Who are we? Why are we here? What is this place anyway?
Some of life’s most penetrating questions are answered at the very beginning of God’s Story. The true Story begins with God’s existence already assumed and then explains how God created all things good and how He had a good intention for all of His creation to function well and flourish. In fact, God tells us that He made humans as His image in order that we would enjoy right relationship with Him, each other and this world. As His created beings, we were to submit to His reign and cheerfully and freely obey Him in order to enjoy the full goodness that He intended for this creation. This is all found in Genesis 1-2 in the Bible and is reiterated numerous times throughout God’s Story. God is Creator and we are His creatures who live in this world which is also His creation. We were created to joyfully submit to God’s reign and enjoy the good intention He had in creating us for relationship with Himself, each other and this world.
What's wrong with me? What's wrong with this world?
Each of us has a sense that things are not the way that they are supposed to be. Perhaps we now recognize that this makes sense since God created us and this world for a good purpose that honored Him and caused us to flourish. But what went wrong? Why do I feel so far away from God? Why do I continue to experience failing relationships? Why is there war? Why have I experienced loss? Why does this place seem so mean at times? These are all great questions that deserve a good answer. That answer is once again found within the context of God’s Story. In Genesis 3, God allows us to read and understand that while He created things good, we royally goofed things up. God gave Adam and Eve a command to not eat the fruit of a particular tree. Satan, who is our enemy and the enemy of God, caused this couple to question the truthfulness of God and even to question whether God had the right to reign over them. In response, Adam and Eve did eat of the fruit and tried to establish their own kingdom instead of submitting to God’s reign. A catastrophic chain of events took place from here. The Bible says in Genesis 3 and Romans 5 that our right relationship with God was ruined because when Adam sinned by choosing to live against God’s reign, it resulted in each of us being sinners against God’s reign by nature and choice. The relationships between humans also suffered as we began distorting what God intended relationships to be as the Bible clearly shows throughout the remainder of its content. The Bible even says in Genesis 3 and Romans 8 that all of creation suffered as a result of that human decision. God’s Story provides the answer for why things are not the way they are supposed to be. But we still want to know if there is a solution to this problem and if there is really anything for which we may hope. Thankfully, God’s Story continues.
What is the solution to the Fall?
God’s Story, from Genesis 3:15 on, speaks of our gracious God passionately pursuing His people. At the center of God’s Story stands the unique figure Who identified Himself as The Way, The Truth and The Life. The person was Jesus the Christ, the perfect God-man. Our sin against God that separates us from Him and each other was so serious that God, because of His love for us and His world, sent His Son to this world to live a sinless life on our behalf. Jesus lived the life that we could not live. Jesus also came to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians that the greatest act of grace ever known took place through the Person and Work of Jesus the Christ. This act was Jesus’ death and resurrection where He took on our sin and gave us His righteousness if we would entrust ourselves to the truthfulness of His Story and embrace His reign. You see, God wanted to redeem us in order that we would honor Him through living rightly in relationship with Him as He intended in the goodness of His creation. In Jesus, God was renewing all things for His honor and desires for us to represent His reign in this world right now by living lives and making decisions that reflect God’s good intention or His creation. We cannot earn God’s salvation. We cannot earn the gift of His reign. The Bible says that we may receive this salvation as a gift received by God’s grace alone through faith in Who Jesus is and What He has done. In receiving the gift of God’s reign, we also commit to submit to His reign and continue to learn how He wishes for us to live in His world.
For what may we hope?
The Bible concludes by telling of the new beginning of God’s Story. He will remove sin and finally we will see the fullness of His reign enacted in this world. In Revelation 21, God’s Story ends with His glory radiating throughout all of creation as He has made all things new and things are finally as they should be with those people who have embraced Jesus the Christ and His kingdom. We are fully freed to live as God intends with right relationship with Himself, each other and His world. For those who refuse to believe or embrace God’s True Story, they will forever live in conscious punishment apart from God. For those who do accept Jesus as the One Who has paid the penalty for their sin and is now Master of their life, they will experience everlasting joy in right relationship with God, each other and His world. This has always been God’s intention.