at his new appearance, but the world, itself, remains as fractured and corrupt as it was a few seconds before. The Doctor changes, but everything else stays the same.*
Truth be told, the same can be said for us when we first come to Christ. The change, from our perspective, is unseen, taking place spiritually. Our regeneration is first and foremost between God and ourselves only. It is only after the Holy Spirit has begun to draw out this new life, filling every area of spirit with the love and presence of God that the effects of our regeneration can be seen. Through Christ, We become a new person, changed from the inside out. We are reborn…
…For a new world.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
That’s how I learned 1 Corinthians 5:17 as a boy. It’s not a bad translation, but it’s missing something that I think the more modern translations store: Instead of “he is a new creature” the NIV reads “the new creation has come.”
There’s a deep difference here. Jesus’s death and resurrection haven’t just purchased us a new life: they have begun a process that will result in an entirely new creation. This universe is enslaved to entropy and bound to destruction, thanks to humanity’s fall and the universal effect of sin. The new universe, the new creation that is yet to be revealed, however, will be perfect. Never ending. Never failing or fading. Eternal, not because it has no beginning, but because its source, and ours, will be the very life of God. We, the finite, will enter into the life of the eternal God. We who had our beginnings in this world, who have found a new beginning in Christ, will, at some glorious point in the future, cease to have an ending.
That’s the essence of Christian message: we were created to be with God. We lost that opportunity and have suffered under the fact and fear of death ever since.
Until the cross and the empty tomb rewrote everything. Now, through Christ, through His Spirit, we been made alive,** enterally so, in our hearts. As wonderful as that is, there is still more to come. For we have been reborn in our hearts, not just so that we can die at peace with God and so escape wrath, but so that we can die in this world and enter into the next one, there to live abundantly, amazingly forever.
The old creation is bound for death due to damage it sustained through sin. It cannot contain the eternal. That’s why a new creation is on the way. And let’s make sure that you’re understanding me: this will be a new creation, a new physical universe designed to be and do what the old one failed to be and do. In this world, we will live physically forever. Our regeneration may only be spiritual, internal, at this moment, but it will be so much more. We have been reborn spiritually, but when the time comes, we will be reborn physically so that we can inhabit a reborn physical universe.
The Doctor’s regenerations are flashy and fantastic, but they don’t change much of anything beyond himself. Our regeneration is more subtle, starting first in our hearts before working its way outward, so that, in an instant, at some point in the future, we will be physically reborn to match our reborn spirit. And these new bodies will step foot onto new physical world where we will live for eternity with God.
The Doctor regenerates and goes off searching for something to entertain and challenge him on a far-off world.
We, however, are reborn for the express purpose of entering into a new, eternal world where God Himself will be with us, inviting us into a never-ending adventure of knowing Him in all His infinite wonder and beauty.
*Except, sometimes, for the TARDIS set.
**Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 1:13-23; Romans 6:23