I've been doing some reading lately on worldviews. It seems to me that all worldviews are in their essence eschatological. This is true even of those people who have no faith to speak of. They believe that nothing happens at the end (and after) and consequently, the best of them tend to focus their energies on improving the quality of life on earth while others sink into nihilism. At the opposite end of the spectrum , is the group commonly referred to as the "Left Behind" crowd. This subset of Christians buys into an eschatology commonly known as premillennialism. Admittedly this is a gross oversimplification, but this is basically the belief that at some point all of the good Christians will be "raptured", or rather they will disappear from this "evil world" in order to be with Jesus in Heaven. After this takes place, there will be a period of "tribulation" in which things will get really, really bad on earth. According to this view, people sort of get a second chance to "come to Jesus" but it will be much harder and cost them much more from an earthly standpoint. During this tribulation period, the Antichrist (who is apparently one guy even though scripture points out that there are many antichrists). After the period of Tribulation is over Jesus comes back and sets up an earthly (political) kingdom, which exists for 1000 years, after which the earth is presumably destroyed and all the good people go to Heaven. The interesting thing is that this view was officially pronounced a heresy by Augustine and the early church fathers and only really came back in vogue with the publication of the Schofield Bible with its notes by John Nelson Darby. It is possibly now the most widely held eschatological view held by American evangelical Christians. There are several other millennial views, such as postmillennialism [the idea that Jesus will hold off his second coming until Christians have set up the Kingdom of God (presumably politically), and then, as with premillennialism, the earth will be destroyed and the souls of the Christians will go to Heaven.] Churches of Christ have traditionally held to Amillennial beliefs, which hold that most of the prophesies are figurative and we are in the (figurative) millennium now, which began with the establishment of the church (which in this view IS the Kingdom of God).
The problem with all of the popular views is that they basically buy into a dualism which views creation (everything physical) as evil (or at least not good) and only the "soul" and "spiritual things" as truly good. This is actually closer to Platonic (Plato's) thought, Buddhism, and classic gnosticism (while most christians reject the gnostic's story they still seem to buy several of their conculsions such as this dualism) than anything Biblical, much less Christian. As Rob Bell says, most Christians act as if their Bible begins in Genesis 3 (where things start going bad), but my Bible has 2 chapter before that full of God declaring Creation to be "good". If you look at what the Bible actually says(particularly in the prophets and then often quoted or referenced by Jesus), it repeatedly refers to this dream that God has for the world. The bible repeatedly points to a time when there will be "new heavens and a new earth" (in the original language "new" refers to qualitatively new i.e. renewed or renovated). Jesus prays that God's Kingdom would come, then defines what He means by restating the same idea as "your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Romans 8:18-25 indicates that creation itself is groaning in anticipation of what God is going to do with the "sons of God" because creation itself has the same promise. Revelation 21 and 22 pictures a very different consummation of time where God comes down and makes his home with men (pay careful attention to the directional indicators in this passage). Jesus and Paul both continually refer to something they call the restoration or renewal of all things.
Worldviews that are informed by a "creation/matter is bad and only the soul/spirit is good (in general) care very little for this world instead turning their attention to only "spiritual" matters lsince none of this matters and will all be burned up(in stark contrast to 1 Cor. 3:10-15). However, the worldview informed by "The Restoration of All Things" eschatology believes that we are partnering with God in His dream for creation. We believe that God hasn't given up on this project, only to pull some good people out and scrap it (some victory that would be). We believe that what we contribute to God's project or dream will last forever (as will we). We believe that with God we are moving the world closer to what He dreams for it to be until, one day, Jesus returns to finally bring the dream completely into reality. We believe that everything matters. We believe that God made whole people,(not just souls) who will one day be resurrected as the firstfruits of Jesus' resurrection showed. The lenses we view the world through show it to be drenched with God. Fallen? Yes. Flawed? Surely. But drenched with the God who refuses to give up on his dream...who believes in us more than we believe in ourselves (or even Him for that matter.) Our lenses show the world to be a project that is going somewhere (and not a cosmic garbage can). What a difference a worldview makes! I may or may not have convinced anyone with this little rant. I can anticipate lots of "but what about..." questions. There are resources available that articulate this much better than I can. Still I will ask you to imagine a world where Christians held this worldview. Would it be different? Could it change the world? Could it draw the world? What if that was the idea all along?
P.S. CLICK HERE for a passage dealing with the question of 2 Peter 3 from "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" by Michael Wittmer (pages 201-203, begin at the subheading "The End Is Near?")