1999 James A. Fowler
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I. God and the "world"
A. God is the Creator, Sustainer,
and Omnipotent Sovereign over the entirety of the created
B. Greek word for "world" is
kosmos (cf. outline on "World")
root word komeo - "to take care of"
meant "order" or "arrangement"
developed meaning of "world"
Greeks considered physical world to be "ordered" and
This became basis of "cosmological" argument for God's
created world demands a Creator
design demands a Designer
C. In this study we are using "cosmology"
for both created world/order, and more specifically
II. The created world/order
A. World/order of physical creation
(cf. studies on "creation")
- "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
- "the world was made through Him (Jesus Christ)"
- "the God who made the world and all things in it"
- "since the creation of the world"
B. World/order of created humanity (cf.
"Man as God Intended")
- "God created man in his own image...male and female..."
- "in the day when God created man"
of created world of humanity to created physical world in general.
1:28 - "subdue it....rule over every living thing"
2:15 - "cultivate and keep it"
Man is to affirm the physical world as God's creation
...respect, appreciate, protect, tend and work
2:7 - "God breathed into them the breath of lives"
2:9 - "tree of life...tree of knowledge of good and evil"
derivative man; faith-creature; choice of receptivity
allows for cosmic conflict of good and evil within world/order
world/order of social relationships among humanity
God-ordained structures of human social existence
Examples of such:
Family - marriage, parenting, extended family
Government - legislation, defense, infrastructure
Education - instruction, research
Economics - medium of exchange
Community of faith - belonging, acceptance, love
Purposes of such:
forms, instruments, framework, undergirding of social function,
to regulate human
provide stability, structure, cohesion, order
to serve, preserve, enhance human social life for man's good
Man and his social relations are always spiritually energized,
activated and generated.
spiritual activation of God or Satan
invested with spiritual character of good or evil
C. The entire created world/order
created by God
"not made with human hands" (Acts 17:25)
not sustained or controlled by human enterprise
accountable to God
receptivity, availability - faith of man
not autonomous from God
not evil in itself
physical creation is not intrinsically evil
humanity is not intrinsically evil
social structures are not intrinsically evil
1:16 - "by Him all things were created, in heavens and on
earth, visible and invisible,
thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things
have been created by and
III. The fallen world/order
A. The choice of self-oriented action
by Adam enacted the Fall of man and the created
fell into sin
5:19 - "through one man's disobedience, the many were made
Cor. 15:22 - "in Adam all die"
created physical world/order affected
8:20 - "creation was subjected to futility"
B. The created world/order was now susceptible
to, and succumbed to, the spiritual energizing
the Devil (cf. outline on "Satan")
"god of this world" - II Cor. 4:4
"ruler of this world" - Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11
"prince of power of air" - Eph. 2:2
"tempter" - Matt. 4:3; I Thess. 3:5
antithesis, opposition, misrepresentation
deceiver, liar - Jn. 8:44; II Cor. 11:14
destroyer, disintegration, degeneration - I Cor. 10:10
death - Jn. 8:44; Heb. 2:14
(cf. outline on "Demons")
evil spirits - Matt. 8:28; Mk. 1:23; Lk. 8:27
effects on individuals: disfigure, contort, distort, derange,
effects on social structures: domination, exploitation, oppression,
C. Diabolic perversion/distortion of
the God-ordained functional behavior of individual mankind.
"without God...separate from Christ" - Eph. 2:12
"natural man" - I Cor. 2:14; Jude 19
"sinner" - Rom. 5:8,19; I Tim. 1:15
"energized by devil" - Eph. 2:2
"child of devil" - I Jn. 3:10
"sinful behavior" - I Jn. 3:8
"worldly" - Titus 2:12; Jude 1:19
"flesh" patterns (cf. outline on "Flesh;"
studies on "S.E.L.F.") Gal. 5:16,17, 19-21;
D. Diabolic perversion/distortion of
the God-ordained functional structures of human social
structures and institutions permeated by evil character as fallen
men function therein.
