What in the world is God doing?
Scene 1 - The Creation
When God created man in the opening pages of the Bible we learn some important things about mankind.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Man is made in God’s image and has great value. Therefore it is man’s purpose to reflect the image of God. Man, being male and female, is to rule over the creation as loving servants. These basic words have far reaching implications
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
All that God has made is described as being “very good.” Most of us have had moments where we agree with this. Whether at the beach, in the mountains, the desert or the woods we have seen and can agree with this statement .
Scene 2 - The Fall
Very early in the story, chapter 3 of Genesis, man rebeled against God’s authority. This rebellion fractured the relationship of man to God and of man to man. This sent all of creation into a downward spiral. God pronounced a curse:
16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children . Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you ." 17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life .
The impact of the fall touches all of creation. God’s work of art has been ruined. It has fallen short of His original intention and things are not the way they are supposed to be. This affects our relationship with God and each other. Marriages, families, neighbors, coworkers, etc… all feel the terrible curse. Our work and all of creation is cursed and we feel the struggle every day of life. Ultimately, man’s ability to reflect the image of God was frustrated .
Scene 3 - The Redemption
As quickly as the horror of the fall occurs we find God promising redemption. In Genesis 3:15 we learn that through the woman a child will be born that will bring hope. It is a promise we can rest in. The Old Testament chronicles God’s interaction with His people as He works, bringing redemption and keeping his promises. Finally in the New Testament we see the fullness of His redemption in Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who comes to redeem His people by His death on the cross. It is there that Jesus, God Himself, takes the punishment that we deserve. Forgiveness is offered to us as well as a right standing before God. This gospel is the good news that God loves His world and people and that He keeps His promises.
John 3:16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Acts 1:8“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;…
Ephesians 1:19b-23“That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Revelation 21:5…"I am making everything new!"…
Man’s ability to reflect the image of God has been and is being redeemed. God has given his people special power along with His revelation to do this work. God is still carrying out His original purposes for His creation. He is reversing the effects of the fall. He is using man in the process of redemption.
Scene 4 - The Consummation
Scripture regularly refers to “that day.” It looks forward to a day when God will finally complete his restoration and make everything right. He will restore things to the way they where intended and where failure will no longer be possible. It is a better Eden. The last two chapters of the Bible serve as bookends with the first two chapters. Revelation 21 and 22 are the final scene in God’s story.
Revelation 21:1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
This is where we are headed. This is the end of the story. Our destination affects the way we live today. The effects of the fall will be completely removed. The benefits of redemption through Jesus Christ will finally be experienced in fullness.