18 June 2013

Contraction and Expansion

MenorahThis from Bavinck’s ‘The Catholicity of Christianity and the Church’, as published in Calvin Theological Journal in 1992:
Our attention is unavoidably drawn to the fact that the five books of Moses, which begin with the grandeur of Creation, with a vision of the entire cosmos and the whole of humanity, conclude by focusing attention on a small and insignificant people and its minute concerns about holiness and cult. There seems to be an undeniable disproportionality between this sublime beginning and this narrowly focused conclusion….
In Israel itself revelation dominates everything. A separation between the cult (godsdienst) and the rest of life is altogether impossible. All dualism is eschewed in the unity of God's theocratic rule… Here we encounter an inner catholicity, a religion that encompasses the whole person in the wholeness of life…. In this way Israel's theocracy is a by of the coming kingdom of God that shall take up into itself all that is good and true and beautiful. The prophets unveil for us the mystery that Israel's religion will not be restricted to national Israel. The universal kernel breaks out of the particular husk in which it is enclosed...  In the future all nations will be blessed by Abraham's seed. Torah, history, and prophecy, each in its own way, point to this glorious future. The day is coming when through the servant of the Lord, the light of Israel will shine upon the nations, and the Lord's salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.