Saturday, December 06, 2008

Eden’s garden is not destination but source

Peter Leithart on missions at First Things:
...Mission is more like cultivation, a process of nurturing the hidden but unforeseen potential within a culture. Mission, we might say, is like water. Tertullian said, Nunquam sine aqua Christus—Christ is never without water. Neither is the Church; neither is her mission. “Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided into four rivers” (Genesis 2:10). It is the Bible’s first reference to rivers, and the first use of the number four, a number that eventually becomes associated with universality—the four corners (Isaiah 11:12), the four winds (Daniel 7:2), the four cornerstones of a house, the four horns of the altar. Genesis 2:10 is the first missionary text in Scripture, the first hint that Eden’s garden is not destination but source, the first faint suggestion that Adam is to move from the garden to bring its life to the ends of creation....
What I appreciate here in this article by Leithart is the pursuit of this theme forward from Eden (similar to GK Beale's The Temple and the Church's Mission). I've been loving seeing the way that God's plans are wired into the details of Genesis. The gospel announced by Jesus is not invented in the first century but can trace its roots back not just to the beginning of creation, but even before that. This is a whole lot bigger than we often allow ourselves to believe. It's a matter of complete worldview - a world to be laid out, shown to be coherent in itself, shown to consistent with the world we live in, show to be the most compelling story. Persuasive and inviting.
ht: Huxley

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