Mark K. Olson, “From the Beginning to the End: John Wesley’s Doctrine of Creation”

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Abstract: John Wesley is widely recognized for his contributions to the subject of soteriology (doctrine of salvation). Yet, his doctrine of creation serves as a backdrop and context for his teachings on salvation, sanctification, and eschatology. This paper surveys his theology of creation including his views on the soul (animal and human), our creation in the divine image, and his interpretation of Genesis chapter one. Of particular interest is how natural philosophy helped shaped his theology of creation.

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Thomas Oden was certainly correct when he quipped that “Wesley is seldom remembered as one who had momentous reflections on creation or providence.”[1] That other scholars agree is confirmed by the relative paucity of space given to Wesley’s views on creation in standard works on his theology.[2] Instead, attention has rightfully focused on his order of salvation (ordo salutis) since this is where Wesley centered his theological energy. Yet this ordo must be seen against the backdrop of a larger portrait that encapsulates the entirety of God’s work from the first creation to the new creation.

A survey of Wesley’s sermons demonstrates this point. When Wesley published his first three volumes of sermons in the 1740s, his aim was to publish the gospel he had been preaching over the past several years. By the 1780’s Wesley began to fill in his theology with a series of sermons that paint a larger portrait of God’s sweeping work of redemption, from the opening chapters of Genesis to the final consummation in Revelation. The purpose of this paper is to survey Wesley’s theology of creation from the first creation to the new creation in Christ.

The Six Days of Creation

We begin with a survey of the creation week. In keeping with the times in which he lived, Wesley held the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh.[3] This meant that God’s creative activity primarily ceased on day seven. Wesley agreed with Bishop Usher’s chronology that the creation was very recent, a mere 6,000 years old.[4]

Wesley understood the story of creation as follows. In the beginning God created ex nihilo the four elements – earth, water, air, and fire. Out of these elements the heavens and earth were formed through the processes of ordering, naming, and separating.[5] Now at first the creation was an utterly dark chaos, a “heavy unwieldy mass” of earth and water that was uninhabitable.[6] So the Holy Spirit became the “first mover” by blowing over the surface to separate the water from the earth. God then began to mold his creation with the creation of light. He separated the light from the darkness by naming the period of light “day,” and the period of darkness “night.”[7]

On the second day God created the firmament over the earth. Wesley held there are three heavens. Following Paul’s lead in 2 Corinthians 12, the highest heaven is the realm of God’s “more immediate residence.” The next heaven is the realm of the stars, with the lower heaven the earth’s atmosphere.[8] God then brought further order by separating the water in the air (clouds) from the water on the earth. On day three the Lord gathered into one place the waters on the earth to make a suitable place for humans to live. Then God commanded the dry land to sprout all kinds of vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees.[9] Wesley offers an interesting perspective concerning day four. Before, on day one, the Lord made a “chaos of light,” which was “scattered and confused.”  He now “collected and made” this chaotic light into “several luminaries” to be “more glorious and more serviceable” to the human race.[10] So the sun, moon, and stars were formed to give purpose to light and to mark the seasons of the year. On day five is the creation of fish and fowl, and the insects associated with them. Wesley notes how the creation account proceeds gradually from that which is “less excellent to that which is more so.”[11] That is, there is an increasing development of order and complexity from one day of creation to the sixth day.

God crowned his creative work on day six by the making of animals and the human race. As the water brought forth fish and fowl, now the earth brings forth the “brute creation”, each according to their “natures, manners, food, and fashions” – all to display the “manifold wisdom of the Creator.”[12] By the 1770’s Wesley endorsed the idea that animals have souls,[13]  for they enjoy self-motion, understanding, will (affections and passions), and liberty (freedom of choice) according to their capacities, just as humans do.[14] In this assessment we can detect Wesley’s empiricism. Regarding the creation of humanity, Wesley understood the plural “let us make” as a reference to conversation between the members of the Triune God. Man and woman are the apex of God’s creation and together bear the divine image. While the text states that other creatures were created and made, Adam is said to have been formed, “which notes a gradual process in the work with great accuracy and exactness.”[15] As a potter the Lord God took earth and shaped it into a man and breathed into him the “breath of heaven.” So, Wesley views humanity as an embodied self, “a little world, consisting of heaven and earth, soul and body.”[16] The divine image is further divided by Wesley into the natural, political, and moral realms. The natural image refers to the soul, including those qualities which humans share with the animal kingdom, but also our capacity to know and fellowship with God. As the bearer of the political image, humans serve as God’s vice-regent and conduit of divine blessing to the lower creation. The moral image regards the holy character Adam was graciously gifted with at the beginning. Since God is love, “man at his creation was full of love.” Love was the “sole principle of all his tempers, thoughts, words, and actions.”[17] As pointed out above, this is the main difference between animals and man, for only the latter is capable of “knowing, loving, or obeying God.”[18] But as we will see later, the soulish kinship between animals and humans plays a significant role in Wesley’s vision of the new creation.

