The Big Picture – Podcast

The Good Creation Podcast – The Big Picture

Podcast Script

This podcast is primarily for my Christian Brothers and Sisters. Obviously all are welcomed to listen.

From my Classic Christian point of view let me briefly lay out the big picture. This will give theological context to my writings about today’s Gender Identity Moment. You can find more detail about this big picture in my previous posts. Especially, “But, I Love That Body.” And “He Told The Women to Go Away.”

God created a bi-natured world of these constitutive parts, Heaven & Earth, Spirit and Matter, Soul (mind) and Body, Male and Female.

[Now, of course, I’m not forgetting all the other beautiful creatures great and small, nor the sun and the moon, or the land and the sea, but these are the major categories.]

It may seem counter-intuitive, but, yes, Heaven was created too. Classic Christianity maintains that the Triune God existed before the creation of Heaven and Earth. Before anything was created, there was a loving community of equal persons.

But before going further, let me clear up what may be puzzling to some. By juxtaposing Heaven and Earth, Spirit and Matter, Male and Female, Soul and Body, as I have done am I not saying that maleness corresponds with Heaven, Spirit and Soul and that femaleness corresponds with Earth, Matter and Body and isn’t that dichotomy more than slightly demeaning? Some might say, objectifying? 

Well, first of all, the main point is the union of each pairing, or the complementarity of each pair and not the correspondence between the different pairings.  For example, both males and females are a mysterious unity of spirit and matter, or if you prefer, soul and body. 

Second, let me question a further assumption that many make here, an assumption made especially by disciples of the Greek philosopher Plato (By the way, it’s possible to be a disciple of Plato and not know it!) That assumption is something I’ve called, unequal dualism. Unequal dualism regards the second place position in each pairing as inferior to the first. For example, Plato linked the irrational and physical with the female sex, and the rational and spiritual with the male sex. Making males superior to females in his mind. And only in his mind! Unfortunately his was a very influential mind.120th Century Mathematician & Philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, once said the safest way to characterize Western Philosophy “is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

But with respect to the great Plato, I reject unequal dualism on biblical grounds. And also from the personal experience of knowing my wife and all the other great women in my life. (Not to mentioned throughout history).


I maintain that both parts of God’s bi-natured world were created EQUAL. But equal does not mean same. In the beginning Earth was created equal to Heaven and likewise Matter was created equal to created Spirit. Just like God’s earthly family, humans, were created equal to God’s heavenly family, angels.

Let me give you a scriptural reference for that.

Revelation 22:8–9 (NRSV): I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”  

Angels & Humans are fellow servants of God. As created, Humans are not inferior to Angels. We’re just different.

Maybe you’ve not thought of God’s two families before, but according to Scripture, God created two Image-Bearing families. Equal yet different. One family of spiritual beings, (angels) and another one of embodied souls (humans).

Also, let me say, angels are not, strictly speaking, immortal, because they were created. Only God is immortal.

I view Equal Dualism as a crucial interpretive key in Christian Theology.

For example, you can think of heaven as being another dimension of God’s created order. Don’t be thrown off by spacial metaphors, though the scriptures sometimes suggest those metaphors. Heaven is simply another dimension where God “resides” for the time being. Which means heaven, like our God, is not far off, but very near.

Because of “The Fall” the bi-natured world has been separated, first from God, but also from intended creational integration. However, here comes the Good News, God’s Big Picture plan is to bring the two parts of the created cosmos back together again in a holy marriage. At the center of the original cosmological marriage was a Garden, Eden, in the book of Genesis. At the center of the future cosmological marriage, is a Garden City, New Jerusalem, found in the book of Revelation. These are the Two Garden bookends of Holy Scripture.

Have you ever thought of it that way? The story begins in a garden and ends in a garden.

I know what I’m about to say sounds Freudian. But I don’t care. This is the biblical witness. And it preceded Siggy Freud by thousands of years. God’s interlocking and overlapping bi-natured world has, at its united center, a Garden of Life. A place where life happens. And the Living God dwells.

Gardens in the Ancient Near East, the biblical past, were often regarded as Temples. That’s the case here. The temple garden is the place where heaven and earth overlap, interlock and come together. Hopefully forever. The living God meets with the people of God in that sacred area of overlap. It might help to think of a simple Venn diagram to picture what I mean. As one would expect, the Garden-Temple is a place where life happens. From this Garden Center the dominion mandate of scripture to “be fruitful and multiply” and “take dominion” i.e. spread the rule and reign of God’s kingdom to the rest of the planet is inaugurated.

