Monday, May 03, 2021

Three-agent Universe (1)

The Old Testament perceives a two-agent universe in which every event is an interaction between two agents: God and humans. All events are initiated by God or humans. Every spiritual intervention in the world is a work of God. The New Testament explains that we actually live in a three-agent universe. Events on earth are a struggle between God and the spiritual powers of evil with humans caught in the middle. Understanding this contest gives us a much better frame for understanding what is happening on earth.

A serious problem with a "two-agent universe" is that humans assumed that all their problems were problems with God. They saw their sin as upsetting God and believed that to put things right, they had to appease God. This understanding was wrong (see Propitiation and Redemption). Sin created a bigger problem for humans than for God. Sin produced shame, which made people feel like they had to hide from God. Worse still, when they sinned, humans gave authority in their lives to the spiritual powers of evil, which enabled these evil powers to dominate events on earth.

The people of the Old Testament assumed that they had a problem with God. The revelation of Jesus confirmed that our problem was not with God, but with the spiritual powers of evil who held humans captive. Jesus set us free, by defeating them on the cross. As a bonus, he dealt with our shame at the same time.

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