The summing up of all things in Christ and the restoration of human viceregency: Implications for ecclesiology
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SubjectJesus Christ -- Kingdom.
Kingdom of God.
Temple of God.
Providence and government of God -- Christianity.
Bible. -- N.T. -- Ephesians -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
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Chapter 1 introduces the thesis, states its purpose, and defines the dissertation's specific goals. Attention is given to the three aspects of the thesis, which will be explained in full in the remainder of the project. A closing section deals with the methodology that is used: a historical-exegetical and theological-canonical approach. Chapter 2 sets forth the first aspect of the thesis. God's goal for his creation--to extend his special presence so that the world is one all-encompassing temple--will be ultimately achieved through one man, Jesus Christ; and penultimately with those who are united to him. In the first section, it will be shown that Christ is deemed the fulfillment of all of God's purposes. It will be established that this mission requires a meticulous providence. Yet, because God's activity has a christotelic thrust, a meticulous model of providence must have this christological distinction, which is defended in the last section. Chapter 3 sets forth a biblical theology of the temple. This aspect of the thesis concerns God's telos for creation. In particular, God created the "heavens and the earth" to be his temple, in which his special presence would dwell. To substantiate this micro-thesis, the notion that Eden and its garden were designed to be God's special dwelling will be considered. Having established Eden as the first sanctuary, it will be defended that Eden was the prototype for all subsequent sanctuaries. With this connection secured, it will be shown that the telic hope is that what is initially localized will eventually be universalized. That is, God's special presence, confined to the sacred space in the sanctuary, will be extended to the ends of the earth. In keeping with the first aspect of the thesis, this eschatological temple is inaugurated in the Lord Jesus Christ. Chapter 4 reveals that not only is there a divine goal for the cosmos, but a telic thrust to humankind as well. The missio Dei involves the divine intention to fill the earth with God's revelatory presence by means of human viceregency. That is, the proper created order of God's kingdom on earth is with man, the imago Dei , as viceregent to whom it was commissioned to achieve this purpose of filling the earth with God's glory. Again, this goal was ultimately achieved in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is in process of being achieved in those who by God's grace are united to Christ. Chapter 5 brings all aspects of the macro-thesis together. It will be argued that in Ephesians, the "summing up all things" in Christ situated in the opening benediction (Eph 1:10), captures every element of the thesis. That is, in this event, God is bringing animate and inanimate creation to its goal. To substantiate this argument, it will be defended that this benediction is organically related to the remainder of the letter. Having established this connection, and in light of the contention that the concept of the "summing up of all things" is illumined in the remainder of the letter, a directed exegesis of pertinent passages in Ephesians is undertaken to demonstrate what Paul has in mind. The final section of the chapter will be a systemization of the conclusions to support the contention that the summing up all things in Christ concerns both the cosmic reality of an eschatological temple and the anthropological reality of restored human viceregency. In chapter 6, the various facets of the thesis will be employed in order to critique and chasten current ecclesiastical reactions to contemporary cultural challenges. Several appendixes elaborate on subject matter in the dissertation that are not necessary for the overall argument of the thesis.