THE COSMOS AS A TEMPLE OF GOD

In the beginning, God created the entire universe; toward the end of His creative action, He called it good (Gen. 1:31). He placed Man into the universe and gave him stewardship over His creation (2:15). Since the Fall of Man, all of God’s good creation also fell due to their submission to humanity as steward. As Paul asserts, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:20-23 NRSV).

Based from the above passage, Paul taught that the entire cosmos was subjected to corruption upon the Adamic trespass. However, he advanced that through Christ’s personhood and His incarnation, the cosmos is no longer groaning in pain but is waiting for the fruition of the eschaton. Upon Christ’s Incarnation, the entire universe was affected by the entrance of God into the earth. A typological aspect of Christ’s incarnation is present in the narrative of the Old Testament temple.

In the Old Testament, God’s presence is told to have entered into a Temple so His people would sufficiently worship him. His presence would sanctify the building and the sanctuary and bring a redemptive aspect to the physical and material world. In the New Testament, God instead enters into the world by taking a body of flesh, sanctifying the world around Him, and bringing with Him into the universe a redemptive aspect of salvation by simply being who He was. The parallelism between Christ’s teaching that “as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt: 24:27-29) and the Old Testament instance of “the glory of the Lord [entering] the temple by the gate facing east,” (Ezek. 43:4) can be observed here. The typology is difficult to miss; the fact that Jesus entered into the world as God entered into the Jewish temple shows an intrinsically purifying nature to the corporeal universe around us. God, through the person of Jesus Christ his Son, is literally “making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

The Temple mentioned in the Old Testament belongs to God; no priest would dare argue against that. Therefore, with the cosmos itself being the typological fulfillment of the Old Testament Temple in entering into the cosmos, the entire universe can be considered as God’s. This means that His divinity and holiness enter into it, hence purifying it and making it new. This means that the earth which we live in, the oxygen we breathe, the rivers which provide us water, the crops which we harvest, and the animals which give us meat, all belong to God. According to Matthew Henry, “God’s temple, his church on earth, [is] filled with his glory. His train, the skirts of his robes, filled the temple, the whole world, for it is all God’s temple. And yet he dwells in every contrite heart.” This implies that upon entering the world, God’s glory claims every inch of the world, seeking to purify it and restore it its natural state of goodness.

 

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What are the everyday things you see that reveal to you the glory of God?

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