Edenising the Whole World

25 06 2011

The term ‘Edenising’ is seldom used by theologians and preachers alike—and hardly at all, by the general public.  That is a pity really.

‘Edenising the whole world… that is God’s plan’.  It always has been his plan.

Edensing is a term which encapsulates the story of God, humanity and creation, and the purpose for which all has been created.  It is the whole story and counsel of God from Creation to the New Creation.  From the Garden of Eden, and the tragic event therein, to the “river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing … on either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, … and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations’ (Revelation 22:1, 3)

Some may be familiar with Jonathan Edward’s essay: ‘A History of the Work of Redemption (See The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1, 1834 (1990), Banner of Truth Trust, p. 533-619). He picks up the details of the biblical story and tells them as a continual flow of events, one story.  This is the story of the Edenising of the world.

The mandate of fruitfulness given to the man, Adam, and his wife Eve, was a word of blessing which forwarded that work. It continued though failure appeared to thwart the whole plan, and it continued through Noah, Abraham, Moses and the whole nation of Israel. It continued through to the coming of Jesus Christ, the most frutiful person who ever lived. His fruitful life, is flowing out into the world now, as he is Lord of creation, and Lord of all fruitfulness.

He will speak his Word and bring forth true action, love and service in that great lan of the Triune God, until that day when he makes all things new, pristine, and full of glory. The glorification, of God, man and creation will be the Edenising of the whole world.

Israel has had a unique role in all this, being elected by God to be the focal point for the revelation of his grace ad love towards all nations.

Edenising the world, how wonderful. In Paradise again, only more fully assured. What a plan. This is the work of the Word of God, as it goes out to turn the peoples of the earth towards the central focus of the people of God – Jerusalem, outside of which Jesus was crucified, so that all through his merit, may enter the New Jerusalem, holy, sanctified, justified ad glorified.

No wonder we like to enjoy a garden and take delight in fixing and tidying it up ready for enjoyment.  No wonder blessing people with love and community in Jesus Christ, is like planting a good rich, vibrant, colourful and varied garden.

Well, by faith, come home to the Gardener, who first planted Eden and placed the man, and the woman, in it. Come home to the Gardener, and share in the work of gardening.

Responsibility and freedom were given to the first couple, with one note of caution. Sadly this warning was not heeded, and so the long saga of human history, battling with sin and death began. But it began in hope, and the flow of the rivier of life continued until it flowed fully from the belly of Jesus Christ – rivers of living water (John 7:38).

As Geoffrey Bingham said of Adam and Eve ‘they are to take what is the special life of Eden and take it to the whole world.’ (G. C. Bingham, Searching For God, RBP, 2000, p. 109)

Edenising the World. That’s the go.

 

 





The Truth About Policing and Skid Row

29 09 2009

Society is replete with views of how law-making and policing should be carried out. Beneath pragmatic views of the outworking of the law in society, are views and assumptions.  Thanks Heather; see link at:…Heather MacDonald

We all have view and assumptions, about the nature of humanity, and the function of the law in the universe, and the way and place of grace, graciousness, mercy and compassion – as well as the possibilities of redemption and newness.

Some people take the view that certain sections of society, are victims, and have come to a place in life, virtually beyond redemption.

Some take the view that human beings in poverty, are primarily victims of the systems in society.  They speak of systemic sin.

Some people take the ultra-hopeful view that all sections of society have the possibility of redemption, always. Or almost always.

Some people take the legal view that there are laws, police, bad citizens and good citizens. Break the law, and thats it!  Obey the law, and you will be OK.

Jesus Christ knew what was in humanity – crowned with glory and honor, in creation, yet, now, with a heart—since the fall into sin—that is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt. The Scripture also speaks of ‘the mystery of lawlessness’.

One can live in this mystery, with hope, and take a helpful view of law, when the great dynamics of Man created, fallen, redeemed, and destined, are taken into account. Lawmakers, police and those who would like to transform (or engineer) society, need a full-orbed view of these dynamics. A truncated view will leave everyone in bitter tears. A grand view, will enable mercy and compassion to function within the good law of a hopeful society.

The question is, are we a truly hopeful society?

And with that, do we still have the framework needed to act wisely?

Having trained and served in the Police Force, when I first left school, I have always found it interesting to consider contrasting approaches to the function, and policing of the law within society.

