Dancing In the Kingdom – Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom – Chapter 1 – Prelude
A Brief Account
The following is an Extremely Brief Account of the Very Long Story, a summary of the Bible’s story.
There was, and is, and will be, a complex person we call God, who exists as three people that we have come to know as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God decided that he wanted to expand the love that was shared between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To that end, he created an entire universe so that on one of its planets he could create an abundance of living creatures.
On that planet, he created special creatures, humans, who were made in his image such that they could love him in the way that he loved them. This universe then, would be a form of temple, a place where God can meet with his people. The garden he placed them in was where the dimensions of heaven and earth overlapped. The garden was a place where God’s good and beautiful kingdom of heaven was fully present.
Of course, these humans were not duplicate spiritual beings who were gods themselves, but physical creatures who had enough of God’s characteristics so that they could love in the way God loved. But because love is a voluntary thing that we must choose to do, we cannot love unless we have the option to not love.
God placed his first people in a garden and gave them an assignment. They were to be his representatives, priests if you will, in this garden. They were to take care of it as His representatives, His stewards in the garden. Their long-term task was to multiply and fill the earth so that the whole earth would become the place where God could meet with all his people. The entire earth was intended to be filled with God’s abundant provision for his people who would then take care of what God provided, and all the while giving and receiving and sharing the love which God would freely bestow. In this way, the kingdom of heaven would overlap with the entire kingdom of earth and God would freely mingle with his people.
The option to love or not love was provided by a test of trust. There was in the garden a tree whose fruit not only looked appealing but promised to provide the gift of all knowledge if one ate it. The humans were told to trust God and not eat the fruit of that tree. Eating that fruit would not only provide certain knowledge but would also provide death.
The results of that test are now apparent all around us. Death comes to us not only in the form of physical death, the separation of our souls from physical life, but also in the form of spiritual death, the lack of love which separates us from each other and from God. Fortunately, our current situation is not our destiny – and that is what the rest of the story is about.
God intended that death would not merely be a penalty for not trusting (or loving) but would also be the very mechanism by which he would restore us to himself. From the descendants of the first people, God separated out a family through which he would bring blessing to the entire world. Through that family that a nation would be raised and through that nation the eternal God would choose a family to accomplish the inconceivable. In that chosen family, the eternal God would cause himself to be conceived within the womb of a woman who would then give birth to a being who was both fully God and fully human. He would then be raised as a human and eventually would suffer death by execution as a human and then be resurrected as a human.
In that resurrected human body, the eternal God would return to heaven, but before doing so, he invited us to, in essence, to represent Him on earth by becoming part of his body on earth. By trusting him and accepting his Spirit, we could join with him in His death and resurrection by dying to our own self-interests and uniting with his loving interests.
He then promised to return to us again in bodily form, at which time the kingdoms of heaven and earth will again overlap. Heaven will be rejoined to earth to fulfill the intention God had from the beginning. But meanwhile, in this time between His incarnation and His eventual return, we are still called to be stewards of our currently broken world, bringing slivers of the light and hope of heaven into a world now very dark with evil and suffering and pain.
How do you feel in comparison to the immense size of the universe? What does it mean to you, that the universe was designed with you in mind?
Read Acts 2:22-36; 7:2-50; 10:34-43; 13:16-39; 17:22-31. These passages show the various ways the gospel was presented to various audiences. As you read through the different accounts of the gospel, what stands out to you?