The Kingdom of God:

Part 2 – Scope and Sequence

Session #4 Ruling over Space: Dominion

60 minutes

1. Made to rule

1.1 Work To Rule

  • Man was made: to rule by means of work - ruling by working in God’s image (Gen 2:15)
  • The garden is ruled with a shovel not a sceptre.

1.2 Working in the Garden

“It is not only nonsense but blasphemy to say that man has spoiled the countryside. Man has created the countryside; it was his business in the image of God.” G.K.Chesterton

58 minutes

  • We can take the sounds that God has created, and mold them into a beautiful symphony or piano sonata;
  • We can take the tastes that God has created and make a gourmet meal;
  • We can take the colors that he has created and paint a beautiful picture;
  • We can take the smells that he has created and make a fragrant perfume;
  • We can take the raw materials that he has created and make a powerful airplane;
  • We can take the logic that he has created and make a microchip.

Paradise is a Park. But, consider these three paradoxes:

  • a) Paradise is not the absence of people: that’s wilderness
  • b) Paradise is not the absence of work: that’s wilderness.
  • c) Paradise is not the absence of city: that’s wilderness.

1.3 Working in the City

  • The City of God / the New Jerusalem
  • The City of Man / Babylon

“In New Covenant terminology, ‘temple’ means the covenanted worshipping community, while ‘city’ means the same community in all its other varied activities.” Roderick Campbell

The city represents all the varied activities that make up human life in community.

56 mins

1.3 Working in the City continued

Cain began the process we call “civilization” (Gen 4:20:22). We need to consider the distinction between the culture of the City of God and the culture of the City of Man with regard to every aspect of civilization, every expression of city building. But in this lecture, we will consider that in relation to one of the specific aspects of culture mentioned in Genesis 4 as having roots in the city of Cain: the development of Music.

  • a) Don’t over-estimate the work of the enemy:
    Culture is not the creation of the kingdom of darkness.
  • b) Don’t under-estimate the work of the enemy:
    Culture has been hi-jacked by the kingdom of darkness

59 mins

1.3 Working in the City continued

“Instead of taking for granted that we are called to deviate from the conventional only on [such] specific issues, ... we must get it into our heads that we are called to be different consistently and systematically. As Christ’s disciples, we march to the beat of a different drummer. Intellectually and imaginatively we must absorb the fact that our calling as Christians means becoming God’s alternative society. Instead of thoughtlessly going with the world except when we have particular reason not to, we should see ourselves as summoned to think out from scratch the Christian way to approach everything, and only go along with the world when we have particular Christian and biblical reasons for doing so.” J.I.Packer

Drawing the distinction between “City” and “Temple” helps us to see that God is ruling in both, and thus avoid the danger of creating a false dichotomy between the spiritual and secular. The church has tended to think of reality in terms of a false dichotomy (as illustrated in Diagram 1) in which so-called spiritual aspects of life are exalted above other things that are deemed to be secular. In such a view, the kingdom is thought to pertain to the spiritual whereas we have no real answers for the affairs of men which are largely located in the lower areas of the diagram.

Diagram 1

However, the true contrast is not between secular and sacred, as if some things have to do with God and others are merely earth-bound. The true contrast revolves around whether in ALL of these activities we are doing them God’s way or Man’s way. The dividing line, in Diagram 2 is a vertical line rather than a horizontal one. The goal is that we should so all things God’s way – in which case every activity becomes truly spiritual.

Diagram 2:

(Diagrams adapted from Albert M.Wolters: Creation Regained, p.68 [Eerdmans; 1985])

2. Micro - Ruling

  • The mandate to rule the world was worked out in a responsibility to till a garden.
  • Our destiny is to rule. Our work is the “garden” that God has given us.

3. Macro-Ruling

4. Model Ruling

  • Adam began in the garden and finished in the wilderness.
  • Jesus began in the wilderness and finished in the garden.

Jesus’ miracles, in one sense, reflect his own pursuit of the mandate given to man to bring the whole created order into subjection to the glory of God. Our task is to use all the means that God has put in our hands to bring his government into the world.

In Christ we are taken out of our wilderness, which in scripture is a place of wild animals and hostility - and placed into the garden of his provision.

  • In the wilderness, you’re the dinner (on the menu for all the wild animals)
  • In the garden, you’re the diner (he sets a table before you in the presence of your enemies).

All men are either in Adam, or in Christ.

  • If they are in Adam, their confession is “Not your will but mine be done” and their condition is that of the wilderness.
  • If they are in Christ, their confession is “Not my will but yours be done,” and in that confession they find their condition to be increasingly that of the garden.

Brian Watts is Pastor of The King's Community Church and lives in Langley with his wife Rosalind.
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