Humanity was first brought into existence by God in perfection, but also in formation – in perfection, in the sense that it was able not to sin; in formation, in that it was built to grow in love and mercy and grace. On one hand, it was made to retain perfection, but on the other it was incomplete in knowledge, experience, and wisdom, etc. The tension between perfection and formation (incompleteness) gave humanity a dynamic nature: It had the natural image of God, enabling it to relate and learn from God and it had the moral likeness of God where it could care for God’s creation as it learned God’s worldview.
But humanity fell out of proper relations with God and was, then, not able not to sin. This original sin – the missing and subsequent moving of the mark of God’s intent for humanity – is inherent within and throughout all humanity. It is not guilt that is inherited within humanity, but it is the distortion of Truth that permeates throughout humanity. We had lost any sense of perfection and all formation of God’s love, mercy, and grace for creation. God is not a Punitive God who judges humanity for its alienation from His worldview, its separation from God’s perfect formation of creation. God is a Therapeutic God, healing the sin that humanity now identifies with – that distortion of Truth; that alienation and separation from His worldview for creation, of which humanity now imitates and to which humanity now likens.
So God breaks into creation in the form of humanity, in the Person of Jesus Christ, to rescue humanity and to restore God’s proper image and likeness in creation. The Cross of Christ satisfies God’s divine justice for the offense of alienation and separation. The Resurrection Life of Christ restores the God-likeness in humanity (the original, natural image and moral likeness), bringing the healing and wholeness of the Great Physician to creation. Furthermore, in this restoration, the Spirit of God in the Resurrection Life of Christ brings humanity back into formation by inspiring and empowering it to walk-out God’s worldview for creation. In this work of God’s grace God reaches humanity with a universal restoring presence in creation, and as a witness to that presence in the life of the church with ordinary and extraordinary gifts for the formation of incomplete humanity.
The sin of alienation and separation present at times throughout its history notwithstanding, humanity in the form of the Church – the Body of Christ – is the Kingdom come; the reality of God’s world view. The Kingdom of God is not just a future event but is also a present reality; it is now, but not yet; it is developing, the silent increase of God’s reign in the created order. God’s rescuing act is not static, but is a present movement into the future. We experience now a foretaste of the everlasting Kingdom of God. Now, we live by the spirit in the Resurrection Life of Christ but, then, we will live a life with God in actual, physical resurrected bodies (not able to sin).
Thus, in grace God’s love has gone before humanity, healing its incapacity to respond to Him. God is wooing all humanity to turn from the lie, to renew its spiritual senses. The faithfulness of Christ restored the broken image and likeness, healing humanity, and empowering it to participate with the Spirit in its own transformation. Creation yearns to return to God’s worldview, where humanity learns from God how to care for it in His image and likeness again.