This was one of my “blurbs” during our Sacred Space series (entitled God With Us on Sermonaudio). I believe we were preparing to consider the Exodus (the event, not the book) and how it contributes to the purpose of God in Christ to redeem and restore all things to Himself. Based on my notes, I suppose I was giving a review/overview of our Sacred Space series and I believe it went something like this:
Our study of Sacred Space is the study of God’s habitation or dwelling place—commonly understood as “Heaven”. But as we know, it’s not a “place”, per say; it’s not a geographical location. The Bible tells us that God is everywhere and that not even the heavens can contain Him. God’s dwelling place or Heaven, if you prefer, is the realm in which God is present in relation to His creation. It’s not simply where God is, but how God is with respect to His creation. We could say that “Heaven” is the place, so-to-speak, of relationship, of intimacy between God and His creation focused primarily toward Man as image-bearer (image-son), but then flowing out from Man to the entire created order.
(For those of you who’ve been reading my drivel for a while, this idea is not unfamiliar)
Eden, the Garden of God (also called, importantly for typological reasons, the Mountain of God) typified the intimacy of relationship of which Sacred Space speaks—God With Us! In the beginning, in Eden, God dwelt in intimate communion with His image-bearers. Adam and Eve freely and unashamedly walked with God and talked with God in intimate, joyful fellowship—as Children with their Father! And Shalom was the reality that was typified in Eden, the reality in which creation was to always exist.
(And we defined Shalom in this way)
Shalom is the state of Harmony within the created order in which every created thing finds itself in perfect conformity to itself and its created function and therefore relates with integrity (in truth) to every other created thing…and to God Himself.
(Again, for those of you who’ve been reading this stuff for a while, this is nothing new)
…and this Shalomic State was to be forever—the Perpetual Shabbat of the 7th day “rest” of God.
And God’s dwelling place (or Sacred Space) in this Shalomic State was to be comprehensive—it was to cover the entire earth. As His image-bearers were to multiply and subdue the earth, Eden, as-it-were, was to extend over the entire created order.
But as we’ve seen in our study so far, with the Fall there has come a separation, a distance between God and Man; and this new paradigm of alienation has affected the whole Cosmos. Sin has brought the curse and with it…estrangement (“death”). Eden typifies Life; the Curse typifies Death. To borrow from Cornelius Plantinga: Shalom has been vandalized. As we’ve seen, Sacred Space has been lost.
The recovery of Sacred Space, then, is the overturning of the Curse, the restoration of Life out of Death, the removal of this distance between God and Man, the removal of this alienation and estrangement that marks the created order. The recovery of Sacred Space is the reality of God dwelling in intimate communion with His people once again! It’s the return to Eden, so-to-speak, only in its fullness through the reality of the incarnation of Christ and the fulfillment of all things in Him! By His incarnation (and all that this means), humanity, as well as the entire Cosmos, has been taken up in Jesus, the Christ. The New Creation has come in Him! Christ is the one who establishes the everlasting Shalom because it’s in Him that the New Creation (of which we are now a part) enters into the Perpetual Shabbat of God “rest”. AMEN!