God's Grand Unifying Theory
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
The Purpose of God that draws His eternal plans together is not dispensationalism nor covenant theology but . . . . Well, read the blog and find out.
“Instruct me, for thou know’st, thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dovelike sat’st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine: what is low, raise and support;
That, to the height of the great argument;
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.”
John Milton, Paradise Lost.
The Church has invested two-thousand years in uncovering the structures and directions of God’s dealings with men. Just a mere list of terms used to explain these terms through these many centuries would fill a steamer trunk. And now, as we assume ourselves near the end of the age with the near-return of Christ, we are still no closer to bringing the Church together in a united theological understanding than when we first decided to wander apart like the people of Babel.
The Church is divided among those who are Covenant or Dispensational; Millennial, Amillennial, Postmillennial; Pretribulational Rapture, Mid-Tribulational Rapture, Post-Tribulational Rapture, or Pre-Wrath Rapture. Instead of moving towards unity, we are dividing. The next blog series will deal with these many terms and attempt to define and order them so that all the biblical truth about God's plans and purposes are clear. We will also compare the various approaches to the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world.
There are also two separate covenantal systems (synthetic theological covenantalism: The Covenant of Redemption, the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace) and the list of biblical covenants (historical covenantalism: Any promise God made in the Bible can be considered a covenant: e.g., Noahic [both expressions], Abrahamic, Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, New Covenant, etc.)
All in all, it is a massive library of terms and every term has its own supporters and detractors. In order to avoid showing off my ignorance, I will be reading theologians of every stamp and age within the Church. I have already learned a great deal in my study of these many topics and I expect to learn a great deal more as we go through this together.
In our study of the various theological directions followed by most of us armchair theologians, we desire to get to the crux of the matter of God’s ways; and that is to know where to start in understanding how we relate to God and how He has related to us. Are we Covenant Theologians first and fit everything else under that rubric? Or, are we Dispensational Theologians who are willing to admit to covenants (both biblical and synthetic theological covenants) but consider them lesser paths to understanding God’s ways with humankind?
Perhaps the two main maps sent us in the wrong direction. Perhaps the focus of God’s foundational purpose was the Gospel of the redemption of humanity! Our synthetic attempts to wrap all of God’s dealings with creation in a tidy package that explains the Grand Unified Theory of Everything.
May I suggest a different Unifying Theory, one that subsumes all the other laudable systems of theology? A Grand Unified Theory in which all the various and common theological explanations smoothly intermesh and leave us enlightened and clearly directed towards God’s goal for our lives and the future of the Creation.
Perhaps the Kingdom of God, itself, is the Grand Unifying Theory under which all the other explanatory systems comfortably fit and interact with a wonderful conflation. The genius of seeing the Kingdom of God as the supreme purpose of God depends on seeing the Gospel of Redemption as the means of preparing a people for God’s Kingdom. The dispensations are the incremental steps to prepare the citizens of God’s Kingdom for the culture of the Kingdom. The Covenants describe both the values of the Kingdom of God and those values that are not of the Kingdom of God (both works and grace). Having done this will allow us to look at the present mediatorial aspects of the Kingdom of God as explanatory of God’s ultimate outcome for us.
So, this is how we will proceed: All the various theological explanations we have been looking at will be subsumed under the Kingdom of God and they will be defined as descriptive and structural parts of the whole. Each historical descriptor of God’s dealings with humanity will be considered a mediatorial place on God’s timeline for our lives and redemption. My task will be to define the terms and inter-workings of the various parts as well as I can. My purpose will be to aid you in your understanding of where we are heading. Your task will be to review all of my directions, suggestions, and conclusions and then ask the right questions so we may both, as a team, learn of God’s ways with man; not simply to know something about God, but to fit within His eternal plan as we fulfill His purposes throughout eternity.