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Worldviews in Conflict: Christian Cosmology and the Recent Doctrine of Spiritual Mapping (Part 1)

 

The natural implication of this viewpoint is that physical objects—in themselves—are still essentially good. There are no grounds, either philosophical or biblical, for suggesting that sin or evil infected mere physical mass. Human bodies, animals, rocks, trees, rivers and mountains have not transformed into objects of God’s wrath as a result of man’s sin or Satan’s devices. If anything, the whole of creation, including the animal kingdom, fell victim to man’s sin and awaits renewal and complete restoration (Rom. 8:19-22).

The implication that physical life—especially human physical life—is polluted by sin attacks the very core of our christological heritage. Christ became a man; he partook of human life and nature. “The word became flesh…!” (John 1:14). So insistent is John on this testimony that he calls everyone who does not receive it “false prophets” of “the spirit of the antichrist” (I John 4:1-3). Had flesh been anything other than essentially good, Christ—himself—would have been tainted. Moreover, his relationship with the physical world (lit. his “flesh”) was more than a slight brush with nature. As Marshall points out:

The incarnation was not a temporary event but the permanent union of God and man in Jesus Christ. Moreover, to say that Jesus Christ came “in the flesh” is to say that he was truly united with human flesh rather than that he merely came into a human body and indwelt it (possibly only for a limited period).31

Furthermore, this kind of cosmology makes sense of our everyday lives. A man pulls a .45 caliber pistol and kills a policeman. The gun maker carefully crafted the pistol from metal, wood, and perhaps plastic. But we do not blame the material components that constitute the weapon; we rightfully blame the man—the killer. On the other side, we are thankful for vegetables and antibiotics for keeping us healthy, but we do not ascribe spiritual life or “magic” to the chemical compounds. As human beings, we dwell in a physical world where real bullets tear apart our flesh and wound our internal organs. We also learn that if we exercise, eat properly, and play it safe, we should be able to extend our life and its quality. This does not rule out God’s providential care in the slightest detail of our lives, but it reveals the true nature of creation as God intended.

 

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In the Next Issue:

Satan in the Bible

Satan’s Relationship to God and Creation

Satan’s Power and the Believing Community

Is Spiritual Mapping Biblical?

Analogies and Anecdotes vs. Biblical Authority

Returning to the Basics

 

Notes

1 See C. Peter Wagner’s comprehensive and edited work, Engaging the Enemy (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1991), for the case of spiritual mapping and other subjects related to spiritual warfare.

2 For an excellent primer of worldviews, see James W. Sire’s, The Universe Next Door, 2nd. ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988).

3 Heraclitus, for example stated, “It is not possible to step into the same river twice,” indicating that the world of our senses is not ultimate reality. See David E. Cooper, World Philosophies (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1996), pp. 95-7.

4 D.T. Suzuki, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism (New York: Schocken Books, 1963), p. 41.

5 Ibid., p. 45.

 

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Category: Fall 2001, Living the Faith, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Larry L. Taylor, M.A., D.Min., is Affiliate Faculty at Regis University in the Denver area and formerly professor of humanities at Portland Bible College. Larry Taylor founded a church in Colorado and has 17 years of pastoral experience.

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