On July 1, 1555, John Bradford was burned at Smithfield, one of the Protestant divines executed during the reign of Mary Tudor. Shortly before his death he wrote a treatise entitled The Restoration of All Things to counsel a devout woman of his circle. This expounds Romans 8:21–22, where “the creature” is said to be groaning in pain, awaiting release from the bondage of corruption. Here Bradford follows the innovative exegesis of the exiled Strasbourg theologian Martin Bucer, with whom he had formed a close relationship at Cambridge. Contrary to centuries of Catholic theology, which held that all animal and plant life will perish after the Last Judgment and not be part of the promised “new heaven and new earth,” Bradford argues that creation in its entirety—not just humanity—will joyously be freed from the suffering it has endured since the Fall.

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