6:12 - "our struggle is against the rulers, the powers,
the world- forces of darkness,
spiritual forces of wickedness"
Jn. 5:19 - "the whole world lies in the Evil One"
Cor. 2:6,8 - "rulers of this age...crucified the Lord of
8:38 - "principalities (that would seek) to separate us
from the love of God, which
in Christ Jesus our Lord"
1:13 - "domain of darkness"
forms of such perverted, adverse, demonic powers
Family - disintegration, dysfunction, abuse, violence, abandonment,
Government - totalitarianism, absolute authority, bureaucracies,
patriotism, "new society," politics
Education - ideological indoctrination, values clarification,
Economics - mercantile mechanism, the "Almighty Dollar,"
structures, materialistic consumption, industrialization, technology,
Religion - traditions, ideologies, moralities, doctrines, ecclesiastical
communications, entertainment, sports, public opinion, psychology,
social action programs, ethnicity, race, class, sexism, astrology
evil activities of these corrupt social structures
domination, coercion, demanding, tyranny, enslavement (cf. Gal.
propaganda, falsehood, misinformation, exploitation, sophistry,
secrecy, threats, seduction, conformity, oppression, double-talk,
demand allegiance, loyalty, trust, obedience, to be regarded
as ultimate value systems,
principles of life, the absolute authority
preoccupation with fallen social structures
1:25 - "worship the creature rather than the Creator"
4:8 - "slaves to those which by nature are no gods"
substitute secular gods. People put their faith in the structures
and their activities, rather
they seek to separate people from God - Rom. 8:38
set themselves up as pseudo-saviors of secular salvation.
to solve man's problems
to make man happy
of such diabolic activity in the social structures of humanity
striving, "works," performance, activism
instability, frustration, inability to understand, "What
in the world is going on?"
despair, nihilism, absurdism, cynicism, adrift, helplessness,
IV. The Victory of Jesus Christ over the "world"
A. Jesus confronted the world-powers
worldly rule and power in temptation - Matt. 4:1-11
this was His Messianic mission - Lk. 7:20-23
out demons - Mk. 1:23-28; Lk. 9:37-43
faith in Mammom (Lk. 13:32,33) and riches (Mk. 10:25; Lk. 16:19)
illicit monopolies of trade - Mk. 11:17
the Law and Moses to Himself - Matt. 5:21-48
governmental authority - Lk. 13:32; Jn. 19:10,11
diabolic source of religion - Jn. 8:44
servanthood instead of domination - Lk. 22:25-27; Mk. 10:42-45;
non-violence - Matt. 5:38-48; 26:52,53
to sacrifice and suffer - Matt. 20:28; Lk. 9:22; 17:25; 24:26
B. In the decisive, historical act of
crucifixion Jesus defeated the world-powers
out denial of power-struggle in apparent powerlessness
emptied Himself, obedience - Phil 2:6-8
voluntarily submitted unto death - Jn 10:15-18
power worked through Roman government and Jewish religion
gathered against Jesus - Acts 4:27,28
unaware of the effect it would have - I Cor. 2:8
3. By His
death and resurrection Jesus accomplished God's intent
"accomplished the work Thou gave Me to do" - Jn. 17:4
"It is finished" - Jn. 19:30
"ruler of this world has been judged" - Jn. 16:11
"strong man bound," limited - Matt. 12:22-29; Rev.