With the work of creation finished God gives his approbation on all he had made. Everything serves the purpose for which it was created and provides a suitable habitat for humans. Harmony, order, and beauty characterize the first creation, thereby displaying God’s wisdom and goodness. In “six days God made the world” and he declared the creation very good.[19] God then rested, thereby setting apart day seven from the other six days. Wesley held that the kingdom of grace commenced with the institution of the Sabbath for the furtherance of holiness and delight in God.[20]

The Golden Chain

To appreciate Wesley’s theology of creation we must pause and take a closer look at his ontologyof creation. From his reading of works, like John Ray’s The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation and Charles Bonnet’s Contemplation de la Nature, Wesley embraced the popular idea that all creation is structured according to a hierarchal system reminiscing of a great chain. Simpler and more elemental beings are located at the bottom and more complex beings at the top. A basic chart of the chain looks like this:

  • God
  • Angels
  • Humans
  • Animals
  • Vegetation
  • Minerals[21]

This “golden chain,” as Wesley calls it, profoundly shaped his understanding of creation and the new creation. Three corollaries follow:

First, proponents of this ontology understood the chain to be permanent, even immutable. Wesley affirmed as much since he held that all creation subsists by the power of God’s word.[22] But his belief in the permanence of creation becomes more evident when we look at how he correlated creation to eternity. Wesley distinguished between eternity a parte ante (past) and eternity a parte post (future).[23] Only God is eternal in the sense of a parte ante since he brought the four basic elements of the creation into being ex nihilo. Wesley was certainly no Manichean. Yet, in regard to the future—eternity a parte post—the world will certainly endure forever. Wesley affirmed that while matter is continually changing, even into “ten thousand forms,” it can never perish or be annihilated at its atomic level. Wesley noted the experiments of Lord Bacon on diamonds. Lord Bacon had demonstrated that diamonds can be dissolved into dust by the application of intense heat. Yet, in that dust the basic element remains. This became Wesley’s paradigm for the new creation. The present heavens and earth will one day be dissolved down to their atomic level, only to be re-created by almighty power to form a new heaven and new earth.[24]

A second corollary involves the interconnectedness of the various links in the chain. All aspects of creation were seen as so interrelated that the well-being of the entire created order depended on the faithfulness of each being (link) to fulfill their special calling. Therefore, to usurp one’s position would threaten the well-being of the entire chain. This was the philosophic basis for Wesley’s doctrine of the fall. Along with other proponents of this chain theory, Wesley held that the human race was given a special role since “man is a little world, consisting of heaven and earth.” As with the rest of creation, Adam was composed of the four elements – earth (dust), air, water, and ethereal fire (electricity). Yet, as we saw above, Adam was different since he is also a spiritual being, made in the image of God.[25] Therefore, Adam’s choice to usurp his station by eating from the forbidden tree necessarily impacted the world around him. As a consequence, Adam’s sin brought death to his posterity and to everything below him on the chain. But a second lesson is no less important. We have already seen that mankind bears the image of God. One aspect of this image is our calling to rule as God’s vice-regent over the lower creation. Wesley saw as one aspect of this calling our responsibility to care for the creation. Humanity serves as a great conduit or “channel of conveyance” between the Creator and the lower creation. With the entrance of sin this responsibility remains but is corrupted by human selfishness and greed.

