Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Theodynamic Kingdom

Here's some ruminations from an essay I wrote this semester.
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The Kingdom of God is a key new testament idea. It occurs 61 times in the Gospels (including the Matthean equivalent ‘kingdom of heaven’, excluding parallels). While the term ‘kingdom of God’ does not occur as such in the old testament, the OT is replete with the idea that Yahweh is the king, who rules all nations, but in particular his people Israel.
The kingdom came when the Christ the king came. Jesus of Nazareth is autobasileia: king and kingdom in himself. In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus both fulfilled the longings of the old testament, and perfectly expressed what it means to live under God’s rule. Jesus is God’s true Son, who pleases the Father. He succeeded where Adam and Israel failed: he refused to succumb to the Devil’s temptations, and let the Word of God rule his life instead. He is the true Davidic king, and divine Son of Man, whose kingdom will never end.
God’s kingdom is theodynamic. It ‘comes’, through God’s powerful, decisive intervention in history; humans cannot ‘build’ it through their efforts. The 19th century Liberal interpretation of the kingdom as an ‘inner moral ethic’, based on the universal ‘fatherhood of God’ and ‘brotherhood of man’, completely misunderstood this. Only God himself can truly establish his kingdom, because the problem that requires solution, and the enemy that must be defeated, is not natural but supernatural. The fundamental problem is not bad habits, lack of education, lack of resources, oppressive social structures, or any other problem that can be defined exclusively with reference to this created order. The fundamental problem is the personal wrath of a holy God, who has been rightly offended by the personal rebellion of his image-bearers against him. By this rebellion, humanity has aligned themselves with Satan and his kingdom, against God. So, to establish his kingdom, God must deal with human rebellion, his own wrath, and Satan.
How does God deal with that? Check back at this blog tomorrow...

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