There is a special relationship that God has with His creation, the Cosmos, the created order – The world. This includes everything created and ordered from Chaos into the beauty we can interact with and enjoy today.
The realities of this relationship has been largely undermined by the theologies of the last 200 years. The picture painted for us is that of: – The Cosmos is the enemy of God. – God is angry at the world. – God will destroy the world. We somehow found satisfaction in distinguishing ourselves from the created order, placing ourselves in a class of our own – Spiritual beings only. Hoping for an escape from it and all it represents.
Some misread 2 Co 4:4 to claim that the devil is the ‘god’ of this world. This is a common error. The world for ‘world’ here means ‘age’ as in a time period. This world has never belonged to anyone but its rightful Owner, by rights of creation.
Yes, the created order might be in an imperfect state, full of hurt and pain, struggling to keep on course. All of this we also feel and experience on a micro level within our own bodies and lives as our ‘Cosmos’ (body and soul) battles the desires of the Spirit of God within us.
But when we study scripture one will be forgiven to have a different viewpoint on the matter. A bigger view, a long-term view that transcends the ages:
- God loves the World. (Jhn 3:16)
God in Christ, gave His flesh for the life of the World (Jhn 6:51)
God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself. (2Co 5:19)
God has promised it as inheritance to Abraham’s seed which is Christ and therefore us. (Rom 4:13 & Ps 2:8)
God will gather al things in it in Christ (Eph 1:10)
Yes, we are warned not to fall prey to the selfishness and lust that is in the world and corrupts the systems of the World, but we are never called to escape from or to abandon the actual physical world, the created order.
Rather we are called to co-labour in its transformation, to be the light of it and bring the realms of rule in the world to become the realms of rule of God (Rev 11:15). We are encouraged that the fashion (mode/circumstances) of this world passes away. (1 Co 7:31) That God is busy through His Spirit with a new creation that starts in the inner most parts of the hearts of people (2 Co 5:17) and will finally transform everything in the World. (Rom 8:21) Until that which remains will have a new fashion – that of righteousness. (2 Pe 3:13)
God’s rule does not make all new things, but makes all things new (Rev 21:5). In other words, don’t expect a cataclysmic future event, but expect a trans-generational process of incremental transformation into the image and likeness of God.
This world is His. Love it as He loves it.
(Short summary from podcast message: Chaos, Cosmos, Christ. Part I to III – July 2017)