A third point involves Wesley’s idyllic descriptions of the original creation. When Wesley describes the perfections of the original paradise, he seldom draws his descriptions from scripture. This is because he was profoundly influenced by the logical implications of the golden chain. According to this system, a God of benevolence (love) simply would not create a world that is less than perfect. Therefore, Wesley describes the original earth in the most ideal terms.[26] The sun provided uniform temperatures on all parts of the globe. So, there were no deserts, polar caps of ice and so forth. Since there were no oceans or seas, gently gliding rivers and streams watered the earth’s surface. There were no hurricanes, dangerous cliffs, comets, or meteors. Plants and animals provided no harm to other creatures and lived in loving obedience to humans. Everything existed in perfect harmony, beauty, and order. The perfection of the lower creation mirrored the benevolence of God and the perfection of Adam’s holiness. According to Wesley, the first human pair understood God’s will perfectly, complied without any reluctance, and had “no inordinate appetites or passions.”[27]  The human family was therefore happy and holy, along with the rest of the creation.

We can now begin to appreciate Wesley’s understanding God’s approbation of his creation (Gen 1:31). Since the creation functions like a great chain, every “link” in the chain was perfect at the beginning according to its purpose, station, and function. As long as no being usurped its station and attempted to climb higher on the scale of being, then all would remain in perfect harmony and order. But sadly, this was not the case.

The De-Creation of Creation

Even a cursory reading of Wesley’s corpus reveals a robust doctrine of the fall and original sin. Apart from grace the human heart is totally corrupt. Human nature is now predisposed to atheism, idolatry, pride, self-will, and love of the world.[28] But since this aspect of Wesley’s theology of the fall has been well documented my focus will be to describe the broader implications of his doctrine. In his sermon On the Fall of Man, Wesley describes how pain entered the world through the free choice of Adam to usurp his station by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:6). Like a chain, sin led to pain, and pain led to death. Man, who had been formed from the earth, now returns to the earth. While humans remain healthy the four elements (earth, water, air, and ethereal fire) continue “mingled together in the most exact proportion,” now that man is “mortal, corruptible dust” he is susceptible to a “thousand mistakes” in judgment and practice.[29] So multiple infirmities now characterize the human race since we are an embodied spirit, and our corruptible body serves as a “clog to the soul, and hinders its operations.” [30] As a result, even with the best of intentions humans often bring negative consequences to the rest of creation. Our capacity to make sound judgments is inherently flawed and imperfect. Combined with the sinfulness of the human heart there is little wonder why we do such a poor job at caring for the creation. It should be noted, Wesley’s repeated comments that the body is the immediate cause of much of our fallenness are the closest he comes to a quasi-Gnostic view of our human embodiment.[31]

But the effects of Adam’s sin did not stop with his own mortality and proneness to error. Both moral and natural evil spread like gangrene throughout the lower beings on the chain. The animal kingdom equally fell into a diabolical condition. Whereas before they offered loving obedience to man, now fear filled their hearts. Stronger animals began to prey on weaker ones and the entire animal kingdom became a world of violence, suffering, and cruelty.[32] Ill effects happened to the inanimate world. With the “grand deluge” (Wesley’s term for the flood) the waters from above and below now formed mass bodies of water (oceans). These now form violent storms and hurricanes. Even more, the earth is filled with bogs, impassible marshes, and morasses. Fire now has the power to burn. Earthquakes, forest fires, and lightning wreak havoc and destruction. “Horrid rocks” and “frightful precipices” now dot the earth’s surface, along with thorns, briers and thistles, and other useless plants.[33]

Nor did the heavens escape the forces of de-creation. Wesley followed the Apostle Paul by delineating three realms of the heavens. The highest heaven is where God dwells. Wesley was confident that this heaven remained unaffected by human sin (and is higher on the chain of being). But the “inferior heavens” were affected by human sin. The starry realm reflects the “chaotic state” of a fallen world. Blazing stars, comets, and “terrifying meteors” now reflect no usefulness or purpose. Wesley was fascinated with astronomy but remained perplexed whether comets were stars, fragmented planets, balls of water, or a part of the original creation. The science at the time was uncertain of their origin and use.[34] And, as remarked above, the lower aerial heaven is continually agitated by “furious storms or destructive tempests.”

