The Story of God: Redemption

In Genesis 3:15, we get a glimpse, a “big picture” sneak peak of God’s remedy to the problem of sin. God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Right after Adam and Eve sinned, God stepped in and brought not only immediate judgment on sin, but also a promise of a future “serpent crusher” who would ultimately deal a sweet blow to the serpent and the problem of sin.

Fast-forward to the New Testament, and we find the main character of the story—God—entering time and space. The Creator God stepped into creation not to destroy it, but to redeem it through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

A key event in redemptive history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Timothy Keller, in his book Reason for God, states

If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead (210). [1]

If Jesus really resurrected from the dead, then He really is who He said He is—God in the flesh. The resurrection, among other things, changed the lives of Jesus’ original disciples, who went from being nobodies to being courageous men, ultimately dying for the message of the good news of the Crucified and Risen Messiah.

The disciples could not help, but witness to what they saw and heard about the person of Jesus Christ, especially, but not limited to, His bodily resurrection. Because of Christ and His finished work at the cross, the seed of restoration has been planted, bringing about real transformation in and through our lives.

The resurrection of Christ paved the way for the ultimate restoration to come in the future. As recorded in Revelation 21, the “new heavens and new earth” will be ushered—in all its fullness—in the age to come. This is when we will no longer experience the “former things” of this life, such as pain, suffering, evil, sin, and death.

Those of us who have trusted the finished work of Christ and placed our faith in Him have not only been forgiven and adopted, but also sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is “the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:14).

One day we will finally “acquire possession of it” and it is going to be glorious! We will experience and enjoy perfect relationship with God, perfect relationship with each other, and perfect relationship with creation, just how things were meant to be from the very beginning.

[1] Keller, Timothy. Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Print.

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The Story of God: The Fall

In the beginning, everything was originally good and perfect. The universe experienced shalom as it was meant to, and mankind enjoyed—and benefitted from—a perfect relationship with God and each other. But, like most stories we know and hear, something went wrong—drastically wrong.

This is a dark chapter in story of God called “The Fall,” which refers to the historical event when Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan and rebelled against their good and loving Creator.

Sin entered the earth and infected and affected everything, such as the perfect relationship between God and mankind (vertical), the relationship between Adam and Eve (horizontal), and the relationship between mankind and creation, among many other things. The fall was truly a tragic event. Mankind—being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27)—fell short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23).

What is interesting is that the original Genesis mandate—to rule over creation—calling still stands. The only difference is that it is now harder because of sin, which has permeated God’s good creation, negatively impacting everything.

As the story unfolds, mankind’s evil and pride only increases, as seen through events such as Cain’s murder of Abel and the towel of Babel, among others. Ever since the fall, mankind has been on a downward-spiral, relationally, physically, and spiritually.

Mankind has—broadly speaking—failed to, as one of my professors likes to say, “Put God on display” in such a way as to reflect or mirror God and His attributes well to the rest of mankind and creation.

This is a tragic reality. It would be eternally-devastating if the story ended there, but the good news is that it does not. On the contrary, the story continues on a note of hope, as we will see in part three, “Redemption”.

The Story of God: Creation

The greatest story ever told is not the story of mankind’s survival, independence, and achievement. To put it differently, the greatest story ever told does not begin with man, but with God. That’s right—God.

Mankind would not exist apart from God. Mankind would not have a story tell apart from God. Mankind would simply not be. God, on the other hand, is simply there. God is the God who is.

This God has a story, and it is the greatest story ever told. It is the story of all stories. It is the ultimate story, which trumps all other stories. It’s not that other stories are unimportant —they are in their own, unique ways—but the story of God is the story from which all other stories derive their meaning from, or at least they should. The story of God is comprehensively amazing and satisfying and encouraging. We would do well to spend some time on it.

Nancy Pearcey, in her ground-breaking book, Total Truth, encourages us to approach any worldview or story through a three-part grid: creation, fall, and redemption (127, 128, and 134).[1] It is through this three-part grid that we will briefly journey our way through the biblical story.

Creation

The biblical story begins with God. I have heard it said that the Bible does not begin by arguing for the existence of God, but by simply assuming it: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1; ESV). The beginning that is referred to here is not the beginning of God, but of the world, or better, the universe.

The Bible begins by drawing our attention to the main character of the story—God. He is the Creator of the universe who designed, filled, separated, and gave meaning to—and made possible the existence of—life in general, and humanity, in particular.

Out of all creation, mankind was created in a unique way to reflect who God is to the rest of the world. Humanity was created in the image of God, called to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (v. 28; emphasis added).

God, the rightful and just ruler of the universe, created and called mankind to represent Him and exercise His authority on earth. This was/is a great opportunity, blessing, and honestly, tremendous responsibility. (Let us just say that we have not, broadly speaking, done a good job at it).

Plus, God gave humanity the gifts of work and rest. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden to work, care, and cultivate it for God’s glory. Overall, the beginning was characterized by shalom, and mankind was right in the center of it.

This first chapter of the biblical story is of crucial importance for the rest of the narrative for various reasons. The first chapter of Genesis teaches us some of Christianity’s core doctrines: creation out of nothing, the goodness of creation, creation of mankind as image-bearers, the origins of evil in this earth, the fall of mankind and its need for redemption, etc.

The creation account serves as the foundation to the rest of story of God. Nothing in the rest of the story will make sense without, or part from, the creation account.

[1] Pearcey, Nancy. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. Print.