The Kingdom of God

Discussion in 'Theology' started by lunamoth, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. TealLeaf

    TealLeaf Soul Adventurer

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    I'm not sure if the Kingdom of God is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth but in either case it seems that the Buddhist concept of Shambhala could be significantly analogous.

    Shambhala is supposed to be a society of peace, tranquility and happiness where all of its inhabitants are enlightened. Depending on who you ask and which tradition of Buddhism they follow Shambhala may or may not be located in our physical plane.

    I must admit that this idea holds some appeal for me over my usual picture of the Kingdom of God. I guess that Shambhala sounds more democratic while the Kingdom of God comes across as authoritarian. Perhaps a Republic of God would suit me best ;)
     
  2. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Not too late! Glad to read your input Jamarz, and good to see around. :)


    I'll read the whole article a bit later, but scanning through it this paragraph caught my eye:


    The problem begins when we take seriously Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom. What does it entail? It is the most powerful and inclusive paradigm in the whole Bible: it is multidimensional and all-embracing; it is a sweeping vision and a dynamic reality which includes history and eternity God's creation and its consummation, the personal and social, the material and the spiritual, the private and the public, the interpersonal and the cosmic, the human and the divine.

    I agree that the KOG is inclusive, and I like the emphasis the author puts on it here. It is an invitation, and it is inclusive. Looking forward to reading the rest of the article.

    Thank you, that is helpful in understanding the part I underlined. Too often that underlined part is taken to mean "don't listen to those false preachers!" when instead it means if you are looking for a king to come in worldly power you might miss it.


    Well said, and this is very much how I see it too. And it nicely captures the now and the not yet of the KOG.

    I think that this is an important distinction. Yes, we do have a job to do, and it is proclamation, and it also involves not being satisfied with the world the way it is, but to work to bring about the reconciliation of the world by taking the love of Christ out into the world. So, we do have work to do, but we are not ourselves 'building the Kingdom.'

    One message I get from the OT, as much as it presents difficulties for us, is that is says unequivocally that God takes this world and our actions in it very seriously, so perhaps shoudl we.


    :cool: I attend a little Episcopal Church in Parker, and I've been a 'returned' Episcopalian for going on five years now. I appreciate liberation theology too. We all have an Exodus, don't we.
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I like it. And while the KOG certainly has overtones of Monarchy, it is not authoritarian but held together by God's love. Shambhala reminds me of the New Jerusalem in Revelations, and even if streets paved with gold is not everyone's favorite metaphor, to think that it is perpetually illuminated by the light of God and so needs no sun, and there is never darkness, certainly is like a place where all the inhabitants are enlightened. :)

    Thank you for your contribution. It's my intention to mention all these views in my seminar if there is enough time.
     
  4. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Thanks for you interest!

    Thanks for pointing that out. I can see it with regard to Calvinists.

    The Doctrine the Elect could lead to this-worldly passivity. If being saved is strictly dependent on being of the elect, which is foreordained, then there's not much point in trying to make the world a better place. That is, there's not much hope of creating a righteous society that will increase the chances of others being saved because they have seen the Word represented in their immediate social environment. It seems faith doesn't matter much to Calvinists - at least not as channel for receiving Grace.

    To my way of thinking, Liberation Theology is probably the most this-worldly soteriology out there. Yet the Catholic church has held it in contempt:
    In this full presentation of Christianity, it is proper to emphasize those essential aspects which the "theologies of liberation" especially tend to misunderstand or to eliminate, namely: God and true man; the sovereignty of grace; and the true nature of the means of salvation, especially of the Church and the sacraments. One should also keep in mind the true meaning of ethics in which the distinction between good and evil is not relativized, the real meaning of sin, the necessity for conversion, and the universality of the law of fraternal love. One needs to be on guard against the politicization of existence which, misunderstanding the entire meaning of the Kingdom of God and the transcendence of the person, begins to sacralize politics and betray the religion of the people in favor of the projects of the revolution.
    CATHOLIC LIBRARY: Instruction on "Theology of Liberation" (1984)

    Presumably Cardinal Ratzinger was an adequate representative of the Church's position at the time (1984). He is the author of the above comments.

