Pedlar, James E. "'His Mercy is Over all His Works': John Wesley's Mature Vision of New Creation." Canadian Theological Review 2, no. 2 (2013): 45-56.
For much of his life, John Wesley accepted common Christian assumptions regarding final salvation as a state of spiritual rest in paradise. Late in life, however, he rejected these assumptions, as “the new creation” became a dominant theme in his theology. Wesley’s mature eschatological vision thus shifted from a hope for spiritual rest to a dynamic vision of redeemed humanity living in a transformed, but still-physical new earth, complete with animal life. This paper explores “the new creation” as a theme in Wesley’s mature thought, through a close reading of sermons published in the last decade of his life. The topic is addressed under four headings: 1) Wesley’s speculations about the place of animals in redemption; 2) his understanding of the “image of God” and humanity’s relationship to the rest of creation; 3) the connection between Wesley’s vision of the new creation and the question of creation stewardship in the present life; 4) the way that the new creation functioned as an aspect of Wesley’s theodicy. While some of Wesley’s specific speculations concerning the new creation might not be of enduring value, this paper will argue that the overall shape and direction of his mature eschatology remains a compelling model for contemporary evangelicalism.
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