In his excellent post, Iron Ink argues that the Scriptures tell us what God has done to make us fit for the New Creation. The interpretation that makes God a co-star in our story is contrary to the flow of redemption. The author writes that:
The purpose of Scripture is to give God’s story of Redemption and what it is He has done to put us in His Story.
In God’s story we realize that God has always worked out His purposes according to His perfect will. His covenantal affections for His own was never a plan B. It was always God’s intention to rescue a people unto Himself despite their rejection. Indeed, “this was part of the Author’s intention from when He began writing His novel.”
Redemption raptures us into its history. “God takes us up into His story so that we become participants in his story.” We are created in His image so that we could be a part of His re-creation of the world by creating image-bearers from every tribe, tongue, and people.
This text shatters the misconception of God as a tame father. Indeed as Lewis has penned: “Aslan is no tame lion.” God wrestles with us so as to wake us up from our spiritual slumber. If the spiritual gifts were easy to exercise, wrestling would not be an option. But our lives are filled with difficulties and so God calls us to be His wrestlers. We are wrestlers for our own souls, and our families and wrestlers for the kingdom of God.
…In the divine command man is commissioned to reproduce God’s own activity in creation, that is, to subdue and to fill the earth. Contextually then, the divine image is the anthropological enablement for obedience to the divine command. After the disobedience of the first Adam, however, the dinvine command (as restated in the Protoevangelion) is confirmed through the divine covenants to Noah, Abraham, and David. Each of these promissory covenants successively designates more specifically the Seed who would subdue the earth. Christ, who is the Seed promised as well as the Mediator of the New Covenant, expresses in the Great Commission the redemptive correlative to the divine command, namely, that the earth is to be filled with disciples and subdued unto obedience to the Word. Finally, the resurrection becomes the telos of history whereby the divine command finds consummation.
-Warren Gage in The Gospel of Genesis, 28.
Paul teaches that a New Creation has dawned upon earth (II Cor. 5:17) as a result of Christ’s resurrection ( I Cor. 15). This new creation of redeemed people is charged with the Adamic task (Gen. 1:26) of subduing the world to the demands of Yahweh. The ministry of reconciliation given to us by Christ is cosmic (II Cor. 5:18-19). What is in view here is a renovation of the world unto the Messiah. This is why the title of ambassadors is used in Paul’s discourse to the Corinthians. Ambassadors deliver a message of peace or war. If war, the exalted Christ will leave no remnant. Messiah’s new world order creates a new humanity that proclaims an ancient message.
Do not fear, Futato is not a fundamentalist! In the middle of one of his lectures in Hebrew exegesis he made this striking comment about a conversation he had with a friend. The friend mentioned to him that the difference between Reformed Theology and Fundamentalism is that Reformed theology begins with creation and Fundamentalism begins with the fall. If that is the case, Futato remarked, then many Reformed people are Fundamentalists.
For those who did not understand the profundity of this remark, allow me to explain. The strength of the Reformed tradition, stressed most powerfully by Abraham Kuyper, is that Reformed theology understands the dignity of man. In the words of Richard Pratt, we are “Designed for Dignity.” The continual stress of some pastors concerning the depravity of man is misaligned with the chronology of Redemptive history. Man, particularly redeemed man, is created for dignity; a dignity given to Him by God himself when He breathed life into a dead corpse.
Covenant members are not to be addressed (though there is an appropriate time for this) on the basis of their old humanity (their continual sins and hatred of God) but on their new humanity (their gift of perseverance and joy to worship their Creator). Consider the Apostle Paul’s address to the less than spiritual Corinthians. He begins his letter by addressing them not as rotten sinners, but those united to Christ and in fellowship with God’s son. Fundamentalism stresses the depravity and sinful nature so strongly that it leads to a message of sadness –inconsistent with the gospel of redemption. Reformed thinkers who dwell on their sinfulness, and forget their new status, lose sight of the powerful resemblance we have with our heavenly Father.
Fundamentalism is alive and well in Reformed churches. The lack of emphasis on dominion (part of the Creation mandate; Genesis 1) and the new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) while stressing the sinfulness and inability to live righteously brings about an impotent gospel. We are called to address our people where God began–Creation–not where we were–lost in sin. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
It has been almost a week since the infamous comments of Rosie O’Donnell on the View (click here for manuscript and video). In her own words: “…radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.” Allow me to parse her words and make some brief comments. Rosie is a liberal, and like all liberals they have a cause and an agenda. She is the antithesis of a staid individual. She speaks on behalf of homosexuality, lesbianism, and every form of sinful activities one can fathom. That is her goal; her mission. When she says “radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America,” she may have a legitimate point. Of course, what is legitimate about her point has never crossed her mind. What she meant by her words is that the Christian faith with all its demands and moral absolutes opposing her absolutes, is criminal in its orientation just as Islam with its demands and absolutes are criminal with theirs. Obviously, we Christians do not wrap ourselves with bombs to blow up buildings and people; we on the other hand, dress ourselves with the armor of God (Ephesians 6). But do not doubt the fact that we are in a Christian jihad. This holy war extends beyond the spiritual warfares we have; it is a cosmic battle. The army of Christ’s Kingdom is pursuing to defeat anything or anyone who would claim superiority over our king. If there is one thing O’Donnell does not realize is how un-radical her comment really is. Christians aren’t radical as Muslims, we are extremely more radical than they can ever imagine. Christianity seeks to destroy all world powers and bring them to the submission of Christ the King. It seeks reconciliation with the world, but if they do not accept it they will be dealt with harshly and severely by our Mighty warrior. Our kingdom triumphs over the kingdom of Islam simply because our King has already demolished the darkness of Islam. What takes place from now until time is no more is the systematic elimination of that darkness is history. Rosie will never imagine how un-shocking her comparison really was.