The first commandment in scripture was to have sex and make babies. The objective was to spread God’s kingdom rule by multiplying God’s Earthly Image-Bearers, God’s representatives, across the entire planet. This Big Picture, bi-natured fruit-producing forward-looking existence makes abundant sense to me. Anthropologically. Cosmologically. Soteriologically. Eschatologically. It all fits together as part of The Big Picture design and plan of God.

How about you? Does that make sense to you? Given what you know of the biblical story? Of God’s creation?

Unfortunately down through the ages, Christians have gotten themselves into trouble by disregarding the importance of either side of God’s bi-natured creation. God created both the invisible world and the visible world and called both of them “good.”

Visit my post “But I Love That Body” to get more detail on how and why Christians have gone off track. Hint: Plato and other Plato-like worldviews, unequal dualisms that elevate the spiritual and denigrate the material realm.

In the story handed down to us, when human’s came along, especially after the ladies arrived, God declared that what he had just done was “very good.” Up to this point in the story, after creating different parts of the bi-natured world, the biblical text said: “And God saw that it was good.” But then after the crowning achievement of earthly creation, the creation of male and female humans, the text for the first time says: “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”2Genesis 1:31


The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from ParadiseBenjamin West – 1791
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

But as you know disobedience crept in and a breach occurred between God and God’s Image-Bearers. This resulted in the bi-natured parts being separated, parts that were originally designed by God to harmoniously overlap and interlock. Everyone is somewhat familiar with what Theologians call “The Fall.” There was also a fall in heaven as well as one on earth. A fall before the human fall. This explains the crafty evil serpent in the story, who was more than just a serpent. We know much more about the human fall, but according to Scripture both Image-Bearing families fell. Creational brokenness, pain and misery have been the sad result. But because of the Risen Christ, the Jewish Messiah, Our Lord and Savior, who was broken on our behalf, wholeness will finally return to God’s good creation.


Our job now is to align ourselves with God’s plan for creational wholeness.


The trouble is that some on the Theological “Right” and the Theological “Left” have been tricked into abandoning God’s bi-natured creational intent. They do this by denying one part, the material part, of God’s good creation. It is an “overspiritualized” anti-creational theology.

On the Right you often encounter the “I’ll Fly Away” mentality. This ol world is not my home, they say and sing. One day Jesus will come and rapture us from this earthly coil and we will live with God eternally in heaven. This view sometimes reduces Christian witness to the “saving of souls.” Less care for the rest of God’s earthly order, ecological life, cultural life, etc., naturally results from this reduced theology. Why polish brass on a sinking ship, some say. Rescuing souls, that’s our business.

On the Theological Left you often find a disregard of one particular bit of matter, the most important human body ever created, and then recreated, the Risen Body of our Lord and Savior. Many on the Theological Left deny the central event of our Faith, the risen body of Jesus. For various modern reasons they “spiritualize” the event. Jesus and what he stands for has been “raised” in our consciousness, they say. But the apostle Paul is clear on this point, if Jesus’ body remained in the tomb then we are pitiable fools to believe the Gospel message that “Jesus is Lord” for he has not conquered Sin and Death if his body did not rise. Since only the body dies, if the body remains dead, then death has not been defeated, only accepted. And Jesus is NOT LORD.

To “overspiritualize” in this way is to preach a false Gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:16–19 (NRSV): If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

We might as well become hedonists. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, Paul says, if Jesus’s body stayed in the tomb.

The denial of bodily resurrection means
bodily life ultimately has no Transcendent meaning.

But that’s not what the Scriptures teach or at it’s best, the Church Historic.

My friends on the Theological Left who are willing to discard the bodily resurrection of Jesus and view the Christian Faith in more “spiritual” terms have grossly misconstrued Biblical Spirituality. True Biblical Spirituality, holistic spirituality includes the rescue and reconciliation of God’s bi-natured creation.

Heaven and Earth. Soul and Body. All of it. Rejoined in an unbroken state of holy matrimony.

Jesus’s bodily resurrection was “the first fruit” of a new creation begun on Easter morning.31 Cor 15:20 (NRSV) But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. A new creation, a new Eden, to be fully consummated at the reconciliation of all things when Heaven and Earth are finally remarried. “I saw a new heaven and a new earth.”4Revelation 21:1

This is the Big Picture celebration that is in our future. And marriage between God’s bi-natured creation is the interpretive key to understanding our past, present & future.

We are about to enter Advent. I want to encourage you, as brothers and sisters, this Advent, as we celebrate the beginning of the remarriage of Heaven & Earth, as we celebrate God coming to dwell with us, Immanuel, in the embodied form of God’s Son…