Every novel is written with some very specific circumstances. The only way to move the plot along, describe the obstacle that needs to be overcome and then show how it is overcome requires some very specific details. A very specific place is key. A very specific time in history is also key. A very specific protagonist is essential and a very specific goal of that protagonist is paramount. In other words, story is just about anyone, anywhere in any time with a vague set of problems and a hazy character that is trying to thwart their goals.
The same is true of the Bible. The narative begins with a very specific set of circumstances, with a very specific couple of people, who live in a very specific time. This protagonist is given a very special and specific task and a very specific set of rule by which he must abide by for the story to move along. This all creates a very special problem, namely the existence of sin and death in a world that had never known sin or death before.
But, instead of our protagonist moving through obstacles to overcome his wrong and make it right again by the end of the Bible, God chose a different course for this book.
Usually, in a novel the protagonist is the one who finds the solution and to the problem and implements it, thus fixing the problem. He must go through a series of obstacles and setbacks to his reaching his goal. But, the usual conclusion to a novel is the resolution to the initial problems.
In my last post, I wrote about Harry Potter. Harry had many obstacles to overcome. The largest was unkown to him until almost the last novel (if not the last). He had to rid himself of a part of the soul that was placed within him as an infant of the evil Lord Voldemort. He, also, had to defeat Lord Voldemort in order to save all the rest of the people’s lives that lived in his special world.
When reading through the Bible, it appears to be an endless sea of varying stories where we get bits and pieces of the whole picture. There is no one story in the Bible that puts it all together into one cohesive statement. We, as the reader, are asked to wander through the desert of a mysterious world of people who lived 5,000 years ago. We are asked to put on their mindset and to see the stories set forth as all leading to some kind of conclusion. But, the conclusion feels so far off and the stories inbetween seem so off topic that it is easy to become muddled, give up and throw the book aside.
So, we need to narrow down the story to a few basic lines and insert a few basic unstated, though implied thoughts to make it all work. In other words, we are asked to read what is there but be counseled by God’s Spirit as to how our simple human minds put the pieces together to make a cohesive story.
I want to say here that while I use the words “story” and “novel” I am not implying that I believe the Bible to be a work of fantasy. It is a work of reality. But, it is not a historical non-fiction work either (to me, anyway). It is not an historical textbook either. It doesn’t fit into any known category of books that we have today.
The Bible is the only book that I know of that requires two to understand. The reader and God must work together to understand the Bible. It has to be a symbiotic relationship or it will remain a mysterious wandering of thoughts and words. To connect with the Bible is to connect with the Creator. Just as Adam had to stay connected with the Creator or he would die, so too we must stay connected to the Creator in order to understand the Bible. It is a book of active, engaged relationship that unfolds the mysterious words on its pages and not human thought.
The reason is that the point of the Bible is not to have you read a good story and close the book on the last page and put it on a shelf to read again. The point of the Bible is to spur an active relationship with the God Who states He is the Creator. Any person who wants a real relationship with the Creator, will pursue the Bible as one of the only earthly means to connect with the Divine. It is an opportunity and not an end in and of itself. That’s why the Bible is a lifelong, ongoing reading.
It isn’t enough for God to just hand us a handbook for living. He doesn’t just want to give us our “textbook” at the begining of the year and then rest back in His comfy seat and blame you for not having read it. He wants to be actively infused into every moment of your reading it. He wants to permeate you with His presence and engage you in dialogue. He’s working towards getting you to be the “Adam” in your own life story. He wants to walk and talk with you in your own special “Eden” that the two of you share, nurture and create. He wants you to come to a place where you voluntarily love and respect Him. He wants you to come to a place where you desire a relationship with Him, lean on Him in times of trouble and seek Him out as your primary source when you’re confused. He wants you to know you can count on Him; that He won’t unexpectedly leave you.
Once again, I’d like to reiterate the five quick takeaway’s that I’ve gleaned from reading the first few chapters of the book of Genesis in the Bible. First, all the stories contained within the Bible have a specific set of circumstances just like any other novel. The first specific thing noted is that God has declared that He alone is the Creator of the Universe and all that is within it.
The second thing is that the “character” known in the first story of a human is called Adam and that the Creator specially made him and infused Adam with a special sort of spiritual DNA that set him apart from all other living things on the earth at that specific time. This special type of (what I call) spiritual DNA gave this “character” of Adam the ability to rise above all other life forms on earth by being able to connect with the Divine on a much grander scale than any living thing had been able to do before his creation.
The third thing is that Adam blundered. He went against what his Creator had warned him not to do. As the first of all specially created humans he would be linked to every human that would be born onto the earth hereafter. His blunder would now pass down from father and mother to their child, infecting all mankind with blunder as their default setting at birth.
The fourth thing is that the Creator could have destroyed Adam and wiped him off the face of the earth and started over, but God didn’t. He hung in there and stuck around. His love for Adam and Eve didn’t change or waver. God’s commitment to Adam and Eve didn’t change or waver. God went with when the times were pleasant and sweet and He went with when the times got tough.
The fifth ting is that the Creator knew that Adam could not solve the problem that his blundering had created, namely sin and death. So, God made Adam a promise. His promise was to send a special Man into the world Who also had the most unique spiritual DNA ever imagined. This special Man was Jesus, God in the flesh. This special Man named Jesus would destroy sin and annihalate death once for all time. Not only that but this Savior would be a Shepherd and Messiah Who would gather all the people’s of the world who voluntarily made this connection with the Divine. Plus, this Way, Truth and Life would be willing and able to make a pathway through death for all who chose to follow Jesus’ lead. Jesus lead the way by going through death Himself. He took upon Himself all of the “blunders” (also called sins) for everyone who recognized their blunders as the greatest obstacles of life that they could never overcome by themselves. To everyone else, however, Jesus’ gift of His very life appears pointless and worthless. But, to those who are being saved from hell, sin and death it is the very power of God activated in them. This is what God planned to rectify Adam and Eve’s blunders even as He was kicking them out of the Garden of Eden.
If there was one main point that I could say that I see the Bible getting at is this: God wanted us to clearly understand what He saw as man’s biggest overall obstacles. Man’s inability to stop blundering was the first. And tied to that is man’s inability to fully and completely redeem his blunders. Nothing that man can do will wipe those blunders away as if they never happened. He’s stuck with them and along with that man is stuck with the end result which is death. Because God sees this dire situation that mankind is in, He has made a way out through His Son, Jesus.
And for this I am left BLINKING IN SUNLIGHT at the amazing God I serve.
Until next time….May God keep you in the palm of His hand…
BLIS.BLOG…..by Janet Williams…..A BLOG TO SEE!