Certainly lawlessness is a frightening prospect. Evil runs rampant, wherever it can.  Restraining evil, is a very gracious and kind thing to do. Not to mention – necessary.

I have listened to the proponents of providing legal injecting rooms for drug addicts in Sydney’s Kings Cross – demands for such, often coming from loud voices in my own national church body. I have never been convinced that this is really compassion, at all.

Compassion is a quality that both understands the human condition, and at the same time has a hopeful view, concerning the possibilities for help, and in particular real redemption.

May those who work amidst the poorest and darkest corners in street ministry, be strengthened to proclaim the Christ, who makes all things new.  Jesus, walks our streets, and feels  our pain, and His Spirit groans awaiting the hope filled future, that resurrection power will yet finally bring in all fulness. Even now, the future is breaking in upon us. Human beings are not hopeless, nor beyond redemption.

Good law in society, is surely an expression of love. It is never merely man-made regulation; it is the way of love, for our good benefit.

May the Lord help the local police, to do their job with gladness; may the police – who are never thanked quite enough, for the good things that they do – also know there is a day for the redemption of all things, so that they do not lose heart, and capitulate to mere cynicism, and then, retirement. Or worse.

May the Lord open our hearts to reconsider the glorious, honest, biblical view.





Creation and Redemption

2 03 2009

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth (Psalm 66:1).

Trumpeting elephants. Screeching seagulls. Busy blue tongue lizards. Crunchy Fuji apples. Do you enjoy the world? If we observe the creation around us– of which we are a unique part – we will discover what a marvellous place it really is. It has such a rich, riotous variety.

Did you know there are some 380,000 different species of plant life known to botanists? There are 21,000 species of fish, 4,000 of amphibians, 5,200 of reptiles, 8,700 species of birds, and 4,000 of animals. Not to mention protozoa, sponges, jellyfish, worms, snails, insects, spiders and more. Earth alone is made up of 100 known elements, like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium and zinc. There are rocks, metals, liquids, gases – and so it goes on. And think – 10,000 million galaxies of stars, beyond this planet. The atmosphere changes continually, with rain, wind, light and heat. There is the moon and the sun, day and night, mountains, plains and valleys, high tide and low, electrical storms and swirling hurricanes. Seasons. Yet so much of creation is unseen, microscopic, or hidden in the depths of caves and oceans.

What about all the people? – 6 billion of us. Contemplate that! There are 5000 different languages. Noise – soft and loud, and silence. Music – with rhythm, melody and harmony – played on percussion, wind, strings and keyboard instruments. We have fabulous foods to delight in – sweet or bitter, soft, medium and hard. There are aromas that please, and smells that don’t!

What about human inventions? Levers, wheels, boats, planes, cars, gadgets, homes, beds, radio, TV, DVD, MP3, power stations. There are hundreds of sports, games and vocations – jobs to do. There is art, writing, reading, research, joke telling, stories, notes, sermons and speeches, books, films, and computers. There is medicine, poison, and pain killing. There is surgery, massage and makeup. There are crafts to do, academic learning, ABC’s for babies, thinking, and pondering. All sorts of feelings: loving and longing, hoping and waiting, disappointment and fulfilment, healing. Disease, deformity and injury we know all too well! Birth, childhood, growth, romance, marriage, friendship, maturity, aging, and death are all different. Eternal life. Prayer. Purpose.

Being “at home” within the creation is what life is all about. How could we ever be bored? Well, there is sin and its terrible, shocking effects! But there is also Redemption.

It is so lovely to come home to the Father, through His Son, in forgiveness. Worship is due to our Creator, and our Redeemer, for both creation and redemption. Jesus Christ our saving Lord, is risen from death, for all creation – life is forever wonderful. Come Holy Spirit.

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth.





The Redemption of Creation

14 10 2008

THE REDEMPTION OF CREATION

 

Study 4

 

Trevor Faggotter

 

INTRODUCTION

 

In Christ Jesus, God has spoken, and is speaking. This speaking awakens hope. Some people prefer perpetual silence, and a lifetime of distractions, or even years of pessimistic mumbling and commentary, to a word, which breaks that silence, brings comfort – yet probingly so – and so, demands much more of us.

