Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In This Is Love (part 4)

Nevertheless, despite his failure, it remains the case that Adam, according to Scripture, which is written with a conceptual framework dominated by Jewish tradition and custom, is thought of as the son of God.  The Scriptures posit multiple sons of God.  Indeed, to remain consistent with terminology employed by the author, Scripture contains multiple revelations of the sons of God.  This is quite important to consider when returning to the place of embarkation upon the theological, Christological, and missiological voyage of this study, which was the tenth verse of the fourth chapter of this first letter of John.  Even the author’s own choice of words and structure spur the reader on to a remembrance of the multiple revelations of God’s sons, as can be seen in the regular usage of “revealed” throughout the third chapter, and on into the fourth chapter. 

The repeated use of “revealed” in the third chapter seem to hang on and gain their meaning from the most direct and purposeful statement in connection with the word, which was that the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.  Here, one makes note of the fact that this author is not alone in his appeal to the revelation of the Son of God (or sons of God) as an obvious part of the divine plan of the Creator. 

To that point, in his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul engages in similar rhetoric, writing that “the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God… in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children” (8:19,20b-21).  Can one not surmise what it is that Paul is implying by the use of such language?  Can one not equate the setting free of creation, in connection with the revelation of the sons of God, with the destruction of the works of the devil?  Doing so does not at all seem like an unrealistic or implausible application of the premise. 

So now there are two New Testament witnesses to the idea of the revelation of the sons of God, which should certainly lead an observer to explore this idea.  The application of the title of son, in relation to God, is not limited to Adam and Jesus.  Adam is merely the first.  It would seem that he is the first to be given a task related to destroying the works of the devil, with this task connected to his righteousness, or his being righteous, and that in the context of faithfulness to a covenant.  The second son, or at least the second explicit reference to a son whose revelation is in connection with a charge to do battle with the works of the devil, with this son-ship presented in a manner consistent with that of Adam (righteousness---covenant faithfulness marked out by obedience to specific commands), is the nation of Israel. 

It is necessary to qualify this statement for a number of reasons.  The first reason is that Adam, in Genesis, is never referred to as the son of God.  This can only be seen for the first time in the Gospel of Luke.  When seen here, one must also come to the realization that the thought therein reflected likely demonstrates a long-held opinion.  The first Scriptural reference to sons of God occurs in the sixth chapter of Genesis, where it is reported that “the sons of God saw that the daughters of humankind were beautiful.  Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose” (6:2).  The Creator God’s reaction to this is indicative that such activity was not pleasing to Him, as the text there quickly progresses to the pointing out of the wickedness of humankind (6:5).  Clearly, these sons were not sons purposefully revealed to destroy the devil’s works, and there is no reference to any type of covenant of obedience. 

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