01 February, 2010

God's Hope for the City

Roger Greenway notes that the early history of redemption is the 'pastoral origins of humanity'. He goes on to say that, "The cultural mandate given to Adam and Eve in the garden to fill, rule, and subdue the earth was nothing more than a mandate to build the city.

The couple was to multiply, so providing the citizens of the city. Their cultivation of earth's resources as they extended their control over their territorial environment through the fabrication of sheltering structures would produce the physical architecture of the city. And the authority structure of the human family engaged in the cultural process would constitute the centralized government by which the life and functioning of the city, would be organized, under God. The cultural mandate given at creation was thus a mandate to build the city, and it would be through the blessing of God on man's faithfulness in the covenanted task that the construction of the city would be completed. Urban culture built in perfect obedience to God, would typify our hope in Jehovah."

Of course, we all know that this original design fell under the power of sin. But that did not thwart God's intentions for building a city. There was a promise that one would come from the seed of the woman and crush the head of the serpent. And the history of redemption, up to this point, has been the achieving of that redemptive goal.

So where is the hope for our cities? What is the hope for LA, New York, Seattle, Miami, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia, and all of the other urban centers that we speak of? It is the hope that Jesus Christ has come to restore and redeem a people unto himself. Of course, that may sound like hope for individuals and not for cities- but we must end with the fact that the Scriptures speak of a day when a New Jerusalem, the city of God, would come down, and all of her citizens would live under the eternal rule of a just, gracious, and merciful King- the Lord Jesus Christ.

The message that we bring to our cities needs to be this: This is the way God has intended it; and this is not the way that God has intended it. God believes in urban renewal- but only under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, restore our cities.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Yeah, man. Keep reading and writing and thinking. I'm thinking over the same kinds of things, as you may know.

Bill Crispin (I think) liked to say that the country is a place with more trees than people, the city is a place with more people than trees; God loves people more than trees: therefore, God loves the city more than the country.

A little pat, but it's something long forgotten in our circles (although the PCA are recovering it most rapidly).

FYI I'm going to check out Rodney Stark's Cities of God; I'll let you know what I think.