Jesus designed a strategy to advance His kingdom perfectly consistent with His thinking and, therefore, completely foreign to the thinking of this world order, or “the spirit of the world.” Paul reminds us that preaching and Gospel appear foolish to the world order. Combined, they appear radically foolish.
The wisdom of this world order, its strategy to advance its domination of status quo, and the wisdom of God run in opposition to one another. The wisdom of this world appears in many forms because the spiritual conditions behind the kingdom of darkness produce chaos: principalities and rulers each work toward their own ends, strategically attempting to make their brand of darkness more dominate than the other. In contrast, the spiritual conditions of the kingdom of heaven produce unity: everything in God’s heaven answers perfectly to God, and His angels minister to His strategy to establish His kingdom on earth.
The wisdom of this world order substitutes the achievement of potential for the fulfillment of purpose. In this scenario, the random evolutionary process defines the individual with potential as his understanding of who he is and the highest he can pursue. In the kingdom, God’s wisdom recognizes the sacrifice of potential for the higher redemptive purpose of God innate to the individual by creation.
By comparison, if you are the product of blind chance, your potential tells you who you are and what you can do, but if you are the creation of God, His purpose tells you who you are and what His call tells you what to do.
Mixtures of these opposites exist now in modern christian thought, a blending of spirit of the world thinking with God’s revelation of Himself and His purposes. Some variations on the theme of redemption leave us with the impression that God is simply saving us from the mess we are all in for a future, eternal “finally get it right” condition with little thought of who we are what we are to do here and now.
Any redemptive picture that makes restoration a “hereafter enterprise” misses the strategy of the kingdom. Jesus hasn’t given up on His strategy for kingdom leadership. No matter how successful that strategy may be – foolishness to this world order – His strategy hasn’t changed. Jesus has already announced His strategy for here and hereafter, and He alone has accepted responsibility to see that it is fulfilled; but the strategy of Jesus to use transformed people hasn’t been rejected, updated, or abandoned.
Preaching the Gospel to the poor is essential to Jesus’ kingdom strategy. Preaching and Gospel run contrary to the basic philosophy of the world order known as “the spirit of the world.” Preaching the Gospel to the poor is a direction affront to its notion of “the survival of the fittest” erroneously espoused in evolutionary philosophy, the faith of the humanist. The Gospel confronts every other worldview, religion, spirit-consciousness, and strategy of the kingdom of darkness.
God does not look to those who have for hope of a better future. He sees tomorrow through the fiery eyes of Jesus. He sees those who have not, transformed, empowered, living sacrifices with renewed minds as inheritors of kingdom.
The world’s best may be so self-satisfied no Word of change penetrates their “experience it now” flesh-filters. Jesus describes the path through a field, plowed and awaiting planting, trodden to hardness to help us identify those who have: seed sown on this hard ground lies out in the open, lunch carried away by opportunistic birds, spiritual carrion consumers called demons. “It is as if they never heard at all,” He says.
The world’s fittest, drunk with success, may be content with what this world provides them, filled with false hope that tomorrow belongs to the fittest, optimistically certain that they are among the fittest by virtue of the world’s measurements of “the good life.”
The poor are those ‘enjoying’ exposure to the soft underbelly of this world’s deceptions. Preaching the Gospel of the kingdom to them awakens a hope of a better tomorrow – “behold all things have become new.” So soon can His change begin and blossom! Not surviving the weeding out of losers by virtue of random potential but overcoming by means of God’s power from outside it.
Fiction now asks us to view the better world created by mutation in comic book heroes. Such fiction is inspired and interpreted within the spirit of the world worldview. Recognizing that there are dark aspects of our universe we cannot understand through science, we should hope that the survival of the fittest produces some human-like heroes who can protect us from fearful antagonists. These heroes aren’t holy by any means! They are frail, imperfect productions of chance like we are but the best we have going for us if we want to survive the present version of “ice age” and cosmic disruption that may destroy the world without them.
Jesus has a view for a better world that assumes the least among us can be the greatest overcomers. He does not have a survival mentality, strategy, or scenario. He doesn’t intend to improve the spirit of world’s order of things. He intends to overcome it because it is the enemy of His Father. His strategy comes from outside this world order, enters into people who live in this present world, who are empowered to establish another order of things. The kingdom order believes God owns everything because He created it, not because He stole it.
While modern fiction answers to the evolutionary view of a closed system, no “ghosts in the machine,” and nothing exists outside natural reality, it rests its hope for a better tomorrow on what that closed system can produce. Usually, that is a hope for a kinder monster.