- Why does government exist?
- How might different political philosophies answer this question?
Often Christians can be sceptical of politics and withdraw from the political world out of fear, unease, or confusion. As Christians we can confidently defend the truth that governance, and therefore politics, is a good gift from God that we should engage with. Governance exists to reflect God’s character promoting good and restricting wrongdoing. This gives meaning and purpose to our engagement and should influence our understanding of why politics exists.
Passage: Genesis 1:26-31
Governance is good
- What does it mean to be made in the ‘image of God’?
To rule over creation v26 – the pinnacle of God’s creation with responsibility for bringing order to the earth, God is a God of order and creativity we are to reflect this.
To be one but many v27 – plurality in roles and character, God creates male and female, both assigned this culture building task but not to dominate. Totalitarian governance on the other hand seeks domination and allows for no plurality or difference.
Humans are created as moral beings – we ‘image God’ whereas animals do not. We ‘ought’ they simply do. This can be seen in the duties and expectations of humanity seen in part here, but fleshed out in the following chapters.
- What task does God give humanity?
- What gift does God give humanity?
God gives creation for the good of humanity to sustain them and be used by them for their development and bringing honour to Him.
- How does this passage show us that life is special?
- What does God declare about His creation?
Passage: Genesis 2:15-25
Governance is limited
- What is humanity created to do?
- How does God gift but also limit humanity?
God gives governance and authority to humanity for the good of creation. Yet, God limits what is available and makes it clear their authority is not unlimited, but always subjected to the limits He establishes. He is the true ruler. Governance is limited and should avoid models of domination, and instead should recognise and submit to the limits God sets.
- How do verses 18-25 help us understand human interaction/community?
Community, relationships, working partnerships vv18-25 – it is not good to be lonely, exploration of a potential community, meant to work and uphold this mandate together, governance is therefore profoundly about relationships.
- How do we see the creation mandate (Genesis 1:28, 2:15) already working itself out in these early verses?
Naming and ruling over created beings vv19-20 – part of the call to rule over and subdue, bringing order and innovation to God’s creation, not about ruling over humanity yet.
Institution of marriage ordained (societal structures being formed) vv21-25 – first societal structure created, at its heart brings glory to God, plurality (different sexes), limited (applies only to the couple), for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying.
- How does God’s rule over humanity help us envision how we might govern?
- Why is the creation account of governance good for society?
- How can we use this base to be a positive witness for the Gospel in the political arena?
- Spend some time praying, thanking God for his good creation and the goodness of order and governance
- Pray for wisdom on how to model this creation mandate in your political lives
- Pray for elected politicians to see that their power all stems from our creator God