God is the original personality and the ever-extant community. God is infinite creativity expressed in Trinitarian divinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a whirling dervish of expressed adoration, mutual satisfaction and creative action. Their fingers have fondled the stars and forged the deep valleys of the seas. Their divine dance has spoken into existence all that exists; the breath of his words gives it all life and holds it all together.
God’s very essence is love. For this reason he spoke into existence all that is known, all that is mystery and all that is man. As the crown of his creation, he created humans to join in, and expand the worship circle pulsating out from the divine community. The chief purpose of man is as a conduit for reflecting the glory of God throughout the earth and for presenting before God a display of how his divinity is expressed and acknowledged in all the created order.
It was his boundless love that led him, in spite of his foreknowledge of their pending rejection, to place vestiges of his very image in man. The result was that his most cherished creation could choose to remain forever in his circle of love or allow the seeds of self-infatuation to sprout a life of separation. It was the pleasure of God to love and receive love from image-bearers who were aware they could do otherwise. In one succulent swallow, men choose the latter and destined all of human history to a fruitless search for self-actualization.
God, however, did not abandon his creation connection. Faced with the reality of man’s chosen isolation, he began working within a new paradigm of God-man interaction based on the echoes (1) of his presence that no human can fully suppress. Moving back and forth between heaven and earth God made himself known to the heart of man through the beauty of creation, the longing for relationship, the desire for spirituality, and the hunger for justice. His interaction in history crescendoed in his revelation to Abraham and his decedents and climaxed in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus.
His wandering flock found a way back into the circle of the eternal heavenly community by embracing Jesus’ death and resurrection as their own.
In Jesus, God jumpstarted the kingdom he had established to share with humans so long ago. Those who re-establish relationship with God through Jesus begin to share in the resources of the concurrent heavenly realm. The effect of this ever-increasing intersection of the now (the decaying kingdom of man) and the not-yet (the everlasting kingdom of God) is a world indelibly and progressively marked by beauty, relationships, spirituality and justice.
At the end of this age, God will put an end to the painful products of man’s posture of independence. With Jesus established as King, every knee will bow and all of creation will rejoice. He will complete his “re-creation” of the world and place his reborn man, as his creation caretakers and image bearers (2) for all time.
(1) N.T. Wright, Simply Christian
(San Francisco: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006), 1-40.
(2) Dan Wilt, Essentials in Worship Theology: The Nature of Humans
(New Brunswick, Canada: St. Stephen’s University, 2008)