Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 4 – Deforming the intended direction for creation
[Bible references: Genesis 3:13-15; 50:20; Isaiah 53; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 7:9; Matthew 10:28-31; Luke 19:11-27; 1 Corinthians 12; Galatians 3:13-14,23-29; Ephesians 1:11-12; Hebrews 1:1-3]
The apparent penalty for sin, physical death, was actually a blessing. Unlike the angels who rebelled against God, death provided the rebellious image-bearers a means of avoiding an eternity separated from the source of goodness and grace. But for the image-bearers, death would provide a means where not only they but all of creation could be rescued from decay and death.
The plan of restoration would start to slowly unfold in ways that would sometimes be baffling and confusing and on a timetable that is beyond our comprehension. Over time though, God would gradually reveal how he intended to restore our relation to him, to end our pain and suffering, and to overcome the evil that seems to pervade everything.
The process of God’s revelation of hints of restoring creation started right at the beginning. God gave the initial clue in the curse given to the serpent, but the hint must have been a cryptic comment to His newly broken image-bearers. But since we have the privilege of looking back, we can see that God’s then cryptic reference was to the death and suffering of the character revealed in the Old Testament as the Messiah. As time went on, the Creator gradually revealed more and more clues about the plans He had to restore His creation. This gradual revelation was, and still is, a painfully slow time of waiting as we suffer the consequences of broken relations and a broken creation.
Fortunately, as we have waited in our broken universe, God’s grace has continued to intervene throughout history so that things are not as bad as they could possibly be. Our rebellion has not deterred God from providing for our everyday needs nor has he ceased to work on his plan to rejoin heaven and earth.
Meanwhile, God invites us to take part with him in the continued creation of the universe, bringing healing, health and hope directly into the midst of our now broken world, a task that he and we will continue until God fully restores his kingdom. Towards that end, he has provided spiritual gifts, gifts that we can share with one another, to build up one another and to bless the world as his ambassadors.
There are many things about the plans of God that we do not understand. God’s plans for us seem to be drawn out over a long time in which there is much suffering and pain. But even the suffering and pain we endure can be redeemed to help us become more like the Desire of our Hearts, the One who gave all Himself so that we all may become more like Him.
What would the world look like if there was no goodness?
Read Genesis 50:20. This sentence was spoken by Joseph to his brothers in regard to their selling him into slavery. What can we learn from this?