Tag Archives: God’s Metanarrative

Act 1 Scene 1b: Imago Dei

Imago Dei by Shin-Hee Chin

You know those times when you prepare the best you can but when the rubber hits the road things seem to go sideways?

Well, Sunday seemed a bit like that to me…it seemed, as one of my mentors is fold of saying, that the words I was speaking drooled down my chin and flopped to the ground.  😕

In hindsight (I listened to the recording yesterday), it wasn’t quite that bad – even though there a few rabbit trails, the main message that God wanted communicated got across (All glory to the King!).

Below is the full text of the sermon – with the audio file located here.

Note that Emily blessed everyone Sunday with a speical solo performance of JJ Heller’s song “What Love Really Means.” In fact, I think the Lord used that song to touch more hearts that day then anything I said. It just goes to show you that folks connect more with music then with lectures… hmm… maybe those chating monks of old knew a thing or two….


Made in the Image of God

Last week we looked at how the creation story of Genesis 1 was primarily about answering the question of WHO made the world. We looked at how it told the Israelites, who were just delivered from 400 years of slavery, that God Alone was King of everything.

God was the ruler of the seas, the plants, the trees, then animals – everything was subject to Him. The gods of the Egyptians and the Canaanites were nothing – just false idols with no power. God made everything and therefore He was King.

We also looked at the creation of humanity – how humanity was not created by accident – the tears of a crying god falling on the ground – nor were we created as slaves to do the biding of the gods.

Contrary to every other creation story out there, God’s story states that humanity was made in His image:

“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” –Gen 1:27

Continue reading Act 1 Scene 1b: Imago Dei

Act 1 Scene 1: In the Beginning…

There are times when the first line of a book becomes so famous that becomes part of the culture. Charles Dickens’ opening line for A Tale of Two Cities is one such example: “It was the best of times it was the worst of times.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s “It was a dark and stormy night” also comes to mind. God’s Book starts off with a famous line as well: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Only there is a problem with famous books. The problem is that everyone has read them. And in reading them, everyone has come up with their own view of what the author was trying to say. The Bible is no different.

{I ad-libbed a lot Sunday morning, so I would recommend the audio version}

Let us go back to when the oral story of creation was first told. Let us imagine the camp of the Israelites spread across the desert wilderness. You just left Egypt after having your family enslaved for 400 years…You are sitting around a fire – staring up into the stars, thinking about life, the universe and how everything came to be.

Seated across the firre, one of the elders slowly begins to speak…soft at first, then louder as the story told countless times came to his lips:

Atum, finisher of the world.

Standing on this hill, Atum looked over the waters and realized that he was alone. Spiting onto the hill, Atum created Shu, the god of the air, who in contributed to our principles of life.

Sneezing, Atum created Tefunt – the goddess of the moisture, who brought out the principles of order into the world.

However the power of Nu – the watery chaos – was great and soon Shu and Tefunt were separated from their father Atum. In a state of grief, Atum removed his one eye and sent it to search for his children. After a long time, Atum’s eye found Shu and Tefunt and returned them to Atum. At this reunion, Atum wept tears of joy – and where these tears hit the ground, men grew up out of the dirt.

The time had come for world to be made…so Shu and Tefnut joined together and gave birth to Geb, the earth and Nut, the sky. Geb and Nut gave birth to four children: Osiris, god of fertility and regeneration and Isis, goddess of motherhood, Seth, the god of male sexuality Nephthys, the goddess of female sexuality.

What? This wasn’t the story you grew up with? How about this one:

Continue reading Act 1 Scene 1: In the Beginning…


It used to be that people who “told stories” were considered liars – folks who made up stories full of false facts to make them look better. Tall tales, folk lore, fishing stories about the one that got away…

Yet, more and more people are beginning to understand that we are all connected by stories. It is how we get to know people.

{Audio file of this sermon can be found here}

Think back to when you met someone new – say your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or maybe your best friend. What did you do? Did you sit next to each other and exchange resumes? Facts and figures about when they were born, where, what their skill set was, etc?

Boy, that would be a boring date!!

Most likely you sat there and told stories– stories about your favorite movie, the one you saw with your best friends who laughed so hard pop came out his nose… stories about that time when you were in high school and you played football….

Stories…they are the glue that hold us together as a community as a people.

