Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Only Son (part 24)

As has been previously stated, Scripture insists that Adam was charged to steward the creation and to be the out-raying of the Creator God’s glory in and to the creation in which the Creator is said to have walked with man.  The whole of the creation was this God’s temple.  By Adam’s sin (not being the out-raying of his God’s glory through dis-trust and self-idolatry) this was lost, and the world fell into a terrible state of disrepair, becoming something quite far from the “very good” condition in which it had been ordered by God. 

As the outworking of the covenantal promises to Abraham, Israel was then charged with stewardship over a small portion of that now-fallen creation, with their God promising to dwell with them in the land (their God’s temple) that had been promised to them through Abraham.  From that land, they were to show forth the glory of the covenant God so that all nations would stream to the land of Israel in search of the reasons for their blessings, which would ultimately mean that all men were searching for Israel’s God.  Their record in this, as suggested by their defining historical narrative, is mostly one of failure. 

Solomon was then specifically charged with building a temple within the land.  This Temple, located within the promised land, would then be recognized to be the specific place of the Creator God’s dwelling with His people.  It would then be to the Temple itself to which nations would be drawn, as the Temple itself was filled with the Creator God’s glory, as well as being a magnificent structure that visually testified to the glory of the God for Whom it was made to represent.  Solomon, however, did not show forth his wholehearted trust in his God, falling prey to idolatry as had Adam and Israel before him.  As a result, the Temple of Jerusalem itself would come to be defiled and destroyed, just as the land of promise had been defiled by idolatry, as had the whole of the creation.  All of the Creator God’s temples had been brought to the place of desolation. 

When Jesus came upon the stage of history, the temple in Jerusalem was not the temple that the Creator God had ordered to be built (at least according to Israel’s story).  Rather, it was the temple that had been built under the direction of Cyrus, the king of the Persian empire (who was recognized as the ruler of the world at that point in time).  It was not the place where the glory of the Creator God was reflected into the world, and indeed, Jesus would deride the temple authorities as having turned this temple into a den of robbers, where theft and oppression and injustice took place on a regular basis. 

 In contradistinction to the temple that then stood in Jerusalem, Jesus would speak of Himself as the true Temple.  In doing so, He would speak of Himself as the place in which the glory of the Creator God now resided (according to the widely held belief that the Messiah would somehow be the physical embodiment of Israel’s God), thereby making a physical temple irrelevant and redundant. 

If He was the Son of God, and if He did understand the role and understanding of the son of God within the historical tradition that has here been explored, then it seems likely that Jesus would have understood at least a portion of His role to be the rebuilding and restoration of the very first Temple which the Creator God had originally desired to be the place of His dwelling, that being His once very good creation.  Yes, He would be for Israel what Solomon had been intended to be.  He would be for the nations what Israel had been intended to be.  He would be for the whole of creation what Adam had been intended to be.  

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