If we are to build a theology of work in light of the coming new creation, we need to form a view on what this new creation looks like.
In Work in the Spirit, Miroslav Volf presents two options.
The first stresses “radical discontinuity between the present and future orders,” expecting “the eschatological destruction of the world” as it is now, and replacing it in whole with the new creation. Volf believes this view is “not consonant with the belief in the goodness of creation.” If God must destroy the present order completely, that is because the present order is “either so bad that it is not possible to be redeemed” or “so insignificant that it is not worth being redeemed.” In this framework, “human work is devoid of…ultimate significance.”
Volf believes in the goodness of creation. So he opts for a different view that affirms some type of “continuity between [the present and future orders], believing that the present world will be transformed into the new heaven and new earth.” The present order, “after being purified in the eschatological transformation mundi…will be integrated by an act of divine transformation into the new heaven and new earth.”
Under this view, our work has “ultimate significance” since we “contribute in [our] modest and broken way to God’s new creation.” Our “noble efforts are not lost” and “everything good, true, and beautiful [we] create is valued by God and will be appreciated by human beings in the new creation.”
In short, there is hope of eternal significance in what we do.