    As an aside....I keep seeing this passage for some reason and I keep having trouble with it.
    Jeremiah 31:33-34
    "I will place My law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying: Know the LORD, (AG) for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them"—the LORD's declaration. "For I will forgive their wrongdoing (AH) and never again remember their sin."

    My sense is that G-d makes sin work as a means of potentiating the Kingdom. This value would not obtain if the sin were simply forgotten.



     
  5. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    Its a recurring theme in most religions that one day misery will cease to exsist. John the Baptist and Jesus spoke of it however in Christian theology there was/is a battle with Satan and his kingdom. It's interesting that John and Jesus over 2000 years ago were sitting down in view of dusty dry scenery and they were compelled to talk about the Kingdom of God on earth. To see how far we have advanced today compared to biblical times would be totally Alien to them yet they could see humanity moving in this direction. Was it a calculated guess? Or were they guiding people towards it and forseeing it?
     
  6. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I guess this comes a little late, but I think this is an interesting topic, and worth discussing. My view is that the KOG is a place of contentment within ourselves. It is a place where our resentments, and bitterness, and greed, and envies, and jealousies, and every other spiritual negative has all but vanished.

    It is the point in our lives where we know what real joy is. It is a condition of heart where we feel love towards our neighbors, where we are patient, kind, gentle, meek, and long suffering towards others. It is a place where we are self controlled, speaking out of love and humility, avoiding the pride we humans are sometimes prone to possess.

    I believe Jesus knew this condition very well. He gently guids us to experience the Kingdom through His Spirit. The church is simply the body of G-d ~ Those whom have embraced and incorporated G-ds Spirit in their lives. The kingdom of G-d is not a place to be seen, but rather experienced. [IMHO]

    GK
     
  7. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I think wil gave me a nudge to report on my seminar and I have to admit that I did not take notes from the discussion. I'll try to remember the highlights. We were unfortunately short on time and did not get to the part of the discussion where we were to talk about what the KOG might be to others outside of Christianity.

    My three questions:

    1. Now and Not Yet: Has the Kingdom of Satan been destroyed?

    2. Jesus as Public Prophet: What did Jesus understand about his own death?

    3. How is the KOG most clearly expressed:

    a. in the Episcopal Church
    b. at St. Matt's (our parish)
    c. in our seminar
    d. in our own lives
    e. in the world (including other religions)

    We spent the most time on question 2, and kind of kept touching back on question 1 without a definitive answer. The answer to 1, IMO, is 'yes,' but obviously with all the sin and suffering we still see in the world a simple yes is not very satisfying. It's more of a combination of hope and fortification to live in the KOG now, even though things are not all in line with God's will at this time.

    One thing I found interesting about question 2 is that I came to see that what Jesus had was actually in the category of faith in God. Don't read me wrong...I trust that Jesus was God incarnated. But, I don't think he thought with the mind of God or even clearly saw things as they are recorded in the Gospels. His will was perfectly aligned with God's, he lived in the KOG the same way we can live in the KOG right now, but he did so perfectly. We step in and out.

    In fact, I kind of wonder if even God did not see exactly what would happen, even as He knew that He would achieve our salvation through His Son no matter how the dominos fell.

    Maybe Thomas will come in and give me his perspective on this, but my current thinking about omniscience is that God can know all that can be known, and of omnipotence is that God's will will prevail 'in spite of' and even using our rebellion. But perhaps neither of those things means God predicts the future. More like God can see all the possible outcomes, and God works through the Holy Spirit, but all outcomes from his action in the world still follow the basic laws of nature and consequences.

    Sorry, rambling off course here. :D

    Anyway, we got bogged down in question 3a (ask two Episcopalians about doctrine and get five answers) and we were running out of time. Interesting though that even in the microcosm of our small seminar the questions that we wrestle with as a church, and among all denominations of Christianity, were well-represented. :p
     

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