A common theme behind Wesley many examples of de-creation is the lack of order, usefulness, and purpose in what he saw in the natural realm. Characteristic of his descriptions is the premise that the primordial chaos of Genesis 1:2 has to a degree re-entered the cosmos. Wesley concluded from his reading of scripture and from his ontological system (chain of being) that these were symptoms of a deeper disease. The creation had been “subjected to frustration” due to Adam’s sin. Consequently, the entire creation groans to be “liberated from its bondage to decay” (Rom 8:20-21). This hope fueled Wesley’s belief in a new creation. It also empowered a theodicy that emphasized the temporality of evil. The real source of evil, both natural and moral, was found in man’s choice between moral alternatives. Adam had usurped his God-given station out of pride and idolatry and upset the entire order of creation. It is a mistake, Wesley argued, to blame God for the reality of evil. It was human sin that brought death and evil into our world. But that is not the end of the story. God suffers evil to temporarily exist for a greater good: to reveal his love and grace in the new creation. God has promised to make all things new (Rev 21:5).[35] So even though the “energy of Satan” is actively at work in the world and even in the church, the “energy of God” is already at work forming the new creation.[36]

The New Creation

Wesley’s interest in the new creation began in 1738 when he came to realization that people must be born again by faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen. Under the tutelage of the Moravians Wesley came to see that believers are a new creation in Christ – “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17).[37] This is the end for which Christ came, to destroy the works of the devil by renewing believers in the image of God.[38] Christ’s sets up his kingdom in the heart and replaces pride with humility, self-will with meekness, love of the world with love for Christ and neighbor, and idolatry with worship of the Creator. This inward kingdom of Christ ruling in the heart is the beginning of the new creation in the world.[39]

But Wesley soon realized from his own experience and from the experience of his converts that this inward work of re-creation was progressive, punctuated with key moments of renewal. The fulfillment of 2 Corinthians 5:17 then became located in a second moment, when sin expires and pure love fills the heart.[40] Over a process of several decades Wesley came to the position that the “whole work of the devil in man” is not destroyed in this life. As his doctrine of involuntary sin took on a more robust role in his understanding of the faith journey, Wesley came to see that human weakness and infirmities are in someway connected to Satan’s work in the human race. Though death was an enemy to be destroyed at the resurrection, it also was God’s agent to destroy error, pain, and human infirmity, and hence Satan’s work.[41] So though the work of re-creation is present in this age, it remains incomplete until the new heaven and new earth arrive.

By the 1780’s Wesley was convinced God had raised the Methodists to usher in the latter-day glory of the millennium.[42] Following the meticulous studies of Johann Bengel on the Book of Revelation, Wesley concluded that his generation was on the verge of millennial glory when the beast of the papacy would be destroyed, Satan bound in the abyss, and the nations of the world converted to Christ.[43] In this sense Wesley (and Jonathan Edwards) foresaw the modern missionary movement.[44] Within a postmillennial framework Wesley held the millennium represents the fullest extent of re-creation that the inward kingdom can produce in this present age. This meant that Wesley looked for a greater transformative work of re-creation concerning the heavens and earth through the redemptive work of Christ.

The New Heaven and New Earth

When the Apostle John wrote in Revelation that the “earth and the heaven fled away” from the face of him who sat on the throne, Wesley understood this to mean that the present starry and aerial heavens would be “wholly dissolved” by “fervent heat” and no longer exist.[45] But as we learned above, Wesley adamantly believed in the permanence of the creation at its atomic level. Though the physical creation will be dissolved and in this sense cease to exist, by almighty redemptive power God will re-create out of the same atoms a new heaven and new earth that is free from the curse and bondage to decay.[46] All creation will be liberated at the resurrection of the children of God. This will transpire when Christ returns, executes final judgment, and hands his mediatorial kingdom over to the Father after Satan, sin and death are destroyed.[47]

