The beginning was not bad. “It was good” according to the Creator Himself. However, it doesn’t take but three chapters of reading the Bible to see that there’s been a problem. If we read through the Bible or even just listen to a preacher a few times the churchy word for “the problem” becomes clear: sin. Sin refers to disobedience; unholiness; any thought, word, or deed that goes against the will of God. Holiness is what we were made for – obedience to God and life according to His ways. If sin is the great problem then forgiveness and payment for that sin, and thus reconciliation to God, becomes the solution. We will indeed see this chordal theme vibrating through the scripture as we continue through The Great Story.
However, I believe there is a larger vibration encompassing that theme. We can see it since we started at the beginning. And it’s one that is even more pervasive throughout The Great Story. I once heard a pastor, Steve DeNeff, preach, “Sin is not our problem. Death is our problem.” The beginning doesn’t start so much with holiness and obedience as it does life.
Within The Great Story we see story after story of getting away from the territory of life and experiencing the territory of death. God’s grand project, the plot of The Great Story seems indeed to be not just the eradication and ultimate forgiving of sin, but even the defeat of death itself so that all that is left is life, and life eternal. Makes us think about the order in which they would’ve eaten from those two trees, doesn’t it? Dr. Sandra Richter in her book Epic of Eden makes the case that God’s original intent is His final intent. His whole mission throughout the Bible, therefore, is to get Adam and Eve back into the Garden.