 

We saw in Study 2 that a tragic guilt has come to the human race. Sin enters the world. Communion has been broken on a large scale, with huge ramifications. Wholeness, unity and peace on a personal, and global scale have been shattered.  However, as Christians we have, by faith, experienced the healing of our broken lives in Jesus Christ.

 

SELF-HEALING AND REPAIR

 

A marvel occurs when we cut our hand: immediately the body goes to work. An anaesthetic, and the great healing power of our own blood flows forth – spreading, congealing and eventually bridging and plugging the gaping gash in our skin, and finally healing over, with what can surely be described as – a remarkable repair job!  Similarly, some months after a scorching bushfire blackens the Australian scrub, we see small, power-filled green shoots emerging from charred stumps.  What then of the whole world?

 

Is there a moral order a self-healing power, as nature overgrows in course of time catastrophes volcanic in violence and in area continental? Has it a Vis medicatrix, a power of innate self-recuperation, corresponding to what we find in physical organisms? Is there in it an indwelling tendency, which moves to repair all damage at last, and a power to overbear those elements, which arrest its development?

 

Creation does appear to have inbuilt dynamic powers of its own. Let the earth bring forth living creatures (Genesis 1:24), and it does; creatures themselves are blessed, commanded and equipped to be fruitful, and they are. Powers of procreation, medicines and powers of healing lie within creation.  As we look to Scripture, and our hear Christ speaking in it, we see that creation has a future. This future is however, always integrally bound up with the person – Jesus Christ.  Scripture records that the earth shook at Christ’s crucifixion and the whole creation now waits with eager longing for the unveiling of the future, the sons of God participating in the life of total liberty, where death and decay are no more; this future is that which God has planned.  But there is not merely, an inbuilt self-directing powerful pressure for good that brings new life to the world.  There is a Person! That person is the Redeemer.

 

THE PERSON

 

It is the personality and deeds of Jesus Christ, as Lord of creation, Lord of life, and Lord over death, which brings the future into being. Firstly, together with the eternal Father, as the eternal Son, he freely selects and sets out what the future goal of creation will be. And he brings this future into being in a way, which is truly moral (not moralistic), where moral actions matter. Forsyth says:

 

…we construe the universe in terms of its crowning product, soul, conscience, and society.  It exists for the growing of personality, which is an end in itself, and, in so far as it serves, it serves only another personality, and grows men of God, who is the end for all ends.

 

In Christ, God is:

 

…that One who has His universal end completely in Himself, who is identical with the end of the disordered universe – with its redemption. He is the Redeemer because He is identical with His own redemption. 

 

What does this mean for our lives?  How does it affect our living?

The following points outline the matter in brief:

  1. There is a Person – Christ –unifying all things, himself the guarantor of the goal.
  2. We are called to participate with Christ, as he takes us towards, and to the goal.
  3. As participants, we nevertheless, of ourselves, have severe limitations.
  4. Creation appears to have innate qualities of self-repair and healing, but in fact, all of these are contingent upon the Living Redeemer.
  5. Evil also has an inbuilt tendency to disorganise itself – to self-destruct.
  6. The atonement of the cross, flowing from a Holy God, however, is the only way of dealing fully with the moral situation of the human race. It is a moral Act that is required, and marks a new beginning for the human race. There is no other.

 

WE DON’T JUST FIND A SPOT TO PARK OUR CARAVAN

 

Christian faith is about willing participation in the workings of Christ. It is a moral struggle to do so (Ephesians 6:12). Many miss this fact. As such, some believers are virtually ‘still-born’, upon their new birth into God’s kingdom. Our lives, our actions have a direct bearing upon what shall be, in eternity. Moral or immoral action has significant bearing on the way in which history unfolds. 

 

Faith in the Living Christ excludes the idea of fate, but includes the realisation of destiny:

 

We do not find our freedom and peace merely by finding ourselves, but by finding ourselves in a world Saviour. We do not reach rest merely by finding our place in an objective order, and reconciling ourselves to it.  For that is rather resignation than reconciliation.  What we find is a power rather than a place, a power working congenially in us both to will and to do.  We do not merely win a fortitude, which accepts our niche in the universe, or takes the room assigned in the caravanserai of life.  We recognise … our own Master’s voice, the voice of One whose mastery of us is our own true self, true power, and true freedom.

 

Hearing God, we begin to participate in his will – at first, and ever anew: 

 

Moral power is, at the last, personality. That is the only form in which we know what power really is – our own sense of acting as persons, or of being acted on by persons.