In “The New Creation” Wesley offers his fullest description of the re-created cosmos. As we already noted, there will be no more comets or “horrid, eccentric orbs and half-formed planets.” Instead, the heavens will once again reflect the “exact order and harmony” of the original creation. Neither will the aerial heavens be “torn by hurricanes, or agitated by furious storms.” No “pernicious or terrifying meteors” will plague the sky. All will be “light, fair, serene; a lively picture of the eternal day.” With no oceans or seas to go violent, only gently gliding rivers will flow through the countryside. No longer will “wild deserts,” “frightful precipices,” “horrid rocks,” or “impassable morasses” dot the surface. With the curse removed, there will be no thorns, briers, or useless weeds. Every plant will be conducive and useful. Animals will no longer devour other animals as universal peace pervades the new order. Lions will have no claws and scorpions will have no sting, for the old order of things will have passed away. The entire creation will be free from sickness, sorrow, and pain – the forerunners of death. Then the whole creation will live in deep, uninterrupted communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

Closing Remarks

From the above survey certain theological priorities begin to emerge from Wesley’s creation theology. First and foremost is the nature and power of our Creator. Creation is grounded in a God who is holy, relational, and active in the lives of his creatures. Each link in the Great Chain of Being owes its moment-by-moment existence to God’s sustaining hand.[48] He is actively immanent in his creation. Since the Lord is a God of holy love, his creative work reflects the beauty of his holiness and love. This explains Wesley’s firm belief that the first creation enjoyed the blessedness of perfect harmony and peace. If we embrace his core principles, there simply could not be any pain or death in God’s created order. But when humanity sinned everything radically changed. So, an historic fall is a major watershed in Wesley’s creation theology.

But for Wesley the story of creation does not end with de-creation. Out of the chaos comes God’s re-creating grace through the redemptive work of Christ. Grace is continually at work to renew the cosmos to reflect the perfection of God’s holy love. This re-creating work begins in the human heart with salvation and from there moves out to transform the world, even in this present age. But the full work of re-creation looks forward to a new heaven and new earth. The present creation will be dissolved down to its atomic ashes. Nevertheless, out of these same ashes God will re-create a new world that in many ways reflects the first creation. This highlights another important motif in Wesley’s creation theology: the utter permanence of God’s original creative work. The first creation is never fully destroyed. Yes, it will be reduced to ashes, down to its atomic substructure; but never annihilated. Then out of these very same atoms God will re-create a new cosmos that looks much like the original. For Wesley, the world is eternal a parte post. In the end, all creation will live in eternal communion with the “Three-One God” and enjoy the happiness and holiness that only the eternal Creator can give.

For a related article, see From Heaven Above to New Creation Below.

[1] Thomas Oden, John Wesley’s Scriptural Christianity: A Plain Exposition of His Teaching on Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, 101.

[2] Examples include Randy Maddox, Responsible Grace. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994; Kenneth Collins, The Theology of John Wesley. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007; Theodore Runyon, The New Creation. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998.

[3] “God’s Approbation of His Works”I.7-11 (John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 34 Vols. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984-Present, 2:391-395; Hereafter: Works); John Wesley, Notes Upon the Old Testament. Albany: Ages Software, 1996, Gen 1:3-5 (Hereafter: OT Notes).

[4] “On the Fall of Man” II.4 (Works 2:407).

[5] “God’s Approbation of His Works”I.1 (Works 2:388); OT Notes Gen 1:5, 6.

[6] OT Notes Gen 1:2.

[7] OT Notes Gen 1:5.

[8] “The New Creation” §§5-9 (Works 2:502-03).

[9] “God’s Approbation of His Works”I.9 (Works 2:393).

[10] OT Notes Gen 1:14-15.

[11] OT Notes Gen 1:20.

[12] OT Notes Gen 1:24.

[13] Maddox, “Nurturing the New Creation: Reflections on a Wesleyan Trajectory” in M. Douglas Meeks, ed. Wesleyan Perspectives on the New Creation. Nashville: Abingdon, 2004, 47.

[14] “The General Deliverance” I.4 (Works 2:440).

[15] OT Notes Gen 2:7.

[16] OT Notes Gen 2:7.

[17] “The New Birth” I.1 (Works 2:188); “The General Deliverance” I.3, II.1 (Works 2:440, 442).

[18] “The General Deliverance” I.5 (Works 2:441).

[19] OT Notes Gen 1:31.

[20] OT Notes Gen 2:1.

