Full Text for Dogmatics 4- Volume 3 - Are the two realms or the two governments the same as the two kingdoms? (Video)

No. 3. >> Hello. My name is Eric. And I serve in New Jersey. I want to add my thanks for permitting us to ask these questions. Professor Biermann, you seem to be careful to call this the two realms or the two governments. I've always heard this described as the two kingdoms, as you mentioned earlier. Is it the same thing? >>DR. JOEL D. BIERMANN: Good to have you on board, Eric. You're asking another really good question. And I've touched on this. But I want to add a little clarity to this because I know it's kind of confusing. Two kingdoms is used by Luther to refer to God's activity. But he also talks about the two regiments or the two realms. Contemporary theologians are trying to be a little more careful, a little more distinct, even a little more careful than Luther was. And here is why: There were times when Luther would talk about the two realms. And what he meant was God working in the right hand realm and God working in the left hand realm. And that's very helpful as we begin to see how we can use that to distinguish what's God trying to do? What is my responsibility as I'm operating in the left hand realm? What is my responsibility operating in the right hand realm? Two areas of activity. But sometimes Luther would talk about two kingdoms. And he would say: There is the Kingdom of God. Where God is advancing his Gospel and God is working in the world. And he would say: And there is the kingdom of Satan, which is opposed to God. And is oppressing God's people. And is trying to advance wickedness in the world. So we have two kingdoms at battle. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan or the kingdom of the delve. And Luther talks that would, too. And you can see where the problem is going to come. And this happens with a lot of people. A lot of Christians operate with the idea that yes, there are these two kingdoms. God's kingdom and Satan's kingdom. And then they begin to think it's the same thing as the two realms. Well, it's not hard to guess where you're going to put God and Satan in the two realms. God, of course, you're going to put in the right hand realm. And Satan is going to end up in the left hand realm. So now what do we have? Now we have God's realm is the church. Holy. Righteous. Beautiful, wonderful, all good. And Satan's activity, that's the government. Bad, wicked, nasty, evil, not to be trusted. To be avoided. And some Christians have actually come to this position. We just kind of escape into the church and we ignore the left hand realm. Don't get involved. Don't say the Pledge of Allegiance. Don't vote. Don't be involved in anything in the left hand realm. You're familiar with Jehovah's Witnesses who really push this. And it's an error. Because they have somehow decided that the civil realm, the government, the world around us is just inherently evil and to be shunned and we have to flee to the church. That's dead wrong. Luther never taught that. And you can begin to see how this slides very quickly into a form of sort of neognosticism. You remember that ancient heresy of Gnosticism that was based on a lot of Greek philosophy. And Gnosticism said that the spiritual realm, that's good and holy and uplifting and all spiritual things are good. Material, physical things, bad, wicked, evil, to be avoided, to be distrusted. And so you can see how we can easily get to the idea that physical world, government, it's corrupt, it's bad, it's Satan's area, stay away from it. And Luther and I would say Saint Paul never envisioned that. They recognized that the world is God's world. The material is God's good realm. He cares about it. He's working to restore it. In fact, he's redeeming it. In fact, think about it this way: What God is doing in the right hand, restoring and giving forgiveness, he does for the sake of the left hand. To put the left hand back where it belongs. It fell. It was crushed. It was broken by Adam and Eve's sin. By our rebellion. And now God is restoring the left hand material world for the sake of had his will being accomplished. It's a good world. It's not a bad, wicked world. So we have to be careful not to say: Oh, two kingdoms, two realms, all the same thing. We have to be careful because we don't want to make the idea that somehow two kingdoms, God, Satan. And the left hand is Satan's realm. It's not. It's the area of God's activity. Satan does infiltrate both areas. Satan is very busy in the left hand. And we know from experience Satan is very busy in the right hand, too. He creates plenty of mischief in the church. Sows discord, sows evil. And he's working in both areas. And so the two kingdoms is really sort of a different distinction all together. And it fills all over the place in the two realms. Two realms, what is God doing? Two kingdoms, God over against Satan. So keep them separate and distinct and you think about it. And I think you'll be better off.