Skip to main content

Judgment and Justification Part 2

What is God up to in this world? What is his grand plan? Following my teacher, Graham Cole, I would suggest that the missio dei is to secure God's people in God's place under God's rule living God's way in God's holy and loving presence as worshippers. While we won't look at every single element of the missio dei, I want to use it as a guide for breaking up the discussion. In this post we will look at the relationship between judgment and 'God's place,' which is where we experience God's presence. This may not be the most intuitive place to start, but hopefully it will make sense by the end of the series (if not sooner).

First, though, we need to recognize that what we are doing in this sequence of posts is looking at how God's rule relates to all of the other elements of the God's plan. One of the key roles of a king is to judge. And judge God does, over and over in Scripture. I remember when I first put together a list of significant passages on judgment to try to incorporate into my paper, I had more than 50. Those were just the big ones! So, part of what we hope to gain from this exercise is a better understanding of God in one of the primary ways in which we are to relate to him, as our Lord.

Judgment has always been linked to the both the place where God's people live and how it is that the people get there. In fact the very first time that judgment appears in Scripture is in its neutral sense, where God is judging that his creation is good (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31, ). Within this creation, was a special area, the Garden of Eden, in which God put his people to live in his presence. Adam and Eve mess it up, though, through their sin. As a result, the ground, part of God's good creation, is judged and cursed (Gen. 3:17-19). Our sin has marred God's good creation.

That is not to say that all of creation is now 'bad' in God's eyes. The promised land of Canaan was also deemed by God to be good, 'So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey' (Ex. 3:8a - TNIV). The land of Israel was a good land in which the people were to live in the presence of God, with him as their king. Even though it lacks the splendor of creation prior to the fall, the land does possess relative goodness.

While God's people do not collectively reside in one land anymore, we do have a good place to look forward to. The new heavens and the new earth, the future place that God's people will possess, are never explicitly called good in Revelation 21-22, but they certainly are. The author of Revelation tries to show that the new heavens and new earth are a restoration of God's creation that if anything surpasses the original (there are at least a dozen allusions in Revelation 21-22 to Genesis 1-3). God will give us a good place where we can live enjoying his presence as his bride, in the process undoing all of the damage incurred on his creation through humanity's fall.

The key which ties this all together is the notion of the sacred space of a temple. Eden and the new heavens and the new earth are sacred spaces, the Garden of Eden is a temple (see Greg Beale's important book, The Temple and the Church's Mission). The land of Israel is the place where God builds his temple, which in its architecture and adornment harks back to Eden. The new heavens and new earth do not have a temple, 'because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple' (Rev 21:22b). Thus, tied up in the goodness of the place is God's presence. It was not coincidental that God gave the people a good land and that he had his temple built there. It is not only that God is creator that made Eden good. God's presence in them make them good and God's presence in them make them good for his people.

In the next post we will look at the theme of 'living God's way' and judgment and how that relationship affects being 'in God's place' and 'in God's holy and loving presence.'

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …