Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Bible and Politics 101: Question 1


How central is politics to the Bible?

We can start by looking at the first verses in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Genesis 1:1 reads: Bereshith bara elohim eth ha'shamayim w' eth ha'eretz: "In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth."

All the way through the Hebrew Bible, this combination of "the heavens and the earth" percolates often. As Genesis 1-2 introduces this reality, the Creator is the One who governs the heavens (the invisible realms), and man and woman govern the earth (the visible domains) as his stewards.

Thus, healthy human politics can only be rooted in knowing the politics of the one true Creator.

Matthew 1:1 reads: Biblos geneseos Iesou Chistou huiou Dawid huiou Abraam: "The book of the generations of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham." The Son of David is the son of and heir to the founding king of Jerusalem.

This declaration about Jesus is thus a threat to Herod and Caesar, in their usurping human kingships. In the Lord's Prayer, which Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount, his actual words start this way: Pater hemon ho en tois ouranois: "Our Father, the One in the heavens" (Matthew 6:9).

This traces back to the declared political domain of the Creator in Genesis 1:1. And also, in the debate between Jesus and his enemies during Passover Week (Matthew 21-22), the whole argument centers on the question of who is the Son of David. This political battle leads to the cross, resurrection, ascension, the Second Coming, and how we as Christians are called live as salt and light in a corrupt world.

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