Is The Kingdom of God Within?
NCW 17, March 1995
Q. I think that you [New Covenant Christians] and other denominations make too much of Luke 17:21 ["the kingdom of God is within you" -- NIV]. Is it not dangerous to make one scripture the basis of a whole neo-pantheistic theology? Many translators believe the passage should be rendered "the kingdom of God is in your midst" (e.g. NASV).
Fortunatately, Luke 17:21 is not the only passage of scripture which indicates that the God and the Kingdom is within a soul.
There is a regrettable tendency on the part of some scriptorians to over-simplify matters by insisting that God is either wholly outside Creation (and therefore man) or that He is Creation itself (pantheism). The truth of the matter is that God is both outside and inside His Creation. Both propositions are true and both can be substantiated from scripture.
The New Amplified New Testament captures the full meaning of Jesus' words in Luke 17:21: "For behold, the kingdom of God is within you (in your hearts) and among you (surrounding you)".
God is both external to His Creation as well as within it. He made it and, as an external observer, saw that it was "good" (Gen.1). Yet He is also within it, "(Jesus) was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9, AV).
For a detailed treatment of this subject, see The Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Mark (School of the Elders, Course SE/NT2, New Testament, 1992).
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