Study Guide: The Wheat and Weeds Creation

Sunday July 5, 2020 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

We live in a world where Satan has laid claim to creation, while at the same time God is fighting to redeem all things through the work of the cross. These two fundamental forces are simultaneous, and we see them everywhere. Our calling is to participate in the good work that God is doing in order to advance the Kingdom.

Extended Summary:

This sermon seeks to set racial reconciliation within a broader, theological context of God’s reconciling work. It is based on the parable of the wheat and the tares (or weeds) found in Matthew 13. In this parable, the wheat is the good crop of the farmer, or anything that reflects God’s loving character. The weeds are the plants sown by “an enemy,” which do not reflect God’s loving character. This is a descriptive parable about reality. The first point is that just because the farmer is good it does not mean that all the results of his work is good.

The second point is about the phrase “an enemy has done this.” This points to a transcendent reality of Satan and the principalities and powers. Where the reign of God is present, there will also be forces that fight against it. This reality describes the state of the entire creation, which has been “subject to futility” and is moving toward decay. As we read in Romans 8, creation is groaning for God’s complete redemption. The creation was originally pronounced “good” and we can see the glory of God through creation. But something has gone wrong. In its present condition, it is subject to futility, death, and decay. The world is full of things that do not reflect the glory of God. We live in a wheat and weeds world.

This was a common belief in the early church. The early church theologian Athenagorus wrote that Satan is “the spirit” who was originally entrusted with “the control of matter and the forms of matter.” Unfortunately, “the prince of matter [now] exercises a control and management contrary to the good that is in God.” All suffering and violence in creation is the result of the corrupting influence of this evil “ruling prince” and “the demons his followers.”

There are two fundamental forces at work in the cosmos. God is pulling all things toward love through the cross. Satan is fighting against it. C. S. Lewis wrote, “At every moment, every square inch of the cosmos is claimed by Satan and counterclaimed by God.”

There are three basic applications to this teaching:

  1. We are all broken. We share the brokenness of creation. Every square inch is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan. The enemy has sown things into our hearts, and God is also at work in our hearts. Therefore, we must never buy into an ‘us versus them’ mentality that thinks of ourselves as righteous and others as unrighteous. We must fight against the polarization of our culture.
  2. Reconciliation is the gospel. All things will be reconciled to God and we will be reconciled to one another when God brings all things into his Kingdom. For many, reconciliation is seen as an option – part of the cultural wars and not part of what God is doing in the world. Reconciliation is what God is up to in the cosmos, and our call as the church is to join in on what God is doing.
  3. True reconciliation can only be done by the blood of the cross. While just laws and social justice for all races is crucial, God’s reconciliation cannot be fully accomplished by human efforts. It is work that is done as we follow the way of the cross in our relationships with others.

Reflection Questions: