Dallas Willard Divine Conspiracy what is the “Kingdom”

I thought of you when I read this quote from “The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God” by Dallas Willard –

“What a “Kingdom” Is To gain deeper understanding of our eternal kind of life in God’s present kingdom, we must be sure to understand what a kingdom is. Every last one of us has a “kingdom”—or a “queendom,” or a “government”—a realm that is uniquely our own, where our choice determines what happens. Here is a truth that reaches into the deepest part of what it is to be a person. Some may think it should not be so. John Calvin remarked rather balefully, “Everyone flatters himself and carries a kingdom in his breast.”14 He understood this to mean that “there is nobody who does not imagine that he is really better than the others.” Perhaps this is so for human beings as they are. All too easily, at least, we presume to rule others—in opinion and word, if not in deed. But it is nevertheless true that we are made to “have dominion” within an appropriate domain of reality. This is the core of the likeness or image of God in us and is the basis of the destiny for which we were formed. We are, all of us, never-ceasing spiritual beings with a unique eternal calling to count for good in God’s great universe. Our “kingdom” is simply the range of our effective will. Whatever we genuinely have the say over is in our kingdom. And our having the say over something is precisely what places it within our kingdom. In creating human beings God made them to rule, to reign, to have dominion in a limited sphere. Only so can they be persons. Any being that has say over nothing at all is no person. We only have to imagine what that would be like to see that this is so. Such “persons” would not even be able to command their own body or their own thoughts. They would be reduced to completely passive observers who count for nothing, who make no difference. The sense of having some degree of control over things is now recognized as a vital factor in both mental and physical health and can make the difference between life and death in those who are seriously ill.15 Anyone who has raised a child, or has even supervised the work of others, knows how important it is to let them do it—whatever “it” may be—and to do so as soon as that is practically feasible. Obviously, having a place of rule goes to the very heart of who we are, of our integrity, strength, and competence. By contrast, attacks on our personhood always take the form of diminishing what we can do or have say over, sometimes up to the point of forcing us to submit to what we abhor. In the familiar human order, slaves are at the other end of the spectrum from kings. Their bodies and lives are at the disposal of another. Prisoners are, in most cases, several degrees above slaves. And, as the twentieth century has taught us, thought control is worst of all. It is the most heinous form of soul destruction, in which even our own thoughts are not really ours. It reaches most deeply into our substance.”

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About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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