There is reason to think that God’s intention is for humans to pursue life as humans which entails, not being separate from God but perhaps not only attending worship services. When He put man in the garden He told them to be fruitful and multiply, to take dominion.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground (Genesis 1: 27-28, NIV).” 1
In the midst of that existence there were walks and times of fellowship with God:
There was purpose in the garden: ruling “over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground Genesis 1:26),” working the ground (Genesis 2:6), naming the animals (Genesis 1:19-20).
Had there been no fall, there would have been procreation and a burgeoning population and culture would have arisen. But these are hypothetical exercises. The fact remains, God of course foreknew all that would happen and therefore the rise of cultures as we know them were anticipated from the beginning. In fact, we could suggest that the family is the first culture and God’s expectations of right behavior and purpose within the family is extended and expanded as families emerge and interact. All of humankind extends from Adam and Eve and is therefore one large, infinitely diverse family.
So, envisioning culture as an outflow, a natural result of the fulfillment of our obedience to those original commands is appropriate so long as such efforts are viewed as flowing from God and done for His glory rather than for the good of man or the accomplishments of his goals. The Tower of Babel represents a pursuit of the glory of man rather than the glory of God.
I think it is difficult to grasp this idea of a Christian culture because we can’t imagine the entire world being saved. But when we imagine a community being saved, we catch a glimpse of what the purpose of such a community might be and how that community might function. Or, we can imagine the model we understand best: a Christendom model that sees the culture as not hostile (Christ above culture).
1 All Scriptures NIV.
2 Although our only example of this in the garden comes after the fall, there is no reason to think that God’s venture into the garden to find Adam and Eve was a new development in their routine or in God’s behavior.