Monday, August 17, 2009

Cosmic Redemption--a brief post

Just some quotes and thoughts from a so-far excellent book by Michael D. Williams: "Far As The Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption"

“The essence of the Christian religion consists in this,” said Herman Bavinck, “that the creation of the Father, devastated by sin, is restored in the death of the Son of God, and recreated by the Holy Spirit into the kingdom of God” (quote from, “Far As The Curse Is Found” by Michael D. Williams, pg. xi).

The above quote might be the most concise and profound statement regarding the purpose of God in Christ that I’ve come across. The only change I would make is substituting the term “death” with “Christ-event” (properly understood). I would do this because the Bible speaks of the restoration of all things in the terms of Christ as the fulfillment of all the Scripture. It’s not just His death but His subsequent burial, resurrection, ascension and enthronement as the King/Priest that the Scripture speaks of with regard to Christ. The “Christ-event” is the sum total of the Person and Work of Christ as the fulfillment of all the Scripture and it is this paradigm (not solely the “death” of Christ) that is the basis of God’s restoration of His creation.

With that in mind, however, Bavinck’s quote succinctly expresses the central theme and storyline of the Bible which, according to Williams, also forms the overarching literary structure of the Bible: creation-fall-redemption-consummation (ibid, pg. xi). And it is this theme that is so often missed by sincere Christians as they attempt to understand the Bible. As Bavinck points out, it is God’s intention to restore the fullness of His creation, not just mankind. The “Christ-event” is not just applicable to “man”, it is cosmic in scope. The curse has affected the entirety of God’s creation and Christ’s purpose to overthrow the curse is likewise universal—all of creation (though not every individual human being) will one day enter into Christ’s redemption so that the curse is nowhere to be found!

Speaking of the glory of Christ’s resurrection, Williams puts the cosmic nature of redemption this way: “God’s unstoppable goal is nothing less than the restoration of his good creation, the eradication, not of it (creation) but of the sin that has damaged it, even the triumph of the body over death itself” (ibid, pg. 2). As Christians, we need to see the Gospel in all its glory—Christ’s redemption restores all things to their created purpose and destiny. Again, not every individual person will be “saved”, of course; but Christ’s coming was to recover the entirety of creation, not just “man”. As the “Seed of the Woman”, when Christ crushed the serpent’s head at the Cross (with all that the Cross entails) it was to deliver not just “man” but the whole of creation from the curse of estrangement, sin…and death.