[21] L. Kip Wheeler, The Chain of Being: Tillyard in a Nutshell., 1998-2010. Wheeler provides an excellent power-point presentation of the Chain of Being’s influence on medieval society up to Wesley’s time (follow links from his home page). For a brief overview of Wesley’s position, see Maddox, Responsible Grace, 58.

[22] NT Notes Col 1:16; Heb 1:3.

[23] “On Eternity” §2 (Works 2:358).

[24] “On Eternity” §7 (Works 2:362).

[25] “On the Fall of Man” II.1 (Works 2:405). Wesley identified ethereal fire to electricity in his comment on 2 Pet 3:10 (cf. Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament. Albany: Ages Software, 2006; Hereafter: NT Notes).

[26] Cf. OT Notes Gen 1:26-31; and the sermons “God’s Approbation of His Works” and “The New Creation.”

[27] OT Notes Gen 1:26.

[28] “Original Sin” III.1 (Works 2:182).

[29] “On the Fall of Man” II.1-2 (Works 2:405-06).

[30] “Farther Thoughts of Christian Perfection” in Mark K. Olson, ed. John Wesley’s ‘A Plain Account of Christian Perfection’: The Annotated Edition. Fenwick: Truth In Heart. 2005, 178 (25:8).

[31] These kinds of comments are sprinkled throughout the Wesley corpus. E.g. see “On the Fall of Man” II.2 (Works 2:406).

[32] “The General Deliverance” II.2, 5, 6 (Works 2:442, 444).

[33] The above description comes from the sermons: “The General Deliverance” and “The New Creation.”

[34] “God’s Approbation of His Works”I.10 (Works 2:393-94); cf. Albert Outler’s important notes on Wesley’s interest in astronomy (Works 3:380, note 16, 394 note 35).

[35] For Wesley’s theodicy views see “God’s Approbation of His Works” II.1-3 (Works 2:397-99); “On the Fall of Man” II.8-10 (Works 2:410-11); “God’s Love to Fallen Man” P.3, I.7-10 (Works 2:424, 428-31); “The General Deliverance” III.6 (Works 2:448); “The General Spread of the Gospel” §27 (Works 2:499).

[36] “The Mystery of Iniquity” §14 (Works 2:456); “On the Wedding Garment” §17 (Works 4:147).  Concerning the role of Satan on the present natural realm, Wesley believed that the unholy dead work alongside evil spirits in causing storms, earthquakes, inflicting death, temptation, and various evils, like lunacy (“On Faith (Heb 11:1)” §8). The holy dead serve alongside angels is serving the heirs of salvation (§12).

[37] Maddox, “Nurturing the New Creation,” 26-27.

[38] Cf. “The End of Christ’s Coming” (Works 2:471ff.).

[39] Cf. “The Wedding Garment” §17 (Works 4:147), where Wesley links the new creation to our renewal in the imago Dei.

[40] In the 1744 Conference Minutes QQ. 3-7 Wesley firmly connects 2 Cor 5:17 to perfect love (cf. Albert Outler, John Wesley. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964, 140-41).

[41] “The End of Christ’s Coming” III.3-4 (Works 2:482).

[42] “The Signs of the Times” II.4 (Works 2:526).

[43] NT Notes Rev 12:12, 13:1, 19:7, 20:3; “The General Spread of the Gospel” (Works 2:485ff.).

[44] Both Wesley and Edwards believed the present revival would lead to a global faith of evangelical Christianity (Wesley: “The General Spread of the Gospel” §§13-26; Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 Vols. Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979 Reprint, I:608).

[45] NT Notes Rev 20:11. Of course he did not believe that the third heavens needed renovation since this was the abode of God.

[46] NT Notes Rom 8:21; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 20:11, 21:1; “On Eternity” §7 (Works 2:361).

[47] NT Notes 1 Cor 15:24, 26. Cf. also NT Notes Rev 20:3, 21:1 for Wesley’s chronology of these events. He places the second coming of Christ at the great white throne judgment. When this judgment is completed, he hands his mediatorial kingdom over to the Father. God’s “immediate kingdom” then commences.

[48] “Spiritual Worship” I.3; Works 3:91.

[This article was taken with permission from Mark K. Olson’s website where the original version can be found.]