As Christians, we must keep in mind the distinction between what has been called ‘structure,’ and ‘direction.’ When we think about who Christ really is he is the ‘Son of God. This is where the Apostle John begins in his Gospel; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” St. John introduces us, as he continues, to the fact that the person of Christ is both divine and human. So, from John, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, we learn that the Word (Christ) is the creator (cmp. Colossians 1:16-17) as well as the Redeemer. Now we tend to think in terms of cross-centered Christianity as Christians, and we know what the heart behind that is (that we believe that Jesus died for our sins) but we don’t see that the resurrection, the ascension, and the session of Jesus Christ in the seat of authority is as important for our salvation as His death on the cross because Christ is the Creator as well as the Redeemer and those two realities while distinguishable can never be separated and divorced from one from another. This is important because His redemptive work is about restoring the creation that was alienated from Him. You see, it wasn’t just we as a people who were alienated from God by our sin. In our sins we now seek now to alienate God’s creation from Him. Because of this the structures and norms that God has established for creation — everything from what we call laws like ‘law of gravity,’ or the ‘law of 2nd thermodynamic,’ through to matters such as the norms for marriage and family,– to cite just a few concrete examples that God has established — these are the structures that God has established at creation.
Now, these norms, in our sin and rebellion fallen men, seeking to be consistent with his hatred of God and God’s order are seeking to obliterate. (Though increasingly fallen man is trying to play with the more impermeable category of the fixed laws of creation) We see this today of course in the attempt to completely redefine marriage so that people of the same sex can marry and we see this in the Tranny movement as men and women seek to rip off their gender identity appointed by God, we see this in our putting women in front line military and first responders positions, we see this by the Church putting women in the pulpit. In all this, you have a war on God and His law-word for man’s personal and social order. All of this overturning of God’s order is an attempt by fallen man in his alienation from God to work to the end of alienating God’s own creation from God Himself. It is just a visible expression of fallen man’s resolve that “we will not have God rule over us.” We see therefore we have these parallel tracks in creation. First we have these creational laws and norms and those laws and norms are inescapable and so impinge on everybody’s lives every day.
We are all creatures of God as God’s image-bearers and as living in God’s creation. Mankind lives Coram Deo – before the face of God – and living before the face of God he can not – try as he might – escape God’s realities of social order laws and norms. Everything about us is oriented towards our creator and sin can be defined as that attempt of fallen man to reorient himself away from God as creator. Because of all this God’s creational structures and norms despite our sin do not go away. We see this in marriage as just one example. People can redefine marriage all they ruddy well like but Jesus spoke of God’s creational norm for marriage when He cited God’s work in the garden and man’s re- definitions cannot undo that norm. These are all God’s structures and those structures and norms as they fell from God’s hands are very good.
The problem comes then not from the structures and the laws and norms that go with God’s creational structures. The problem enters in, in what we are calling direction. Here you have these God-ordained and given creational structures, laws, and norms but fallen man seeks to pervert these structures by the God dismissing way he desires to direct them. So, for example, God made sex as one of the structures of man, and sex as a structure is good but man wanting to de-god God and en-god himself as god moves that structure in a sinful direction via porn, the LGBTQ movement, adultery, pedophilia, etc. that sullies the whole structure.
However, the structure qua structure remains very good. The problem is not the structure but the direction that fallen man has taken the God-given creational structure. In all this malfeasance with God’s structures, man is serving himself as the creation having given up God as the Creator (Romans 1). So, we see that when man refuses to worship God the Creator he worships himself as the creator, and in doing so he absolutely poisons all the creational structures, norms, and laws as they fell from God’s hands. Still, those creational structures, norms, and laws, qua creational structures, norms, and law, remain in themselves “very good” because they were given and established by God.
Now, we connect all this with Christ as Creator and Redeemer. When Christ comes His purpose as Redeemer is to restore all that He established as Creator. It is not that Christ only restores fallen man (which He certainly does) but in restoring fallen men He restores the direction fallen man pursues in these creational categories of structure, norms, and laws as they originally fell from His hand. Because of this man, as redeemed, is now Christ’s agent in restoring all these structures, norms, and laws back to their original intent as redeemed man handles these structures, norms, and laws, in submission to His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The shorthand language for this is that redeemed men seek to walk in terms of God’s Kingdom. Because of this family life is renewed once again under Christ’s authority for structures, norms, and laws, civil life is renewed once again under Christ’s authority for structures, norms, and laws., education is renewed once again under Christ’s authority for structures, norms, and laws, the law is renewed once again under Christ’s authority for structures, norms, and laws, and as this happens across the board all of culture as a whole is renewed once again under Christ’s authority for structures, norms and laws as converted men are set on a redeemed and reconciled direction. We cease then to be a people who are seeking to alienate God from His creation and instead become a people who are no longer alienated from God and His creational structures.
Now, please notice the difference between this understanding of Christianity vis-a-vis the understanding of Radical Two Kingdom theology (R2K) that is predominantly taught in our Seminaries today. R2K explicitly says that the structures are common and in being common there is no such thing as a particularly Christian direction as compared with a pagan direction. R2K, contrary to the vision briefly outlined above insists that it is not possible to have Christian culture, Christian art, Christian nations, or Christian anything as that anything lies in the common realm.
If culture is defined as the public expression of a people’s worship so that one can identify the God that the public is worshiping by looking at its culture then the effect of the spread of Christianity will be a change of direction in terms of the culture and with that change of direction, there will be a change of culture.
Jesus Christ does not reconcile and redeem fallen men without that reconciliation and redemption altering the trajectory of culture so that the creational structures, laws, and norms as they fell from the hand of God are once again pursued in Christ-honoring direction.