Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Carey 2010 4


We began Wednesday with another session from Greg Beale. Using a sermon that preceded it he sought to summarise his much lauded book The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God

It is only possible here to give a brief idea of all that was said. We began at the end of the Bible in Revelation. Beale equated the new creation with the New Jerusalem, a Temple. He then took us back to Genesis and sought to show that the Garden of Eden was a Temple. The cumulative argument noted that Eden like the Temple was the
Unique place of God's presence

Place of the first priest
Place of the first guarding cherubim
Place of the first arboreal lampstand
Formative for garden imagery in Israel's Temple
First source of water
Place of precious stones
Place of the first mountain
First place with an eastern entrance
First place of wisdom
Part of the tripartite sacred structure
Also note Ezekiel's view of Eden as the first sanctuary (see Ezekiel 28)
The ANEastern concept of Temple as a Garden, etc.
He then went on to consider Genesis 1:28 as not merely a cultural mandate but a great commission to fill the world with those who are in the image of God - reflecting God's glory. This would be an extension of the Garden of Eden into all the world. Adam's management or wardenship was to keep evil out and extend the Temple of God.
“…if people were going to fill the earth [according to Genesis 1]. We must conclude that they were not intended to stay in the garden in a static situation. Yet moving out of the garden would appear a hardship since the land outside the garden was not as hospitable as that inside the garden (otherwise the garden would not be distinguishable). Perhaps, then, we should surmise that people were gradually supposed to extend the garden as they went about subduing and ruling. Extending the garden would extend the food supply as well as extended sacred space (since that is what the garden represented)” [J. H. Walton,
Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001: 186), See The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God [85]
What we see in Revelation then is the fulfilment of what was intended at the beginning. We also see that a Temple does not have to be an architectural entity.
He then went on to look further at Genesis, with brief references to the possibility that the ark was a sort of Temple, etc. The re-establishment of the Temple certainly goes on with the call of Abraham. Genesis 12 (see 2, 3) is a reformulation of Genesis 1:28 - often missed. Also note 1, 22, 26, 28, 35, etc, which all hark back to 1:28.
Certain things happen each time a true temple is built. Nearly every time there is
1. God appearing to them
2. They pitch a tent
3. On a mountain
4. They build alter and worship which include prayer and likely a sacrifice.
5. The place where these activities occur is often locate near or at
Bethel, that is, “the house of God”
The Temple then was never intended to be permanent but a model of what the Garden and what would come - filled by God. We then ha d a thorough description of the Temple as representing the heavens and the earth. Some of this was obvious but some much more interesting. Eg the Sea. The Temple was a small scale reminder of their task to go out.
Time eventually ran out with tantalising allusions to the little stone of Daniel, etc, etc and clear references to the fulfilment of the Temple in Jesus Christ. He is the True Temple. We are the priests and in a sense a Temple too.
Very stimulating. No time for questions.

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