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On Culture as the Furniture of Heaven (Andy Crouch)

 

Culture, then, is the furniture of heaven. (And indeed, Revelation makes it clear, in the words of Belinda Carlisle, that “heaven is a place on earth.”) It is simply not true, according to Isaiah and John – and according to the whole sweep of the biblical story from beginning to end – that “souls” are the only eternal things or that human beings are all that last into eternity. To be sure, cultural goods without creators and cultivators would be inert and useless. But human beings, in God’s original intention and in their redemptive destination, cannot be separated from the cultural goods they create and cultivate at their best.

So it’s a fascinating exercise to ask about any cultural artifact: can we imagine this making it into the new Jerusalem? . . .  Are we creating and cultivating things that have a chance of furnishing the new Jerusalem?

. . . This is not the same as asking whether we are making “Christian” culture. “Christian” cultural artifacts will surely go through the same winnowing and judgment as “non-Christian” artifacts. Nor is this entirely a matter of who is responsible for the cultural artifacts and where their faith is placed, especially since every cultural good is a collective effort. Clearly some of the cultural goods found in the new Jerusalem will have been created and cultivated by people who may well not accept the Lamb’s invitation to substitute his righteousness for their sin. Yet the best of their work may survive.

Can that be said of the goods that we are devoting our lives to?

Andy Crouch, Culture Making, 170-171

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