Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are We Going Back To Eden?

As a Protestant I thought all history was heading the human race back to Eden.... perfection... the pristine and naked innocence of the garden. We are heading back to Genesis where things are simple, uncomplicated, just God and my husband and me in our own little world of fruits and waterfalls, a mossy earth to lay our heads on and perfect weather so we need no shelter.

Well.... actually...

That isn't really what the Bible describes. Revelation tells us rather than moving back into the garden we are going from Genesis to Revelation, from the alpha to the omega, from the garden to the Kingdom of Heaven.

We aren't going backwards, we are going forward.

Eden was perfect but it isn't our destiny. When God told Adam to go and subdue the earth, it was wild. It wasn't civilized. Adam was to make a kingdom. He was to bring creativity and order to the world. All the beautiful raw materials of trees, dirt, rock, marble, gemstones, animals and eventually children were given to Adam and Eve to make more than just a garden paradise but to found a civilization. They were to build, develop, create, fail and do it again until they make their kingdom.

The Genesis Theology

So often Protestants believe that, if we are to get it right, if we are to do God's will we should look to Eden or even the early church.

For those who have this Eden (or early church) theological perspective, they want all, everything we need for today somehow given in the early church. But that is not what God set up. God set up a kingdom. The early church was given the power to develop and even create. They are making and building God's Kingdom on earth. We know this kingdom started as a seed and will see its fulfillment when Christ comes again bringing the great City of Jerusalem, the Kingdom's capital.

This Genesis theology is a real problem when it comes to explaining Catholic thought to a Protestant. They want everything to be clearly seen in the seed. They think the seed is where we are supposed to be. When we speak of the development of doctrine, they look back at the earliest church and if it is not plainly written out in its full form, then somehow it is sinful. No development of Christianity, no building theology, no expanding a garden into a city.

Catholics see the truths of God's kingdom just as the kingdom itself. It started very small, with just twelve men and rapidly expanded. It was the mustard seed. It was the baby. It was the beginning, the alpha and the Genesis of truth. Perfect, simple, pristine (and a little wild and chaotic at times.)

Christ placed men in charge of this Kingdom and told His princes to go and develop, subdue and build in this Kingdom with all the raw materials He provided. Take the cedars of Lebanon and build castles, cathedrals, cottages. Take the written words of the Apostles--make a Bible. Take what you know of Christ and develop the doctrines of the nature of Christ and the Trinity. Dig deep and find the gemstones of the meaning of marriage. Drink the water and eat the bread and gain a greater understanding of the Eucharist.

Take the beauty that you have been freely given and freely make more beauty. Take the gift of sex and be fruitful and multiply! It is the same with doctrines and rites and rituals. God's kingdom is a true kingdom and we are to rule as Princes and Princesses.

His church, the Kingdom of Heaven, is given to us that we may explore and find meaning with a surprise around every corner. Our theology is also to go from Genesis to Revelation, from the garden to the shining city on a hill.

And we can only do that if it is the TRUE Kingdom, the one He promised that He would never forsake, the one He gave the keys to Peter and promised that whatever Prince Peter (the Rock) would bind and loose, God Himself would honor. And remember Christ also promised that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against Peter's kingdom. He promised as He ascended into heaven that He would be with His Apostles.... even to the end of the age. That is the age of Peter and the Apostles' kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven. What Genesis was created for.....