Where The Story Went Wrong | Part 3
Welcome to blog number three! If you haven’t read blogs one and two then this one might make very little sense. It might be like coming in half-way through a good book (or perhaps, in this case, just a book!) So, if you haven’t started at the beginning, I’d recommend you take 10 minutes now to go back for a read.
In seeking to understand the story of humanity and how our lives can find significance in that story today, I’ve expressed my personal view that in the beginning, God made the world and everything in it. God made humanity special from the rest of His creation; God made humanity like himself – to look like Him, reason like Him, live like Him, rule like Him. His intention was to fill the earth with Himself through humanity, whom He had made like Himself.
The first humans lived in peace and joy and safety under the rule of God, in His kingdom, progressing the purpose for which they were made. But eventually an enemy infiltrated and brought corruption.
This is how it went: The first humans, instead of walking in harmony with their Creator and their created purpose, listened to promptings (from an unusual source!1) for a different path involving independence, disconnection from their God, and self-determined governing over God’s creation. Having acted upon these promptings, the story of humanity was cast into ruin.
Humanity was not made to exist at a distance from their Creator.
The mistakes of humanity’s first parents brought consequences upon themselves personally and in their lives going forward, and on all their children, who were yet unborn, who would also share in the negative effects of their parents’ poor choices. All humanity was brought into a negative set of circumstances due to the actions of their original parents. God’s intended purpose for humanity was rejected, God, as King, was rejected, and humanity became their own ‘god’, as they worshipped their own desires and pursuits.
You can imagine the fallout of conflict and disaster that resulted from everybody becoming their own ruler and seeking to fulfil their own will! A lot of conflict arose, a lot of blood was shed and a lot of hurt was done. The king of the universe looked out over a now broken world and condemned this state of things to eventually perish! The story of humanity faced a disastrous end.
Let’s just pause the story here for a moment…
Now, of course, it’s not to say there is not a lot of good that has happened in the world and is happening in the world. In many positive and exciting ways, the world has progressed in goodness.
I guess for me, I can’t help but think, based on many experiences in life (and perhaps you’re the same), that despite all the good, there is just something inherently wrong within humanity. I don’t think I’m being unfair when I say that the world, taken in full view, is not even mostly good!
But ok, I’ll get away from speculating about the world and other human beings, both of which I can’t fully know, and just talk about me. When I stop looking at others and do a bit of self-reflecting, a bit of inward examination, which, to my shame, I should do more often, I find that there is something not right about me. As I reflect on the things I do sometimes – and even ‘sometimes’ is not always being honest! – the things I say ‘sometimes’, the things I think and the things I feel… something is not right within me; there are things that are not good within me. I hasten to add that there are many things that are good in me. And, without being boastful, I believe the good wins. Not all the time, but as a whole. But I’d be fooling myself to deny that there are dark things within to be suppressed. Now, I’m just speaking for myself, so perhaps this is just me! I’ll leave those thoughts with you for you to take or leave or laugh at.
In the story of humanity, which I’ve come to believe, corruption, sin, evil, badness, wrongness, darkness – call it what you want – came into the world, and passed into all humanity through the poor choices humanity’s earliest parents made. And, although God had condemned this state of existence, with mortality, destined to eventually perish, He was not willing to forsake humankind whom he had made. He loved them and was more than powerful to produce the outcome He intended for His creation.
So what did He do about this? How would God’s story for humanity be saved and His purpose succeed?
Well, we find, in the sources of this story, that from time to time, He selected certain individuals and worked with them, in them and through them, protecting them, teaching them and developing His purpose for humanity in them. As an example, at one point, He chose a man named Abraham and blessed him and his family. He made a great nation out of Abraham – the nation of Israel – and became that nation’s God.
Many times He saved them, gave them good leaders, laws, kings, teachers, prophets, judges, priests and commanders so as to make this nation and its citizens a light for God in the dark world. This was truly an astounding quest, a quest to bless the world through His chosen people, a quest full of colour and adventure!
Now as you would expect, as these events unfolded over the centuries of Israel’s history, there were good times and bad times, times of shining light and times of thick darkness. There were kings who ruled well on God’s behalf and, under their rule, the nation was well.
However, they would eventually grow old and die and be followed by kings who ruled without listening to God and, subsequently, the nation suffered and fell into ruin. One of the great pitys was that the good kings eventually died, and their good rule came to an end (I say ‘good’ somewhat lightly, because even they proved to be tainted by the corruption inherited from their earliest ancestors). It just seemed as though good could not prevail or hang around with any longevity! Something was always missing. A frustrating experience!
As history unfolded, it was obvious that, despite the abundant help they received from God, humanity needed something more. Despite even the good times that Israel’s kingdom enjoyed, the overall experience of their history made it clear that something better was needed – a better kingdom which could only arise from a better king! How great would that be?!
Oh, that a special king would arrive on the scene as a conquering and prevailing saviour, to govern them, rule them, and lead them into the purpose for which they were made! But the thought of it was like a dream. As if it could ever happen? Who could be great enough to do this? Who could establish goodness that would prevail with longevity and not be cut short by death?
In truth, the only being in existence who fit the job description was their God! They needed their God to enter the corrupted kingdom of humanity, redeem humanity, and establish His rule once again. They needed their God to save and to be the king in the world again, like before.
And the amazing thing was, listen to this: far from being a fanciful and wishful dream of impossibility, this is exactly what God had said He was going to do…
“Look, the sovereign YHWH comes as a victorious warrior; His military power establishes His rule. Look, His reward is with Him; His prize goes before Him. Like a shepherd He tends His flock; He gathers up the lambs with His arm; He carries them close to His heart”2.
This is where the epic story of humanity really begins to take off for good once again…
Isaiah 40v10-11, NET Bible