Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

In the chapter entitled “What Jesus Knew: Our God-Bathed World,” Willard discusses the belief that God is present in the air that surrounds our bodies. He argues that the biblical phrase “the first heaven” refers to this. Therefore, God does not inhabit the heavens in a distant sense, but rather God is present in the space that surrounds our bodies. The significance of this lies in the fact that when we conceive of God and heaven as existing in some far-off place or even beyond outer space, God and his kingdom seem remote and distant, which is damaging to our spiritual lives. However, a proper understanding of the experience of people as recorded in the Old and New Testaments reveals a God who is present in the space around our bodies and with whom we can enter into an intimate, powerful, and loving relationship.

A second key issue dealt with in The Divine Conspiracy is Willard’s understanding of the Beatitudes. The prominent understanding of the Beatitudes is that they are prescriptions for how human beings should live. For example, humans should be poor in spirit, meek, and persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Willard’s view is that the point of the Beatitudes is that God’s kingdom is available to all people, right now, through Jesus. The descriptions given in the Beatitudes are of the people who were present during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and he was describing the inclusiveness of God’s kingdom.


(The entire section is 409 words.)