“The Story” is a 9 month series at the Southwest Church in Jonesboro, AR. We are reading the bible through, from beginning to end, as a church family. My series “The Story” here on this blog is nothing more than my wonderings and wanderings about that journey. Hope you will join the conversation
Frederick Aquino (boy, is that a theologians name or what) is a theologian and Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Abilene Christian University. I was recently listening to a lecture he gave in 2007 called “Seeing Christ in Creation”.
Aquino began by talking about gnosticism. What a term. Something we really no little about. It’s like the Dead Sea Scrolls… we simply do not know much about them. But one strand of thought stands out pretty clearly to us in gnostic belief. Namely that “matter” is inherently evil. Gnostics believe that the world, the earth, the “creation”, and especially the body or “flesh” is inherently evil. This is clear in their assertions that the goal of Spirituality is to detach ourselves from what is “real” or tangible and just be “spiritual”. But such a disembodied spirituality is false. Jesus was real, and not inherently evil. The world is real, and not inherently evil.
This strange belief allowed gnostics to understand that God did not create the cosmos, because tangible “creation” was bad – and, they supposed, that God wouldn’t create something that is innately bad.
And I wonder, do we share this gnostic sentiment today? Do we think that all things tangible are bad? Do we dichotomize flesh and spirit, church and world, creation and heaven, as if they are so radically separated? They are not. In the creation narrative one thing is clear. God, out of his infinite love, created. And he chooses to participate in the goodness of such creation. Do we choose to participate with God the creator in such a tangible creation? Or do we suppose what he has created is somehow bad?