 

Our destiny, however, is always a gift, a grace, redemptive. It is only possible because there is a Living Redeemer. And this Redeemer carries out many repairs.

 

THE LIMITATIONS OF CREATURE AND CREATION

 

In answer to his own questions, (see the start of this paper), Forsyth thus reminds us:

 

The moral order is self-repairing only in the sense that it is repaired continuously and creatively by the Holy One whose end is in Himself, and who is its true self and more. (So that to love God is to love ourselves in the truest way).

 

For the human race the fact of our mortality, limits any self-repair we may be given:

 

There comes a point when the power of physical self-repair ceases – in death.

 

As to the renewal of this creation; we are not to expect evil to be a self-solvent. Nor does the good make its slow and ebbless way through creation. The wicked are often caught in their own net (Psalm 141:10), and their evil deeds are turned to work together for God’s purposive good, as in Joseph’s life (Gen. 50:20). However, it is in the cross of Christ, (Acts 2:23) that God works Redemption – and in no other way, does history come to its appointed goal. The creature and creation need the Creator for Redemption! Paul teaches that in the new creation, the old things have become new (1Corinthians 5:17). Revelation 21:1 shows the new heaven and new earth is the same heaven and earth, “but gloriously rejuvenated, with no weeds, thorns or thistles, and so on”.

 

The following comment by Forsyth regarding the new creation is consistent with this:

 

The new creation must, of course, arise out of the first, for, though it is an absolute Act, it does not take place in an absolute way.  But it is a more grave matter to regenerate the first creation into the second that it was to organise chaos into the first.  The opposition of chaos, void and formless, was passive, but the opposition of the creature is active. It is a family quarrel, and they are the worst. It is not matter against force but will against will.  It has behind it all the power of the freedom, which makes the first creation what it chiefly is.  So that it is really more true ethically to speak of God’s goal as a New Humanity than as two stages or states of the old Humanity – so long as we do not put the old and the new out of all organic connection whatever…. The Redeemer was not the mere agent of a process. He was the New Creator. 

 

WHAT IS REDEMPTION?

 

It is an Act, with a capital ‘A’. Redemption is not a process. Rather, it is a concentrated Act, with an eternal and universal bearing.

 

Forsyth takes us on, into the cross, as that necessary and crucial Act of God:

 

Nothing offers a future for such a world as this but its redemption.  But by redemption what do we mean? We mean that the last things shall crown the first things, and that the end will justify the means, and the goal glorify a Holy God. We mean (if we will allow ourselves theological language) an eschatology and a theodicy in it – a divine Heaven, a divine Salvation, and a divine Vindication in the result of history. But more. We mean a consummation, which can only come by way of rescue and not mere growth. We mean rescue from evil by a God whose manner of it is moral, which is the act of a moral absolute, the act of a holy God doing justice to righteousness at any cost to Himself. We mean rectification of the present state of things on His own principles; that is, not mere rectification, mere straightening of a tangle, but justification on a transcendent plane of righteousness, the moral adjustment of man and God in one holy, loving, mighty, final, and eternal act.  We mean something more crucial than Meliorism.

 

We will continue to explore and expound these things in the next study.


Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me..”

     John Piper has a thoughtful book title: What Jesus Demands From the World, Crossway Books, 2006.

Vis Medicatrix naturae means: the healing power of nature.

, NCPI, 1988, p. 59

Matthew 27:51, 54 ‘The earth shook, and the rocks were split’ ‘… the centurion saw the earthquake…’

Romans 8:19 For ‘the creation wais with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God;’

Forsyth, p. 63

Ibid.

Caravanserai: an inn in some eastern countries with a large courtyard that provides accommodation for caravans

Forsyth, p. 64

Ibid. p. 65

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid. p. 66

Geoffrey C. Bingham, Creation and the Liberating Glory, NCPI, 2004, p. 144

William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, Tyndale Press, 1940, p. 198 says: ‘The word used in the original implies that it was a ‘new’ but not an ‘other’ world. Fn: The original has kainos, not neos.’

See also Geoffrey C. Bingham, Creation and the Liberating Glory, p. 73, 121

Forsyth, p. 68

Forsyth, p. 74

Meliorism: the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment. 








%d bloggers like this: