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Did God create man to be an eternal companion for His son Jesus Christ?

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Paris boys choir

Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois—The Little Singers of Paris

This week we feature a third enquiry from Andrew of South Australia, whose previous two feedbacks appeared as How do people come into a right relationship with God? and Did God know that Adam would sin before He created him? This time, Andrew objects to the idea (presented by Russell Grigg in a sermon at Andrew’s church) that God created man to be an eternal companion for the Lord Jesus Christ. Russell Grigg responds.

Why would an infinite, all powerful God need a companion? Was He lonely? And if He needed a companion then surely He’d want something better than humanity. Not to mention that the idea of God creating a companion for His Son Jesus Christ sounds awfully close to a heresy that fails to identify Father and Son as being essentially the same—perhaps some form of Arianism?’

Dear Andrew

The idea of redeemed mankind being an eternal companion to the Lord Jesus Christ is more a summary of certain parts of the Bible, or perhaps a conclusion based on these parts, rather than something for which I can produce a proof text, so consider the following:

John 17:24 (Jesus’ prayer for His disciples before His crucifixion):

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Philippians 3:20–21:

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,

Ephesians 5:31–32, where Paul writes:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

In Revelation 21 we read of a wedding between the Bridegroom, called ‘the Lamb’ in Rev. 21:9, ‘Come I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb’ and His Bride. The Bride is said to be ‘the New Jerusalem’, whose citizens are God’s people (v. 3), and those who enter the city are those ‘whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life’ (v. 27).

Putting all of this together, I think it is a fair and accurate summary or conclusion for me to say that God created man to be an eternal companion for His Son Jesus Christ. By ‘man’ of course I mean ‘redeemed mankind’, not ‘sinful mankind’.

Why would an infinite all-powerful God need a companion?

I did not mean to imply that God needed a companion. God does not need anything. What we see in the Bible is God choosing to do various things, and one of these is to create the human race, some of whom receive God’s gift of salvation and dwell with Him for ever.

Was He lonely?

There was love within the Trinity prior to creation (John 17:24).

The Bible does not suggest that He was. There was love within the Trinity prior to creation (John 17:24). C.S. Lewis wrote: ‘God did not make us because He was bored, lonely, or had run out of things to do. He created us to be the objects of His love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we are never unloved. And because God loves us—we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God's love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us.’1

If He needed a companion then surely He’d want something better than humanity.

John Newton wrote in his famous hymn: ‘Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me … ’. There is nothing in me or in any Christian that can possibly be of eternal value to a holy God, except for one thing: When God created mankind originally, He made man ‘in the image of God’, which image was marred because of sin, beginning with the Fall (Romans 5:12). However, ‘if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. ‘Christ has become for us wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption’ (1 Corinthians 1:30). Preachers sometimes express this by saying that we are clothed in the robes of Christ’s righteousness, so that when God looks at us He sees the righteousness of Christ. A strong case can be made for this from reference to Christ’s parable about the wedding garment (Matthew 22:1–14) and the robes of white in Revelation 7:9).

The idea of God creating a companion for His son Jesus Christ sounds awfully close to a heresy that fails to identify Father and Son as being essentially the same—perhaps some form of Arianism [denial of the complete deity of Jesus—Ed.]?’

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The Earth

No. The Bible is a progressive revelation, or we can say that there is a progress of doctrine throughout the Bible, or that we learn more about God the further we progress through the Bible. In the Old Testament God is seen essentially in His unity—He usually appears as one person, as in the appearances to Moses. In the New Testament the three persons of the Trinity are clearly seen and differentiated, especially so during the life of Christ on Earth, e.g. at His baptism (Luke 3:21–22). In Christian theology the term ‘Trinity’ means that there are three eternal distinctions in the one divine essence, known respectively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Revelation 21:9 & 10 we read of ‘ … the bride, the wife of the Lamb … coming down out of heaven from God.’ Just as in a human wedding a father gives the bride to another person, so in the heavenly wedding the same thought applies—God the Father is depicted giving the bride to His own Son. God the Father and God the Son are seen as distinct persons having distinct roles.

What are Christians looking forward to in eternity future, if not the prospect of being with Christ, the One who loved us enough to die in our place, in an unending relationship of love, worship and sharing in His glory (Romans 8:17)?

In fact, we have all been invited to a wedding—not just to be spectators, but to make up the bridal party! There is an invitation in the Bible to you and to me to be part of that immense throng of believers who form ‘the bride of Christ’. It reads, ‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”’ (Revelation 22:17). But a wedding invitation requires a response, an RSVP. Those who will be attending the wedding, i.e. being united with Jesus Christ in Heaven, and escaping the Judgment in the life to come, are those who respond in this life in repentance and faith.

There’s one other thing I would like to say … . You asked me whether I was sure I was among the redeemed. My answer is this: look to yourself before you look askance at me. Ask yourself those same questions that you ask of others.

I should like to attempt to answer this as follows: Suppose that you and I were both to die at the same time and together we front up to ‘the Pearly Gates’, where St Peter takes one look at us both and says, ‘Tell me why I should let you into God’s Heaven.’

My reply might be, ‘The Book which I believe to be the Word of God tells me that the penalty for all my sin has been paid by Christ through His death on the Cross. This I believe. God’s Word further tells me that because I have received Christ I am a child of God, a joint-heir with Christ, and a citizen of Heaven. Step aside, Peter. On the authority of the Word of God, neither you nor angels nor devils have the right to bar me entrance.’ (Or words to that effect!)

Now I don’t really believe that Peter is the gatekeeper of Heaven, but suppose he was, or suppose that the Lord Himself should ask us both the same question, how would you answer?

Cheers!

Russell Grigg

References

  1. C S Lewis. Return to text.
Published: 6 October 2007(GMT+10)

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