(I know this is very long. . . sorry :P)
There are two cities. God’s city. And man’s city. We belong to both. We are in man’s city, but we are of God’s city. Sometimes the lines between the two get blurry and sometimes you might forget where you are really from. And sometimes you might try to act like a local in the city of Man. Some people become so involved with Man’s city and its corruptions, that they forget another place even exists. They begin to think that the city of God is only an illusion; a fantasy. They tell themselves that the evil in Man’s city is normal, and that “good” isn’t realistic. But someday, there will only be one City and it will be good.
Both cities were founded by love; but by two very different loves: God’s city was founded by love for God. Man’s city was founded by love for man. Both cities seek great glory: God’s city labors for the glory of God; it is a city on its knees. While Man’s city seeks the glory of man; it is a city that throws back its head without any shame or reverence. In the city of God, the highest reward is the favor of God. He is all in all. (1 Cor. 15: 28) The people do not think of themselves as wise, but instead they look only to the wisdom of God. In the city of Man, however, although they know God, “they do not honor him, or give thanks to him, but are vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts are dark. Claiming to be wise, they have become fools and have exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and like birds, and four-footed creeping things.” (Romans 1:21-22). They glory in their own wisdom and are possessed by pride. (Augustine, City of God, pg 477).
Once, before the City of Man was founded, there was a perfect man. He was from the City of God. His home, Eden, was the most beautiful place in the world. He lived there with his wife. God had given them everything they could possibly desire. And they were perfectly happy, until they began to frantically desire the one thing that God had withheld from them. So, they disobeyed God, and listened instead to the lies of the Serpent. Because of this, God cursed them and drove them out from Eden. He placed an angel at the entrance; a guardian with a fiery sword, so that they could never, ever come back. And so sin entered the world through Adam, our federal head. Now, God has given the men up “in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. And so, He gave them up to dishonorable passions. The women in the City of Man have exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature. And the men, as well, have given up natural relations with women and are consumed with passion for one another.” (Romans 8: 24-27). They are unashamed and unrepentant. They laugh in the very face of God, by defying his will and disobeying every single one of his commands. And, as their punishment, God allows them to continue in their depravity. They are corrupted in every possible way; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God; they are insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil; the children are disobedient to their parents; they are foolish; they are faithless, heartless, boastful, ruthless. They know God’s law, but they despise it. (Romans 1:29-32).
One day, a perfect Man-God will return to us. He is the Son of the King and He will not mess things up like the first man did. “For as by man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:21). He is the only one that has not been tainted by the sin of the first man. He died for the citizens of Man’s city and, in doing so, placed all of the sin of the corrupted world on his shoulders. He is our federal head, the second Adam. For a second time, the people are represented by another. But this Representative will clear the way for his chosen people to enter the City of God. All of the dead, good and evil, will be raised up (1 Cor. 15:12). And in that day every man, woman, and child, who has ever lived will stand before the Judge and give an account of themselves. Our Representative will breach the measureless gap between the two cities, for those that trust him enough to walk over. But for those who do not, we are told, that they will be placed under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25), and that the City of Man will be destroyed (Augustine, City of God, pg 481). Their greatest curse is that they will be apart from God forever. They will never be able to enter the heavenly City. For then, “none may cross” (Luke 16:26) the great chasm that will be fixed between God’s people and the Serpent’s people.
It has been said that everyone, all people of both cities, desires peace above everything else (Augustine, City of God, pg 481). The strivings within the Earthly City are caused by a craving for earthly peace. Men fight wars so that they may conquer their enemies, and so enjoy peace without any resistence. They believe there is not enough of anything for everyone to share, and so men fight over everything in order to enjoy it all on their own. They desire peace to have they want, and to do what they like with it. Their “peace” is the kind that won’t last, except for a moment. People in God’s City, however, desire true peace with God and with each other; quietness and security and love. It has been promised to them, that there will be peace in the end. They long for peace day after day, and work towards now it by loving one another as they have been commanded. “Those who plan peace have joy” (Proverbs 12:20). Their King’s Son is called the Prince of Peace, (Isaiah 9:6) and in his kingdom there will be no end of peace .