The reflection of God’s glory in diversity has always been part of His beautiful plan for the world. The creation account in Genesis records that at the spoken command of God, the earth exploded with diverse forms of vegetation, with water and airborne creatures and with many living things upon the land (Genesis 1:11-25). With God’s blessing and a sense of watchful expectation, Adam, as God’s image bearer, is commissioned in the creative director’s role of naming the creatures He imitates God’s creative act by speaking into existence an identity to match their unique natures.
After the fall, however, humanity’s mandate to reflect God’s glory by stewarding the diverse bounty of the earth fails time and time again. Though humanity quickly displays its creative capacities with the development of cities, culture and industry (Genesis 4:17-22), the heart of humanity spirals toward perversion. At Babel the corrupted heart of humanity devised a plan, using their common language to unite for a common goal: to rise on a majestic tower to the heavens in order to make a name for themselves. Indeed, the goal was not to reflect God’s glory but to usurp it. And so, God scattered humanity across the earth and inflicted it with a confusing mix of languages that bred alienation and misunderstanding (Genesis 11:1-9).
Still, God’s design for a diverse world that reflects His glory would not be thwarted. Genesis 12 records the beginning of a plan of patient action and grace by which God would eventually regather and bless the scattered nations through Israel and its Messiah. While the seeds of this kingdom were planted by the spoken command to a foreigner to “Go from your country” (Genesis 12:1), they sprouted as the Messiah began gathering diverse followers with the command to “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19), and fruited when this group was commanded by the resurrected King to “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
The flash point of this redemptive in-gathering happened when the confusion of the different languages of scattered peoples was overcome by the gift of the Spirit and of tongues. Through which the good news was made plain in the everyday words of the many nations gathered for Pentecost (Acts 2:4-12). And so, by speaking the common words of the uncommon gospel, the movement spread from Judea to Samaria to Syria and beyond, across the whole of the earth. It overcame barriers between Jew, Samaritans and Gentiles to create a body of nations unified by Christ - the diversity of which reflects God’s glory.
The breathtaking result is envisioned by John: “Before me there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” with a loud voice declaring, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10). The magnificent outcome becomes reality with another spoken word, as the one on the throne declares “I am making everything new” (Revelation 21:5). Here, on a new earth united with heaven by the New Jerusalem, the splendor of which shines with the glory of God, the many purified nations will converge for life everlasting with God, finally fulfilling humanity’s mandate and bringing the bounty of their diverse gifts for His honor and glory forevermore (Revelation 21:24-26).
The reflection of God’s glory in diversity has always been part of His beautiful plan for the world and it will be so in the world to come.
Grand Canyon University has been training Christians in ministry since its inception. If you are interested in pursuing a career in ministry, GCU's College of Theology has many degree programs, including Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry and Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.