The Salvation of Creation: Cosmic Aspects of Redemption

How does salvation relate to all of creation? Evangelicals rightly emphasize the personal responsibility of every individual before a holy God. However, sometimes we have the tendency to see salvation as a personal escape pod. We struggle to connect the individualistic dots to the bigger cosmic picture of redemption for all of creation. Fortunately, we are not left without guidance. In recent years, a number of evangelical theologians have argued for a rediscovery of the early fathers. The patristic writers affirmed the truths of Scripture just like we do, but they zeroed in on certain points that we often neglect. As a result, I contend that they had a more robust understanding of the cosmic implications of salvation than we do. This paper highlights some of their emphases by looking at the works of Irenaeus of Lyon (c.130–c.202 AD) and Athanasius of Alexandria (c.296–373 AD).