When I first came to Sweet five years ago, I remember reading all the historical signs – looking at the pictures in the Syringa Hall – wandering through the cemeteries of Sweet and Ola looking at the epitaphs on the gravestones. I was trying to get a feel for this community – what was the history of this place? How did it come to be? How did it come to be the way it is? What was God doing in Sweet? And Where was He taking the people?

We live in a disconnected society where people are individuals without any roots. We don’t know where we come from or where we are going…  Yet, if you don’t know from where you’re going, then how would you know if you arrive? If you don’t know where you started – or were your parents, grandparents started – then you could accidentally stop short of the goal without knowing the sacrifices of those who went before you.

Continue reading Stories…

The Grand Metanarrative of the Bible

Starting in mid-May the PRV family is going to start a series on the grand metanarrative of the Bible.

  • How the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation speaks of God’s rule and reign (i.e. the Kingdom of God).
  • How we are to enter into His story versus trying to live our own (or buying into other ‘stories’ like the American Dream).

In preparation for this series, I read Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen’s book “The Drama of Scripture.” Drawing from N.T. Wright’s model of the five-act structure, these two Redeemer University College professors lay out an easy-to-read view of the Kingdom of God throughout the Bible.

  • Act 1: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
  • Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
  • Act 3: The King Choose Israel: Redemption Initiated
  • Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period
  • Act 4: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
  • Act 5: Spreading the News of the King: The Mission of the Church
  • Act 6: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed

Written in a prose format for first-year college students, this book reads like a story – giving the read a good foundation of the entire Bible.

One of the best parts of the book is the “Interlude” chapter as it helps tie the Old Testament together with the New Testament. This period is one of the most over-looked periods in history as a lot of Protestant Christians forget that God was at work during the four-hundred year gap between Malachi and Matthew. (I say “Protestant Christians” because our Catholic and Eastern Orthodox family include the Maccabees and other intertestamental books in their Bibles.)

Continue reading The Grand Metanarrative of the Bible

God’s Grand Plan

epicI am hereby dubbing 2010 as the “Year of the Big Picture” as I have read three thick books seeking to tell the grand story of the Bible.

The first one was “The Mission of God” by Christopher Wright and was read in the neonatal intensive care unit while cradling my newborn son. (sadly, I have not gotten around to writing a review of this book even though it was the best one of the three – that and it is the only book I’ve read that actually made me WANT to go back and read Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy!!!).

Months later I read Daniel Fuller’s book “The Unity of the Bible” – which proved to be less about the unity of the Bible and more about a Calvinist approach to theology.

The last overarching book was written in a totally different manner then the other two and is the subject of this post. As you probably guessed by the image on the right, the book in question is God’s EPIC Adventure” by Winn Griffin.

Written more as a text book with wide margins,  side notes and study questions, “God’s EPIC Adventure” seeks to challenge the fragmentation of the biblical story in modern society by teaching the church to understand what “her story is and how to become the people of God living as his recreated humanity”.

Continue reading God’s Grand Plan

The Unity of the Bible by Daniel Fuller

UnityOfTheBibleOne of the most common misconceptions of the Bible is the idea that Old Testament teaches salvation through works (i.e. obeying the Mosaic law) while the New Testament is all about grace and love. This is a misconception that goes back to John Calvin and Martin Luther.

Yet, it is a misconception as the entire Bible is about grace.

Yes, God did put certain laws in place through Moses. But these laws were built upon a foundation of grace and mercy as it was through His grace that He delivered the Israelites from Egypt. Paul highlights this unity in Galatians when he draws attention to Abraham’s ‘salvation’ experience in Genesis 15 where his belief in God was counted upon to him as righteousness.

It is this covenant of mercy and grace that drives Daniel Fuller’s book “The Unity of the Bible: Unfolding God’s Plan for Humanity.”

Drawing upon the first half of Genesis, Fuller lays out a pretty complete agreement showing the unity of the Bible. However, while his theology is pretty sound, I couldn’t help but feel a bit stifled. Fuller seemed to have an answer for every situation; shoot, it seemed that he spent most of the book defending God and His actions – which seems a tad off to me as I think God can defend Himself with out our help.

In a nutshell,  I think he removed the Story from the Bible. Continue reading The Unity of the Bible by Daniel Fuller