Certainly storytelling is one of the great pleasures in the kingdom. God clearly takes it very seriously—he made reality in the shape of a story. Would you like to write? Illustrate? Act? Produce? Perhaps we get to take workshops from the great artists! These things are not obliterated when we step into the life to come; God renews all things. Willard assures us,
We will not sit around looking at one another or at God for eternity but will join the eternal Logos, “reign with him,” in the endlessly ongoing creative work of God. It is for this that we were each individually intended, as both kings and priests (Exod. 19:6; Rev. 5:10). ... A place in God’s creative order has been reserved for each one of us from before the beginnings of cosmic existence. His plan is for us to develop, as apprentices to Jesus, to the point where we can take our place in the ongoing creativity of the universe. (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy)
Just as Adam and Eve were commissioned to, only this time around on a higher level, with greater powers, creatively engaged in very real and tangible things. We know we eat in the city; surely the joy of eating doesn’t end with the feast. Who grows the food? Who brings it to market? What chefs prepare it? It is unlike God to just “zap” these things into existence while we sit around doing nothing, bored to death. He creates us to create. Jesus linked the promise of the Restoration directly to familiar things like fields and lands, confirming the earlier prophetic visions of the Old Testament:
“See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a
delight and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more ...
They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”
(Isaiah 65:17–19, 21)