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“The Triune God’s Answer to Evil,” Part V

June 16, 2011

V. The Kingdom of God as God’s Reigning, Conquering Love

Though the incarnation demonstrates that God is for us and not against us, it is what Christ brings with him that shows God’s plan for the overcoming of evil.  When Jesus came preaching, his gospel was that “the kingdom of God” had drawn near—that in Him, God’s reign had fully come.  I propose that the doctrine of the kingdom of God, in a sense, encompasses these other doctrines into one unified whole.

Going back to the doctrine of the Trinity, we have established that God is a triune community of everlasting love.  Before creation, love was the reigning ruling presence, because it defined God’s very essence.  As we know, God’s love (agape) does not reign in a dictatorial fashion, for it seeks the well-being of the other.  God’s reign is a sacrificial, loving reign.  When God created mankind, the goal of creation was that of love—the love that always existed within the Godhead.  In this sense, God has always sought to reign (i.e. His kingdom) over creation with a rule of love.  Thus when mankind (and the rest of creation) fell, God’s goal and agenda did  not change—he still sought to come and reign over us.  This is the kingdom of God.

As I have mentioned, because of rebellion, there are now two competing factions in the universe.  When God in Christ came into creation, he came claiming that he was bringing forth God’s kingdom.  Though the world, up to that point was ruled by a kingdom of darkness, God’s kingdom—defined by the ministry of Jesus—was instituted.  The bringing of the kingdom of God—ushered in by its king, is the good news—or the gospel—of God’s answer to sin, death, rebellion, and evil.  In a sense, Jesus is the kingdom of God, for in his ministry, death, and resurrection, he demonstrates who God really is, what his reign really looks like, and guarantees that it will be consummated fully at the end of time.

If we want to know what God’s response is to the evil and suffering in this world, then we need look no further than Jesus Christ.  It might be objected that while what God did in Jesus was certainly beautiful, it cannot and does not answer the suffering that have taken place in the two thousand years since he came.  Yet, God’s plan for his loving reign does not end with Christ’s death and resurrection.  In fact, Jesus himself, said it was a good thing that he was going back to the Father.  This is so, because God’s plan is to fill his followers—those who have become citizens of his loving kingdom—with the kingdom itself, and that the people of God, or the church, would demonstrate and carry out the spread of God’s kingdom throughout the earth.

We must not confuse our human understanding of kingdoms and rulers with the kingdom of God.  While the rulers of this world seek to rule over people, often using power and force, to accomplish their ends, God’s kingdom looks most clearly like Christ giving his life on a cross.  God’s kingdom is defined by selfless, sacrificial, love.  Because of our superficial western views of love, this may sound fluffy and trite, but that could not be anything further from the truth.  What else besides sacrificial Christ-like love can bring peace and healing to this broken world (let us not forget that most of the evil is because of human wickedness)?  Imagine if a million people began to actually live like Jesus?  What kind of effect would that have in our world?  We can at least catch a glimmer of what God’s kingdom in its fullness would look like.

And so, the hope of Christianity, is that God’s kingdom will some day fully reign in this world.  One day, the love of God’s reign will finally vanquish all sin, selfishness, hatred, greed, pride, lovelessness, and thus the vast majority of evil.  In fact, the cross and the resurrection of Christ is God’s way guarantee of such a victory.  Christ’s victory on the cross of sin, death, and Satan, is God’s assurance that His final and complete victory is unavoidable.  In the meantime, God’s people are commissioned with the task of being his kingdom “ambassadors” in ministries of reconciliation as we seek to have his reign made complete in our own lives and then spilling into the world.  The famous prayer, “Let your kingdom come, and let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” will someday come to pass.

 

VI. Conclusion

 There is no way for me to fully answer the problem of evil.  Though I think it is incredibly important for philosophers and theologians to continue to dialogue and seek ever more faithful answers, I am under no illusions that we will one day finally discover the “solution.”  However, in Christianity, I see not only many intellectually fulfilling responses to it, but infinitely more, I see a God who takes the brokenness, evil, and sin of this world with the utmost seriousness.  I see a God who has always wanted to have his love reign over all.  I see a God who must take freedom seriously if he is to have his creation and creatures dwell in his unfathomable love.  I see a God who is irrevocably committed to his creation, and goes to unimaginable lengths to suffer with and for us, by entering into our suffering and bearing it upon himself.  And I see a kingdom and way of reigning that is most clearly expressed in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And I am convinced that one day the King will return in his fullness, and we will partake of what God always intended for us—that we would exist, live, and revel in his unending love.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 16, 2011 1:57

    I really liked your conclusion. It answered my objection in Part II that you were guilty of reducing God’s goal in creation to one solution.

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