“Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughters of Eve!”Aslan from “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis
In my last post, I shared a concept that I have been noodling on for well over a decade. a concept that takes the state of humanity from creation to glorification and puts them into topographical locations. That sounds super not-interesting, I know, but I believe it can be a helpful way of recognizing what glories humanity was originally created for so that we can see what our experience will be when we are restored to that glory, realizing that the restoration will not merely be to Genesis 2, but beyond that. I believe the glorified state that mankind will one day enjoy is the same state Adam would have attained had he passed his probation period, however long that would have been.
Adam was created to have dominion over all of the earth, acting as God’s image-bearer. He was to rule over the fish, birds, animals, the garden. He was to reflect the glory of God throughout all of creation along with Eve, his wife and co-bearer of the image of God. Once the job got too big for two people, they were to multiply and cover the earth with more image-bearers. Or perhaps they were to get that part of the project started fairly quickly. That seems more likely to me. The procreative aspect of their experience will not be seen in the New Heavens and New Earth, by the way. That procreative aspect of Kingdom Dwellers takes place in this life. Not so much in a genetic sense but in the act of multiplication through the instructions given in the Great Commission.
This is remeniscent of the story of Job. He was a wealthy man with many children. He lost his wealth. He lost his children. When all was restored, he received twice as much wealth as he had before. But he only received the same number of children as he had before. At that time, progeny was also a sign of wealth. So why not double the children? Because his children would be restored to him in the resurrection.Me
Eden was wonderful, not just because it was very good, but because that is where God dwelt. Just as the Tabernacle was holy because that is where God was. And Christians today are holy because that is where the Holy Spirit resides. It was a grand setting because God was there. And where God is, His Council is there as well.
Michael Heiser says that the declaration of “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26) cannot be a narration from within the trinity because there was no need to say anything the other members didn’t already know. I do think that’s a pretty weak argument. I’m not saying that he is incorrect here, but the assumptions he is making with the text are a bit more than I am willing to accept. To be fair, he does affirm that only God has the ability to create, so the members of the council are not participants and they are also not included in the decision-making process as they are in other references, such as 1 Kings 22.
To continue his train of thought, Heiser says that we are made in God’s image, as well as the image of the Divine Council and he gets that from the previous statement in 1:26. That does not imply a duty for you and me to reflect the glory of the Divine Council over all creation. It does mean that there are attributes of the council that we are meant to share. Just as God presented all of the animals to Adam and no helper was found that was suitable for him, God desired that His glory would be taken everywhere by image-bearers, not just by council members. I’m still chewing on that concept, so be gentle if I’m in error here.
Eden was the original place where heaven and earth intersected. Had Adam not sinned, that intersection would have continued and grown as Eden grew to encompass the entire Pangea. The population of the earth would have grown and we would have served and loved God without falling short for eternity. Instead, sin entered the world, and with it came death.
Death is the enemy. Death remains undefeated. Yes, death reigns in this world. We are told that Jesus conquered death, but that is incomplete. The defeat of death itself is assured, so in that sense, you can say that death is finished. But take a look at verse 26. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed, not the first. So long as death remains, we have kingdom work to do for He must reign UNTIL all he has put all his enemies under his feet.
Everything that has been lost in the fall will be restored, including the “what might have been” aspects that go beyond the experience of Adam and Eve. Humanity will not just be restored to Eden. Humanity will be restored beyond Eden, beyond the imaginations that Adam could have had if only he had taken a moment to ponder (or ask) what was awaiting him.
If you are in Christ, you can read your Bible and imagine what it must have been like to walk with God in the cool of the day and know that one day you will experience that. What did they talk about? Adam had the authority to name the animals. What else was he taking charge of? Were his responsibilities going to grow as the earth continued to be transformed? How do you, yes you, fit into this? What can you do in anticipation of one day living this same reality?
And the responsibility to live according to this reality is active NOW. God repeated the instructions given to Adam to Noah. What has been lost will be regained, but we do not stand out on a hill staring at the clouds, idly waiting for God to return. (Acts 1:10-11) Why not? Because He has given us a job to do. This job description is to restore the glory of God in every venue.
- We are to work through the authority that has been given to Jesus and delegated to us.
- We are to make disciples.
- Baptize them in the faith. Literally to immerse them in the knowledge of God.
- Teach them to obey all that Jesus commands, to live according to their baptism.
- We are to remember that Jesus remains with us to the end of the age.
Who are you? What are your identifying attributes? Do you see yourself first as a child of God or as a spouse and parent? Do you dwell on your past or do you look to a future existence (Hebrews 11:10) that is designed and built by God?
And what about other people who are not believing in Jesus? It is one thing to marvel at the future that you have. It is another to withhold the knowledge of that future from another person who is, likewise, made in the image and likeness of God. You cannot save anyone. That is not your role. But you are called to spread the word that the Kingdom is here and that it is growing. It began as a mustard seed in an upper room in Jerusalem. It has grown to represent billions of people across the world. People of every tribe, tongue, and nation. Racism is abhorrent to Christianity. So is anti-racism as it is understood today. Both are the same sin of partiality. Shoot, both are the same sin, but the second crime scene is worse than the first, for you also question why God made you into a racist.
The people of God have a grand future, and it is our mandate to bring that future about now. Yes, now. I did not stutter. On Earth as it is in Heaven. That is our command given directly from Jesus in the model prayer that we are supposed to follow as a template for our lives. It is only the cowardly among us who would disagree. And according to Revelation 21:8, they are not fit for the kingdom anyway.
Those who are fit and who are being made fit have a glorious future that surpasses Eden. We are not fit because of our own righteousness. We are made fit by the blood of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”