“The Bible is not merely some divine guidebook, nor is it a mine of propositions to be believed or a long list of commands to be obeyed. True, one does receive plenty of guidance from it, and it does indeed contain plenty of true propositions and divine directives. But the Bible is infinitely more than that. It is no accident that the Bible comes to us primarily by way of narrative—but not just any narrative. Here we have the grandest narrative of all—God’s own story. That is, it does not purport to be just one more story of humankind’s search for God. No, this is God’s story, the account of his search for us, a story essentially told in four chapters: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation. In this story, God is the divine protagonist, Satan the antagonist, God’s people the agonists (although too often also the antagonists), with redemption and reconciliation as the plot resolution…

Here is the heart of the story: A loving, redeeming God in his incarnation restored our lost vision of God (took off the wraps, as it were, so that we could plainly see what God is truly like), by his crucifixion and resurrection made possible our being restored to the image of God (see Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18), and through the gift of the Spirit became present with us in constant fellowship. Marvelous—well nigh incredible—that revelation, that redemption. The genius of the biblical story is what it tells us about God himself: a God who sacrifices himself in death out of love for his enemies; a God who would rather experience the death we deserved than to be apart from the people he created for his pleasure; a God who himself bore our likeness, experienced our creatureliness, and carried our sins so that he might provide pardon and reconciliation; a God who would not let us go, but who would pursue us—all of us, even the worst of us—so that he might restore us into joyful fellowship with himself; a God who in Christ Jesus has so forever identified with his beloved creatures that he came to be known and praised as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:3). This is God’s story, the story of his unfathomable love and grace, mercy and forgiveness—and that is how it also becomes our story. The story tells us that we deserve nothing but get everything; that we deserve hell but get heaven; that we deserve to be wiped out, obliterated, but we get his tender embrace; that we deserve rejection and judgment but get to become his children, to bear his likeness, to call him Father. This is the story of the Bible, God’s story, which at the same time is also our own. Indeed, he even let his human creatures have a part in writing it!” – Excerpts from How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart

2 COMMENTS

  1. Beautifully written article! I have just one question: If we lost the Image of God in us at the fall then doesn’t this lead to certain consequences in ethics? For example, typically we think that it is wrong to rape someone because we are inflicting unnecessary pain upon a fellow human being and, also, because we are violating that person’s body which presupposes the concept of rights which are properly grounded in the nature and image of God which we ourselves share and that is why we have rights. But, if the Imago Dei has been lost, then it seems that we have no more rights and thus the justification we have for saying rape is wrong goes out the window. How do we make sense of ethical duties that hinge on the concept of human rights which can only be properly explained as being made in God’s image? Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment, Austin! I don’t think that the authors meant by “our being restored to the image of God” that we fully “lost” what is being characterized in Genesis 1:26. The “restoration” of the image of God is likely a fuller image from a degree of loss. Even Paul says that somewhere, deep down, we all still know the truth so that we are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). Also, I don’t see how it follows that, if we fully lose the imago Dei that we no longer have rights. Just because we may not be aware of something doesn’t mean it no longer exists. In other words, even if we had no idea whether rape was wrong, it doesn’t follow that there is no justification for saying rape is wrong. It just means we don’t know that there is a justification for saying rape is wrong. And as I said, I don’t think Scripture teaches or presupposes that we are fully ignorant when it comes to being aware of God (and by extension morality or ethics). Sure, we may be unclear when it comes to certain moral or ethical scenarios but I don’t think that means we are totally in the dark in this regard.

Comments are closed.