I read through N.T. Wright’s After You Believe late last year, but I’m revisiting it this week in preparation for an upcoming sermon on the parable of the talents in Matt 25. I’ve been thinking about the connection between the response of the master to the wise servants (“You’ve been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things.”) and the original human vocation as described in Genesis 1:26-28 (“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”) This connection is what Wright is getting at in After You Believe, helping us see the developing of Christian character/virtue through our union with Christ (the truly human being) as the recovery of our human vocation to be rulers/priests in God’s world.
“Creation…was designed as a project, created in order to go somewhere. The creator has a future in mind for it; and Human–this strange creature, full of mystery and glory–is the means by which the creator is going to take this projet forward…The point of the project is that the garden be extended, colonizing the rest of creation; and Human is the creature put in charge of that plan. Human is thus a kind of midway creature: reflecting God into the world, and reflecting the world back to God.” (After You Believe, p. 74)
‘[The] wise rule of humans over God’s world is, in fact, what “being in God’s image” is partly about…The “image” does not refer principally to some aspect of human nature or character which is especially like God…it points to the belief that, just as ancient rulers might place statues of themselves in far-flung cities to remind subject peoples who was ruling them, so God has placed his own image, human beings, into his world, so that the world can see who its ruler is. Not only see, but experience. Precisely because God is the God of generous, creative, outflowing love, his way of running things is to share power, to work through his image-bearers, to invite their glad and free collaboration in his project.’ (After You Believe, p.76)
Obviously, we need to be careful to delineate just how it is we’re to exercise this rule wisely, but I worry that, for a variety of reasons, we oftentimes hold an inadequate view of our glorified nature in Christ. And as a result we fail to act/live out of our calling as rulers/priests in the new world that God is bringing, and that has already begun in Christ.
Do you agree that we need to take this more seriously? Its a pretty consistent theme throughout the Bible. Check out some of these other passages–Ex. 19:4-6, Psalm 8, Matt 19:28-30, II Tim 2:8-13, Rev 5:9-10; 22:3-5