In the Christian tradition some believe that humans are just walking meat sacks until they say the magic prayer, get baptized and/or believe the right doctrine. They are not forgiven of sin, have no spirit and aren’t included in the family of God. This is more prominent in the western Christian world (evangelical, Protestants, Roman Catholic). Now most in that tradition won’t nuance it like I did but that’s really at the core of what is believed.
In the East, the Orthodox Church, it is more common to believe that all humanity have the Divine breath within them already. Through a process called theosis, one eventually comes of age into their true identity through this process of purification and illumination.
Honestly, depending on the lens we read scripture with, we can come up with both beliefs being true from a biblical perspective. In this blog, I will address the thought that all of humanity are included in the Divine relationship regardless of belief.
This view is not “new”, it’s quite ancient, although it may be a new idea to some raised in the evangelical/protestant world. Theologians such as Karl Barth, TF Torrance, Richard Rohr, and Baxter Kruger and early church fathers like Gregory of Nyssa, Athanasius, Maximus the Confessor and Origen all held to this view.
*Who is included?*
– First let’s look at Paul’s message to non believing pagans on Mars Hill in Athens. This is provocative because Paul is quoting a common poem about their God Zeus and using it to make the point that a statue they also pray to called “the unknown God” is actually the God of the cosmos, over and above all other gods, and that they are already included in relationship with this God.
“for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For WE ARE ALL His children.“
-In the verses below it states that the same ALL that died in Adam were the same ALL made alive in Christ. Christ is the one who died for ALL. So who are the all that died? Humanity of course.
“For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15:22
“… because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;”
2 Corinthians 5:14
-“All men” and “the many” in Adam is the same “All men ” and “the many” in Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for ALL men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for ALL men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the MANY were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the MANY (ALL MEN) will be made righteous.”
-Notice below where the living water flows. It doesn’t enter him but comes from within, it’s already there.
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
And this is because…
” the righteousness of God is through the faith OF Jesus Christ to ALL , and upon all those believing, –for THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE “
*there is no difference because ALL humanity are already included in the life of the Last Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45)
-Scriptures consistently tell us NOTHING was ever and will ever be separated or apart from being in Christ.
“and himself is before all, and all things IN HIM have always consisted.”
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. IN HIM WAS LIFE , and the life was the light of men.”
“There is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and IN ALL.”
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are ALL THINGS , to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
“there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are ALL THINGS and through whom we exist”
1 Corinthians 8:6
***it’s important to note here that after he says this, he says that “not all posses this knowledge” and says elsewhere “we were only at enmity in our minds” meaning just because some don’t know or even reject this truth about Christ being in all doesn’t mean it’s not true.
“and there are diversities of workings, and it is the same God–who is working the all IN all”
1 Corinthians 12:6
WOW THAT’S ALOT OF ALLS!
-Lastly many verses point to Christ’ works as to including THE WHOLE WORLD, not just believers.
“and he–he is a mercy seat for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for THE WHOLE WORLD “
1 John 2:2
“ and him who was made some little less than messengers we see–Jesus–because of the suffering of the death, with glory and honour having been crowned, that by the grace of God FOR EVERYONE he might taste of death.”
“for for this we both labour and are reproached, because we hope on the living God, who is SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN –especially of those believing.”
1 Timothy 4:10
“For the saving grace of God was manifested TO ALL MEN”
who did give himself a ransom FOR ALL –the testimony in its own times–
1 Timothy 2:6
“and I, if I may be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto myself.”
“And we–we have seen and do testify, that the Father hath sent the Son–SAVIOR OF THE WORLD”
1 John 4:14
-I could seriously go on but at this point it would be redundant. I HOPE YOU GET THE POINT!
I hope you see that it is perfectly biblical, orthodox and acceptable to believe all of humanity is included in the relationship of the Divine. In fact, in the earliest Christian thought, following Jesus wasn’t a magic formula to get to heaven when you die but was how one entered the thing God was doing all along. Bringing heaven to earth. I would say that’s the good news. It’s the gospel.