First, God reigns over the material world by the mechanical necessity of physical laws. In this kingdom there is no freedom. The subjects, whether floating atoms or blazing suns, bow to the law of necessity. To this kingdom our bodies belong. The laws of gravitation and of vital chemistry are ceaselessly at work in them, whether we will or not, whether we wake or sleep.
In the second place, God presides over a moral government requiring obedience to the universal law of moral obligation. God did not give us the privilege of choosing whether or not we would be in this kingdom. We are in it by no vote or consent of ours. The moral law is imbedded in our very constitution. We can escape it only by escaping two beings, God and ourselves. We may disobey and suffer penalty; we may obey and enjoy the reward.
But on the basis of these two kingdoms stands another. No one is in it of necessity, but everyone enters freely. The law of this kingdom is love of righteousness. All who love righteousness love God, its perfect embodiment, and belong to this kingdom, hence it is purely spiritual with an ethical basis. It was founded by the Father. When some method of making the wicked righteous was needed, he devised the scheme of the atonement. Hence he is no impersonation of mercilessness holding an iron scepter, as some falsely assert, but a tender Father devising the ransom of his banished ones. "God so loved the world," says the divine record. The atonement is a river of love rising in the heart of the Father, flowing through the self-sacrifice of the Son and emptying itself on the earth in the gift of the Holy Ghost to restore to human souls the lost image of God, righteousness and true holiness. The Son of God is the administrator of this kingdom. He is head over all things to his church. "My kingdom is not of this world." From the residence of a majority of its subjects it is called the kingdom of heaven. The census of that kingdom would be so great that the number on the earth are to the number in heaven as a handful of sand is to a continent, or as the planets of our system are to the milky way powdered with stars.
— edited and adapted from Jesus Exultant, Chapter 7.