Peter Leithart comments on the role of hymnody in our churches. He argues that modern hymnody has embraced 19th century escapist mentality. No longer are we declaring the triumph of the church or that the gates of hell shall not prevail, rather we are exalting solely the world to come. Accordingly, some are denying the Christian responsibility given by God at creation to “have dominion over all things” (Genesis 1:28).
In fact, this attitude is so central to their worship that some have abandoned all hope of any victory here. Political and Cultural wars they say, are not to be fought. After all, this world belongs to the god of this age, not the Creator of the cosmos. For some, the first coming of our Lord was not sufficient to establish a growing dominion. Rather, we are to earnestly pray for a second coming to bring all things under His reign. This is a mishandling of the biblical data. God in all His glory has promised to give a people unto His Son and that all will be subdued under His righteous authority (I Corinthians 15:24-26). Echoing Leithart’s comments on hymnody, let us sing songs of victory in great faith that Christ will rule through His church to the glory of the Father.
See Peter Leithart’s article: Victory Songs
Mark Levin’s book, Men in Black, is a remarkable assessment of judicial tyranny in this nation in the last 100 years. Recent Supreme Court laws such as government control over private property is a Biblical travesty. Rushdoony has pointed out that:
For the state to claim total jurisdicition, as the modern state does, is to claim to be as god, to be the total governor of man and the world. Instead of limited law and limited jurisdiction, antichristian state claims jurisdiction from cradle to grave, from womb to tomb, over welfare, education, worship, the family, business, farming, capital and labor, and all things else.
This a pertinent reminder that when the state begins to legislate a morality that is devoid of Biblical foundation, then it assumes the voice of God. When a Biblical ethical system is replaced by a godless structure we see a clear representation of an anti-christ.The dismantling of a society is found in the abyss of a decadent and tyrannical judicial system. There is no greater threat to Christianity than the threat of “Neros'” leading a nation.
I will be terminating my contract with the internet cable in two weeks; this will limit my blog entries substantially. The computers here at RTS are not as blog friendly as I would like, so I may have to seek another means to communicate my fructiferous insights.
So, let me see if I can re-start my blog universe with a brief reconciliation of my old earth view with my adamant post-millenarianism. At first, the reality of an old universe makes little direct connection with a strong eschatology of hope. Nevertheless, a detailed analysis of the preparation for human life in this earth aids the reader to see the intricacies of a carefully orchestrated beginning and its connection with a meticulously prepared domain for a new and peaceful age on earth.
The climax of the creation story is not in the creation of light and darkness; neither is it in the creation of numerable species in heaven and on earth, rather, God’s creation finds its greatest triumph in the image or likeness of God: man. In the new existing life form called “man” we realize that the first five days (or ages) possesses little importance in relationship to day six. However, if we understand the first five days of creation as preparatory for the creation of man, we realize that the entire creative process is revealed in a different light. Millions of years of decay (yes, decay…animals did die before the fall), soil transformation and earth adaptation led to the perfect environment for the first man; the first form to reflect the image of God. Without all the arduous work and land metamorphasis, the land would be of no value and incapable to exist or abide. In other words, redeemed humanity needs a land to dwell in that is already adapted for the implementation of the Creator’s laws and dominion.
Though the church’s progress has to some derailed or even ended, to God the progress of the church is unquestionable. It will be through a series of events and transformations that the earth will adequately be prepared for the reign of God. Humanity will then be as in the garden in a land flowing with milk and honey and delighting in the fellowship of the Creator.
Update: I no longer hold to an old earth theory. I have returned to the young earth position of my earlier days.
The church does not need to wait for a new Constantine for an era of peace. Christians have been ordered to delight and pursue the glories of the kingdom now. The kingdom of God will not be as in heaven until we sense God’s work to be a reflection of His desire for worldwide dominion. Delighting in conquering the world has no relationship to flesh and blood jihad, but it does have to do with spiritual victory over humanism and all forces that would stand against the King of Kings Jesus Christ.
We delight in a cause that is progressively being won. When a soul is regenerated the gospel of the Kingdom is triumphing over darkness. As each soul brings a brighter light to a dark world, God’s kingdom manifests more of its greatness. We delight in dominion because all enemies will be put under Christ’s reign before the nations are delivered to the Father.