Monday, November 10, 2014

Wright on rapture and rascally belief



This makes the second video I've seen where Wright alludes to our care or stewardship of the Earth as it is now having some sort of direct relation to Jesus' return and direct rule as King. It's as if he thinks that we should spiff things up a bit now so as to somehow impress our soon coming King, and perhaps He will give us some sort of civic appointment in his divine Kingdom. I'm not sure if Wright is enjoining this behaviour because he thinks believers will be vying for the post of Dog Catcher or 1000 year tenured seats on the city council, or he's giving a gentle sop to the Gaian Save the Earth movement. 

I agree with his point that eternity is not spent on a cloud in the mystic heavens. Scriptures are quite plain that God has created materiality as a good thing and He intends to reign over it with His family forever, particularly evidenced by His eternal union with creation in the person of Jesus, who is the divine Word in the flesh. However, the way Jesus cleanses this planet and installs His rule is miraculous and without our personal contributions at every turn - the waters of the earth are made clean from a fountain that springs from His throne in Jerusalem, disease is cured from the leaves of particular trees that are not yet in evidence, and evil people are rounded up and separated at His judgement alone. There is no evidence that believers redeem the world in any way, although believers are given positions to rule directly under His appointment and methodology - after Jesus has established His authority directly Himself.


I will also say this about the  "evangelical" tradition of eternity in the sweet bye and bye, forever singing praises to God in the company of the faithful. Evangelicalism in America (and that is the strain Wright likes to dig at - those common, unlearned, unwashed masses) grew up from the 19th century poor who had no one to call upon for help other than God. For a people who could see no farther than this year's harvest or past the losses of business downturns and family taken by disease, it was comfort enough to know that the troubles of this life would be overcome by the joy in the Presence of God for all eternity. Details about resurrections and kingdoms could not be bothered with when faith in God's promises was its own miracle in the presence of this troubled life.  That Wright and the green movement alike can enjoin "care" for the planet is a 21st century First World concern, and can easily be overturned wholesale should famine, drought, pestilence, and plague return to the West.


All is not lost, however, as to our treatment of Earth should you be feeling God does not care about it all. The whole of our behaviour on this planet falls under the mandate of stewardship given to Adam in the garden of Eden. Although he lived for only a time in that garden, his stewardship appointment was worldwide and for all his descendents. We are not in service to the Earth, but we have been directed to cultivate and replenish the planet in service to God. We draw from the Earth for our physical needs, but we also maintain and reshape it so that the whole of it might become an abundant garden, more filled with life of every kind that it might ever have been had it been left to progress without us. The idea that humans are a pestilence upon the planet is a direct accusation that God's authority (and His appointed representatives of His authority - humans who walk in obedience to Him,)  is Itself the prime source of degradation and woe. Leave it to the devil to call good evil, the truth a lie, and the cultivation of life death, and so appoint himself as ruler. Some things never change. 

[Note: the other video]

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