An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Christians - the reluctant greens V


Dividing life into sacred and secular, spiritual and non-spiritual, provides the Christian with the most common excuse for non-­involvement.

Dualism is rooted in Greek philosophy and in Plato (427-347 BC) in particular; it is alien to the Scriptures. According to Plato, reality is composed of two separate realms, the material and the spiritual. The spiritual realm was thought to be superior to the material. Plato’s ideas and thinking had a tremendous impact on the early church fathers. Justin Marty (ca 100-165) even described Plato as a Christian before Christ. Many Christians are un­consciously influenced by these Platonic ideas, and consequently, so-called ‘spiritual’ activities such as worship, prayer and evangel­ism are regarded as more important than business, politics or caring for the earth.

This separation of life into sacred and secular, or spiritual and material, is nowhere to be found in the Old or New Testaments. Indeed the biblical evidence is very much to the contrary: all of life is spiritual. Six times in Genesis 1 God affirmed the goodness of the material realm. Elsewhere, we find that God loved the world so much that he sent his son to redeem it; as we have already seen, the cross vindicates creation; Jesus, God’s son, became human and his resurrection body was a physical one - he was not a disembodied spirit (cf 1 Jn 1:1ff); and it is this material realm that will be redeemed and restored at the consummation of all things.

There is no dualism in Scripture. Politics, environmental action, walking and planting trees are just as much spiritual activities as prayer, praise and speaking in tongues. Abraham Kuyper summed it up like this: ‘There is not an inch of secular life of which Christ does not say “It belongs to Me.’” It is by failing to grasp this that many Christians have come to regard some things as more religious than others, and this is reflected in how they choose to lead their lives and occupy their time, and indeed where their commitment lies. Neglect of caring for the earth is an inevitable consequence. And yet God declares ‘The earth is mine’!

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