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All Things Are Yours
Title: All Things Are Yours

Rev. Geoffrey Bingham

by Rev. Geoffrey Bingham

Subject: Love (The Authority of)

Book Code: 255

Pages: 280 pp, Book

Pub. Date: 1996

ISBN: 0 86408 190 1

PDF View  906 kb

 

‘All Things Are Yours’

The title of this book—All Things Are Yours—may sound a trifle strange, and yet also be intriguing. What things are ours? The answer is, ‘all things’. Seen in its biblical context, it means that all things necessary to us being humans in this world, and in the world beyond this life, are already ours—gifts given by the God who ‘gives us all things richly to enjoy’. This means we will never be short of anything that is essential to our full being.

Many things in life seem to be wrong or imported from some other realm—so strange they seem to us. The things we seek to deal with in this book are authority, hierarchy, vocation, identity, destiny and inheritance. I am sure they may sound strangely in our modern ears, especially in the era opened by the rebellion of the American colonists against their homeland—Britain—and, even more so, thebloody French Revolution fought on the grounds of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’. It seems almost axiomatic that democracy is the only true form of government, especially since—in these days—socialism can be included under its banner. Yet, I believe, the themes of ‘authority, hierarchy, vocation, identity, destiny and inheritance’ are not distinct one from the other, but are all of the one. They constitute the way life is, can be and should be.

This is what I set out to reason in the following pages. I am aware of the present battle for humanitarian and egalitarian values, and the effort to instate them in our society. Anyone could argue against me that I am hopelessly conservative, that I am a stranger to modern thinking, and that I am unaware of the revolutions that have taken place in relationships and government. I believe I am reasonably aware of these, since I have to live with their results and will be discriminated against if I discriminate against the non-discriminatory principles which have been, or are being, established.

If I were a hardline conservative, an obscurantist, and if I were simply fighting for older views of society, relationships and government, then that endeavour would not be enough. It may well be that the social pendulum will swing back and some of my ideas may be vindicated, but that is not what I am about. I am about saying that there is an ontological order,[1] and that whilst we may depart from it to a more provisional order, we will never be at peace until it corresponds to the ontological—as far as that is possible in a fallen humanity and its society. Even the introduction of the word ‘fallen’ will arouse the ire of many. However, that has always been so, and I must not be dismayed by the anger that it brings. I am saying that if there is an ontological order of relationships, function, personal being and government, then we will feel existentially more secure and peaceful if we seek to follow it.

Some years ago a theologian in our city said he had ceased to read my books because my theology was hier­archical. Frankly I was not aware that it was, and only time has shown me that there was—and is—truth in the comment. I asked whether he or others had researched the idea of hierarchy—especially biblical hierarchy—and the frank answer was, ‘No. I don’t really understand hierarchy; and no, I don’t know of any material done on it’. I suggested that we might be missing out on an essential dimension of the truth if we did not at least inquire into hierarchy.

I believe this to be the case. I do not want my theology to be such that it can be given any adjective. An adjective must mean that in some sense it is reductionist. There is only theology, and, limited as is anyone’s compass of it, it should be incapable of being limited to a single adjective. I admit to being gripped and influenced by the idea of relationality of the Triune God-head, relationality between God and Man, and between human beings created by the Triune God in His own image and likeness.

I believe, then, that the bringing together of authority, hierarchy, vocation, identity, destiny and inheritance, as I have done in this book, can only do good. I believe one element cannot be properly understood outside of the combination and context of them all. If my work be judged to be inadequate—and I am sure it is far from total—then I plead that we continue to understand and evaluate these six things and not merely see them as strange bedfellows.

To me the whole matter of the six elements indicated above is fascinating, and especially so since I have been working on an ontology—and a teleology—of relation­ships, commencing with the internal and external relationships of the three Persons of the Triune Godhead. [2] None of us is free of bias in regard to matters such as authority and hierarchy, and a fresh approach to these themes could be profitable. It may well be that a new world of thinking and a dynamic system of relationships could open up to readers, and the result could bring good personal and pastoral understandings.

[1]  By 'ontological order' I mean the order of truth, the order created by God, which means 'things as they really-that is, essentially-are'. This is not merely a hard and static eternal order, but one which springs from the glorious dynamic nature of God and is the living reflection of His holiness, righteousness, truth, goodness and love, and which is teleological, that is, which is always forward moving, so that it is developing Man into what he will be, and taking the creation towards its ultimate glorification.

[2]  See my unpublished thesis The Glory of God and Human Relationships, which is a study of Trinitarian and human relationships.