In the story of the Bible there are two realms: the earth, where we live, and the heavens, where God lives. We have been talking about the spiritual beings: the elohim, the divine council, angels and cherubim, the satan and demons. The last character we want to focus on is humanity. Now, humans aren’t spiritual beings. In Genesis 1 and 2, they are made of the dirt, like the animals. But notice that God calls humans to become something more. He elevates them to live and rule in Eden, the place where heaven and earth are one. They are invited to eat from the tree of life. What does that mean, to eat of the tree of life? Well, it is an image of receiving God’s own eternal life into yourself. It is about a whole new kind of existence. So, wait. Physical beings living forever? How could that even work? Well, somehow, sharing in God’s life transforms our bodies so that we can inhabit heaven and earth at the same time. It also transforms our imaginations so that we learn how to rule the world like God, in the power of love. This is an amazing calling, but humanity is quickly deceived by a spiritual rebel. Yes. He lies to the humans, saying that they can rule and get eternal life on their own terms. And God exiled all of them from the garden. They are cut off from the source of true life. Evil and death now have power over us and we live in a world of fear, self-preservation, and violence. But God promises that one day a human will come to defeat evil and death at their source and to open up a new way to a reunited heaven and earth. This promise reaches its fulfillment in Jesus. Right! When we are introduced to Jesus, he is a human but he is also way more. Yeah, we are told that in Jesus, God and humanity have become one so that he can restore the rest of humanity to its lost calling. Jesus was tested by that same deceptive spiritual being, not in a garden but out in the wilderness. Yeah, it tells Jesus the same lie: “You could rule the whole world right now if you come under my authority and do things my way.” But, Jesus knew that that lie leads to death. So, he rejected it and was victorious over the spiritual power of evil. So then Jesus started announcing that God’s heavenly rule was arriving here, on earth, through him. So, he went around confronting the power of death in healing and exorcisms. Jesus was opening the way back to eternal life to rule with God and become new humans. Yes! He also confronted our imaginations by teaching how corrupt spiritual powers enslave whole communities with their lies. Lies like, “My tribe is superior to your tribe.” But Jesus said every human is an image of God. Or, the lie that power comes through force. While Jesus taught that real power requires sacrifice and generosity. Or the lie that peace comes through violence. While he said that true peace comes through self-giving love. This is a new kind of humanity. Yeah, a humanity transformed by God’s life and his love. Jesus didn’t just talk about these ideals, he lived them out. Yeah, exactly! He brought God’s heavenly kingdom to Jerusalem to confront the powers. In fact, that’s what got him arrested. Well, so maybe the way of Jesus can’t win over evil. But from Jesus’ point of view, his coming death was actually a battle. A battle? Yeah, not against humans but against the real enemy: the spiritual powers that enslave us through their lies. Jesus gave his life and let evil do its worst. But God’s love has the power to create life even out of death. That is what happened when Jesus rose from the dead. The risen Jesus is human but a new kind of human. Yeah, when Jesus’ followers met him alive from the dead, he had a transformed body that could live in heaven and earth at the same time. He’s like a new category of human, one that can live and rule with God forever. Jesus is the new humanity that we are called to become. Right. He said that all authority in heaven and earth belongs to him. Then he sent out his followers to announce that his eternal life is available to us now in the present. We can experience eternal life now? Well, Jesus said that eternal life is knowing this God of love, so that our imaginations can be transformed as we’re liberated to love God and to love our neighbor. We trust that even if we die, God’s love will transform our bodies and raise us up into the new creation. That is how the story of the Bible ends. Yeah, the ending is a new beginning with Jesus and the new humanity ruling in a united heaven on earth together.