"ruler of this world shall be cast out" - Jn. 12:31
"I have overcome the world" - Jn. 16:33
"disarmed the rulers and authorities, made public display
of them, having triumphed
them" - Col. 2:15
"rule, authority, power and dominion...all things in subjection
under His feet"
Satan still active (I Pet. 5:8), but his destiny of doom is determined
and set in motion
C. Kingdom of God in Christ established
in contradistinction to world
contrary to the world/powers in its ways of operation
"My kingdom is not of this world" - Jn. 18:36
"The Kingdom of God is...righteousness, peace and joy in
the Holy Spirit"
in opposition to the world-powers
"our struggle is against the rulers, powers, world forces
of darkness, spiritual forces of
- Eph. 6:12
"in this world you will have tribulation" - Jn. 16:33
kingdom functions by the reign of Jesus as Lord in receptive
individuals and their
social and interpersonal relations
kingdom is not a realm or tangible entity
kingdom is not synonymous with organizational, institutional
kingdom is the ontological dynamic of the risen Lord Jesus reigning
having effected in receptive individuals the spiritual exchange
26:18 - "from the dominion of Satan to God"
2:2,5,8 - "formerly according to prince of power of air...made
alive with Christ"
3:3-7 - "born again...enter into kingdom of God"
Christocentric indwelling of the Spirit of Christ
8:9 - "if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he
is none of His"
1:27 - "Christ in you, the hope of glory"
2:20 - "Christ lives in me"
Cor. 13:5 - "Christ is in you..."
reigning as Head of His Body, the ecclesia, Church
Though the church is not synonymous with the kingdom, it serves
defeat of the evil world-powers, and to introduce men to the
the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
3:10 - "the manifold wisdom of God made known through the
rulers and authorities in heavenly places"
The church witnesses to the kingdom as it visibly expresses the
evil- powers by evidencing the character of God in loving one
13:35 - "men will know that you are My disciples, if you
love one another"
perspective of Christ's victory and the kingdom
God's action in Christ is the "last" and ultimate act
2:17 - "the last days"
Cor. 15:45 - "the last Adam" (Christ)
Peter 1:20 - "last times"
Christ's victorious kingdom is both...
11:20 - "if I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has
come upon you"
17:21 - "the kingdom of God is in your midst"
1:13 - "transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son"
Cor. 15:24,25,28 - "the end, when Christ delivers up the
kingdom to God, when
has abolished all rule and authority and power. For He must reign
put all His enemies under His feet...when all things are subjected
In the meantime we live in the "enigma of the interim"
believing that the victory has
accomplished and will be consummated.
D. Christians in the world today
understand their position "in Christ"
radical difference as children of God - I Jn. 3:10
"delivered from domain of darkness" - Col. 1:13
"no longer slaves of sin" - Rom. 6:16-18
free and liberated in Christ - Gal. 5:1,13
"citizenship is in heaven" - Phil. 3:20
understand their relation to the world-powers of evil
"overcomers" of the world - I Jn. 5:14,15
"in the world...but not of the world" - Jn. 17:11,14
"strangers and aliens in the world" - I Pet. 1:1; 2:11
"sent into the world" - Jn. 17:18
salt and light unto the world - Matt. 5:13,14
recognize the sufficiency of the divine dynamic of the indwelling
Spirit of Christ.
spiritual discernment to see-through, re-evaluate, relativize,
challenge, question, expose
resist the world powers of evil - I Cor. 2:11-16
strength to stand firm against the powers - Eph. 6:11,13,14
revolutionary action to "set the world on fire" - Lk.
act in the power of the Holy Spirit
"All authority in Christ" - Matt. 28:20
"Son of God with power by resurrection" - Rom. 1:4
"greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world"
- I Jn. 4:4
gospel dynamic of divine power - Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 1:18; 2:4
external appearances to the contrary, we act in His power
powerlessness - I Cor. 1:26
weakness - II Cor. 12:9,10
we do not employ the power-plays/struggles of the world's ways
E. Christian expectation/hope of ultimate
restoration of the function of entire created world/order
of Christ's victory over world-powers of evil
1:10 - "a view to an administration...the summing up of
all things in Christ, things in
and things upon the earth"
Cor. 15:24,25 - "the end,...when He has abolished all rule
and authority and power. For
must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The
last enemy that will
abolished is death"
8:18-22 - "the creation waits eagerly for the revealing
of the sons of God...the
itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption"
and demonic order not restored, but cast out
They are fixed in evil, and cannot be transformed
They will bow to Christ - Phil. 2:11
Their destined end is determined - Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10