The End of Telos

What’s the point?

An interesting (and horrifying) trend in modern theology is the gradual loss of purpose to the world. We’ve lost the idea that God has a purpose for mankind (and not the sappy “God has a purpose for your life” which is true but incomplete). Telos is the Greek word for “end”,” and it generally refers to the theological study of the purpose of things. Teleology answers “Ultimately, why?”

Why did God create?

Why do we evangelize?

What’s going to happen in the future?

The general answer to questions like this is that God wants us to grow up to be like him. He wants us to mature into little gods; we are created in His Image. This is the entire sum of human history. Sanctification, adoption, justification, etc., are all at one level merely facets of this fact of growing up in wisdom. This is the big picture. Sin and salvation is not the big picture. Sin is a side-track that salvation (through baptism into Christ’s Body and all that that entails) rescues us from.

Why don’t we understand The Revelation? Because we’ve forgotten that there’s a purpose to the world, and it’s twisted our theology so much that we’ve become futurists instead of actually reading what John is told by Jesus. Why don’t we understand what it means to be in the family of Christ, the baptized body? Because we’ve become so enamored with so-called personal salvation that we’ve forgotten there’s really no such thing, and we’ve ignored the Door and messed up our theology of baptism.

This is why Christians can’t be good scientists – the modern (atheist) scientist has a plan for the future and we don’t. His plan might be “whatever goes, goes,” but it’s still a plan. The Christian can’t, in good conscience, say “no” to far-flung ideas as time-travel and hive-mind technology and eugenics and cloning because we’ve forgotten what God thinks it means to be human.

The Bible is given to us so we’ll see what it means to be human. And what it means to be human is to become like Christ, perfect like the Father. It tells us a great deal about the legal implications of sin and the legal channels for ramification, both of which we largely ignore in favor of Islamic ideas of after-life punishment and Gnostic ideas of emotionalism.

Most modern Christianity is feeling the effects of ignoring everything the Bible says about maturity, sin, and the Body of Christ. We’ve got unrepentant homosexuals and other sin in positions of leadership, we’ve added all sorts of human tests to determine salvation and membership in the church (as opposed to baptism like Paul and Peter and Jesus say). We’ve got no comprehensive theology of sin or redemption.

 

This is intended as an exhortation. These are things we desperately need to get back if we are to grow in wisdom and free the world from the bonds of sin. We have a purpose – now we need to live like it.

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